Infamous Internet Challenges

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Infamous Internet Challenges

A blue whale.

A blue whale.

National Geographic

A blue whale.

National Geographic

National Geographic

A blue whale.

Renee Chaples, Producer of the Void

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Warning! The following article is not for the faint of heart. In it are mentions of suicide, murder, and self-harm. Read at your own risk.

 

Society has been in an era of insane technical advancements; Within a few decades humans were able to go from landlines to virtual reality, and although these inventions have aided humanity in an endless amount of ways, that has not stopped a more sinister side from forming. Ever since the early 2000s when creepypasta and SCPs were widely popularized by websites such as Tumblr and Reddit, the internet became obsessed with the idea of cryptids and urban legends. Unfortunately, these obsessions grew dark once challenges that could result in death evolved from these dark interests.

The most recent of these challenges includes the sinister game called “Momo.” The character “Momo” is actually a Japanese statue made by an artist named Keisuke Aiso and features an unsettling bird-like humanoid. The actual name of the statue is “Mother bird” and it was made for the Japanese special-effects company Link Factory. Although the statue itself is fairly small, cropping out the legs left viewers with an image of a lady with bugged-out eyes and a nerve-wracking smile. With this photo manipulation, the new image of “Momo” was created. From there the photo went viral and reports of the character urging children to perform harmful tasks that result in suicide came with it. Although the “Momo Challenge” turned out to be a hoax, the statue still caused anxiety within young viewers and was thus destroyed. Unfortunately, the challenges do not stop there.

Two years prior to the popularization of the “Momo Challenge” and what many believe to have inspired Momo in the first place comes the “Blue Whale Challenge”, or “Blue Whale”. In May 2016, Russia was seeing an increase in teen suicide which urged news reporter Galina Mursaliyeva to write about them, linking them to a group called “F57.” “F57,” a group that, according to Mursaliyeva, caused 130 suicides throughout Russia on a website called VK. However, Mursaliyeva’s discoveries would quickly be criticized for its lack of credibility and research. Mursaliyeva was investigated for her work in which she then reported that the suicides were at a minimum of 200. It is unclear where the name “Blue Whale” originated from but many suspect it to be related to beaching, the instance in which a whale becomes stuck on shore and dies. According to myth, the game was said to run on a variety of social media platforms. The game ran for 50 days and consisted of an “administrator” who would give challenges raising in difficulty to the participant. The challenges would start out as innocent tasks such as “Get up during the witching hour (2 am-4 am)” or “Watch a horror film”. From there the challenges would twist and darken to afflicting self-harm and suicide. Like the “Momo Challenge” experts were quick to discover that it was a hoax, however, this did not stop other teens from across the world from copying the dangerous challenge and self-harming.

Although both the challenges were proven to be fake, the severity of these internet fads have cost teens and kids their lives and it is very important to be wary of the dangers that lurk on the internet. If you see anything that is triggering or invokes self-harm, please report it and block it.