Growing up, kids would double dare each other to say "Bloody Mary" in front of the mirror. Today, dares can take place over the internet and are putting youth in harm's way.
Young people are being peer pressured into taking part in viral internet challenges that require them to perform specific tasks or stunts that can go from harmless to horrifying in seconds.
We've recently warned you about the "Hot Water Challenge," that has been sending kids as young as 10 years old to the hospital over the last year.
15-year-old Kyland Clark was hospitalized at the end of June to treat the second-degree burns he sustained to his face and body after his friends allegedly poured boiling water on him while he was sleeping. Apparently, they had just watched YouTube videos of the "Hot Water Challenge" together.
This incident occurred just a few months after "The Tide Pod Challenge" and the "Choking Game" went viral and caused some serious injuries.
People have barely had time to process these events before another extremely terrifying social media trend began to gain popularity.
Dubbed the "Momo challenge," this sinister game is arguably the worst of all the ones we've seen so far.
"I believe this needs to be brought to [people’s] awareness so we can talk about it and get other people knowing exactly what they need to look out for,” Shane Andrews, a vlogger who has played the game, told InsideEdition.com.
The blood-curdling challenge, which has circulating on Whatsapp, has been linked to the apparent suicide of a 12-year-old girl and now authorities are urging parents to be on alert.
The challenge involves a scary photo of a woman with bulging eyes, wide mouth and long black hair. Turns out, the image is taken from an exhibit by Japanese artist Midori Hayashi, and he is not associated with the challenge whatsoever.
How is the game played?
According to those who have attempted the game, players use WhatsApp to receive texts and calls from "Momo," who continuously harasses them with scary messages and eventually convinces them to harm themselves.
“I was met with some very violent images and text messages that I cannot show,” Andrews said. “The messages were scary. They said that they knew personal things about me which they couldn’t possibly know.”
He added, “They want you to do small tasks, like wake up at odd hours, overcome a fear,” Andrews said. “Then it escalates quickly … [to challenges] like jumping off a house and ending your life. You’re supposed to document these things [on] video."
In the case of the Argentinian pre-teen who died, police report that she filmed herself prior to taking her own life. They have reason to believe she had been chatting with an 18-year-old, whom she probably met through social media.
Following the tragedy, WhatsApp released a statement. It read: "WhatsApp cares deeply about the safety of our users. It's easy to block any phone number and we encourage users to report problematic messages to us so we can take action."
However, Andrews doesn't think that this dangerous challenge will be contained within WhatsApp only.
“The scariest thing about this is the ease of access," Andrews admitted. "Children can easily download the app, can easily be on Facebook. All they have to [do is] hear about it and say, ‘I am going to do that,’ and say, ‘That’s not a big deal’ and then be sucked in by the psychological push and pull of the method."
It's even scarier when you realize that "Momo" may not just be one person. There are many disturbed individuals on the internet who are just waiting for an opportunity to prey on innocent kids.
The best thing for parents to do at this time is to talk to their children, try to monitor their online habits, and keep a close eye on any behavioral changes. If any suspicions arise, alert local authorities before the situation escalates.
Spread the word about this challenge, it could save a life!