In case you’ve been living under a rock the past couple days, let me fill you in on Momo and YouTube. There’s this horrible thing all over Facebook and Instagram warning parents that a creature named “Momo” is popping up in kids’ videos on YouTube. These interjections into fairly “kid-safe” videos like Paw Patrol on a fairly “kid-safe” app (YouTube Kids) are telling children how to kill themselves, encouraging them to do it, and making sure that kids know not to tell their parents they’ve seen this video, or Momo will kill them. Or something very similar. Thankfully, I have not personally seen Momo on YouTube, so my understanding is based on what I’ve heard from other parents on Instagram, news articles, and Facebook posts. But alas, Momo is one more example of how messed up our world is.
Anyway. The huge issue with Momo is that it’s quick snippets, so we as parents can easily miss its appearance on the video even when we do a pretty dang good job at monitoring our kids while they use YouTube. We limit YouTube in general, and we also try to pay attention to what our kids are watching, but we do walk away, or hand the phone back in the car on occasion. But we are not perfect, and in the time I walk away to grab my water, my precious babies could have seen something they can never un-see.
My four year old loves watching “unboxing” videos (oh man, does she love Aubrey from Fun and Crazy Kids). Sorry Aubs, but we gotta ban you from our house because I can’t risk my child’s emotional, physical, mental and spiritual well-being so she can see which LOL Surprise doll you got today.
Yesterday was the first day that I saw and heard about Momo. Last night, I showed Brandon and we decided to become a YouTube-Free home. Listen, I know that you can’t just take away everything that might be unsafe, but YouTube has long been on my mind. Momo (and the copy cats that are sure to follow) is just the final straw for us. When I tried to go to bed last night, it took me a long time to fall asleep. I couldn’t get the thought of that disgusting, satanic thing popping up on the screens of children who just want to watch some Peppa out of my head. It, quite honestly, has totally freaked me out. This morning, we deleted YouTube from the phones and the Kindle. We are officially done with YouTube.
YouTube, for us, started out as one of those things that you judge before children (B.C.) and then use a little too much after children (A.C.) B.C., we said we won’t have pacifiers and our kids won’t use devices (especially while out to eat!). A.C., our daughter used a pacifier til 3 and our son is 1.5 and still has his. When we go to Chili’s for dinner, out comes the iPhone so Mommy and Daddy can EAT.
While the paci has a few months left to reign in our home (fingers crossed we ditch it at TWO this time!), YouTube’s time has come and gone. With the alarming rate of mood disorders, childhood suicide, bullying in our schools, and so much more, we’ve got to be vigilant in raising our children. I cannot pretend that these things couldn’t happen in my home. My oldest will be off to Kindergarten this fall, and a whole new world awaits us. While I know we can’t protect our kids forever, I’m going to try my FREAKING HARDEST to protect mine as long as I possibly can. And my vow renewed on Tuesday night, when we decided to remove YouTube from our home and our children’s lives.
As a co-worker and I discussed Momo at work this morning, we came to the following conclusion, and it feels right to end this post the same way: “Not today, Satan.”
**Update 2/28/19** A few moms have reached out to me and told me that Momo is a hoax. I have not been able to confirm this, BUT, even if Momo ends up being a hoax, I still believe that removing YouTube was the right choice for our family. Since I realize that screen time can be a sensitive subject in the mama community, I just want to be clear that my husband and I made this decision and believe it’s best for US. You and your family will likely have different thoughts and a different response on this subject. And that is 100% okay.