Fort Worth, Texas,
08:42 AM

5 Reasons This Pediatrician Thinks the 'Momo Challenge' Could End Up Being a Good Thing

Have you heard about the Momo Challenge? Probably by now you have. But if you haven't, there's a good chance your kids have. It's the latest viral sensation freaking everyone out. But should you be concerned? And is it even real?

Here are a few of my thoughts that will hopefully make you feel better. And who knows? This actually could turn out to be good thing for all of us (myself included) on what it means to be a good parent.

1. I don’t think it’s real. Despite all the drama and buzz. I can’t find anything that proves this is really happening. It appears to be a hoax  and this isn’t the first time this same story has circulated.

2. It’s motivating parents to reconsider their child’s media consumption. MoMo challenge or not, unsupervised browsing of user-generated video content is a terrible idea (even if that platform is labeled “kids"). Watch what your kids are watching with them. Censor. Protect. That’s what we we’re supposed to do. But we’ve gotten lazy because it’s easier to let the algorithm decide than to actually sit and watch and guide.

3. You get to have a hard conversation with your kids. If you decide to take an app off their device for their protection, you can explain that their safety trumps any momentary joy they might get from watching videos on a screen. You care too much about them to put them at risk.

4. You get to ask your child deep questions so that you might learn about their deepest fears. Because even if this thing isn’t real, some kids are really scared by what they’ve seen and heard. Simple questions like, “Have you seen anything in your device this week that scared you?” “Have your friends been talking about anything that gets you worried?” “How can I help?”

5. Because even if this turns out to be a hoax (which it seems to be), the fact that kids are scared and talking about it is heartbreaking. The fact that someone thought spreading this would be funny at the expense of our kids feeling safe is infuriating. You don’t have to validate the fears to ask about them but you should ask.

Don’t let your kid live in fear without knowing you’re looking out for them.

Here are a few articles about the Momo Challenge you might find helpful:


Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.

Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club  and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Smith is an experienced keynote speaker for a variety of topics including pediatric/parenting topics, healthcare social media and physician leadership. If you are interested in having Dr. Smith present to your conference or meeting, please contact him at

He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.


Comments (0)
Thank you for your message. It will be posted after approval.