Inside the minds of monsters who create Momo video
THE monsters behind the chilling suicide challenge Momo, that has gone viral for all the wrong reasons, are more likely to be normal, everyday people, experts say.
The videos have caused shock and rage amongst parents around the world after it re-surfaced in a craze.
The video, which some encourage children to "take a knife to their own throat", pops up on Youtube videos randomly, hidden in cartoons and children's clips.
It has forced schools to issue warnings to parents of its dangers.
But who are the people responsible for these videos?
University of the Sunshine Coast senior lecturer in psychology, Dr Rachael Sharman, said the culprits behind videos of this nature were usually "everyday" people, and not the sinister "creeps" one would imagine.
"There isn't a whole lot of research done into this but they're not the screaming psychopath you'd think," Dr Sharman said.
"They can be alarmingly normal, married with kids, a job, Mr Average.
"They're pretty well protected in that they're hidden, but every now and then they're sprung.
"These people literally do it for kicks, which is sick. They blast it out there sending out the challenge and they think it's over. They don't consider the face-to-face consequences.
"In some ways it's like a drug dealer dishing out heroin. They feel they're not responsible for it."
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Dr Sharman likened the latest "fad" of scaring innocent people to when pornography started making its presence felt online years ago.
She said parents should be aware of the consequences and to play it safe until the video is removed altogether.
While she was sceptical whether watching the video had directly led to suicide, she said it was concerning.
"Unfortunately if you catch someone in a vulnerable moment, it could influence," she said.
"If someone is feeling weak, vulnerable or something horrible has happened, little pop-ups can influence.
"For those aged 3-5 it's a real worry. Kids that young haven't developed empathy properly and don't understand social rules.
"That's the problem with websites like Youtube, they do get hacked, where as streaming services like Netflix or Stan and Foxtel are safer."
Sunshine Coast Alliance for Suicide Prevention researcher Dr Amanda Clacy said the whole concept of suicide games was "breathtakingly enraging".
Are you concerned about Youtube monster, Momo?
This poll ended on 04 April 2019.
Yes, it's very scary.
No, I think it's been blown out of proportion.
This is the first I've heard of it.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
The newly-established centre, based out of USC's Thompson Institute, has advised parents to not react with anger if they find their child has been subject to a suicide challenge.
"People who create these are very clever, the internet can be a terrible place," Dr Clacy said.
"It's very easy for parents to get angry and react with a shock response. But they need to approach children with a level head.
"Young people have questions and they need to be answered as non judgementally as possible.
"Let them guide the conversation. Open communication is key and the kids need to know it's absolutely okay to talk to someone.
"If it doesn't it will spiral out of control."
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