'Momo Challenge' warning issued by Kane County sheriff

KANE COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- The Kane County Sheriff is urging parents to monitor their children's social media and internet activity after receiving reports about the so-called Momo Challenge, a viral internet hoax.

The old, viral challenge is reportedly making a comeback and possibly appearing on your children's social media feeds. Called the Momo Challenge, it's associated with a disturbing image of a creature with matted hair and bulging eyes.

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"Knowing that something, that bad people are out there trying, deliberately trying to scare and hurt children, it's horrifying," said Colleen Trch, parent.

The Kane County Sheriff's Office put out a warning after it got reports the challenge infiltrated popular apps, games or videos geared toward children.

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"One thing that we've heard is unless you light your stove when your parents go to sleep and blow out the flame so that gas continues to fill the house," said Sheriff Ron Hain. "Essentially, children are getting the message that this scary beast is going to come to my house and do harm to me, unless I do what it tells me to."

Deputies are planning to host two community sessions later in March at local schools geared toward helping parents monitor their children's internet activity. Just days before Kane County put out its warning, educators in Oak Lawn issued a similar one to parents.

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"We try to be very careful, in fact right now we are in the middle of a four week screen fast because I see the negative impacts on my 10-, 8- and 6-year-old," said Trch.

Hain said now is the time for law enforcement to try to get ahead of these threats. He said he understands the Momo Challenge to be a widespread internet hoax, but said its impact on kids is still a real threat.

"If it makes an indelible impact on a child, scares them to the point where they can't sleep at night, that's something that needs to appear on our radar and we need to take a very proactive stance," he said.
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