Parents everywhere are concerned about Momo.

A fictitious character based on a sculpture by a Japanese special-effects artist, Momo has been at the center of a controversy that has spanned the globe. Some call it urban myth, some call it terrifying. Some even believe the theory (as yet unproved) that nefarious actors—hiding behind the face of Momo—have created an online game that has resulted in the suicides of several young people.

But whatever the truth is, why so much worry about Momo and so little concern about hypersexualized media and porn, a real public health crisis in which kids with a smart device are just a click or two away from a universe of hardcore porn, which has the ability to alter kids’ lives in unimaginable ways?

Extensive research has revealed that boys exposed to porn from a young age are more likely to:

  • have attitudes that support sexual harassment and violence against women
  • believe “rape myths” that justify or defend rape
  • demonstrate decreased academic performance
  • have decreased empathy for rape victims
  • pressure their partners to engage in porn-style sex (harmful, painful, degrading, aggressive, etc.)
  • experience difficulty in developing intimate relationships

Extensive research has shown that girls exposed to hypersexualized pop culture images from a young age are more likely to:

  • have increased levels of anxiety and depression
  • suffer from low self-esteem
  • have an increased tendency to develop eating disorders and engage in self-harm
  • engage in risky sexual behavior
  • develop negative body image and self-objectify
  • have an increased likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse

Still scared of Momo?

A child with his hands on a smartphone

Smartphones give kids a portal to a world they are not prepared for — unless you start the conversation. Learn how! Register for the Culture Reframed free Program for Parents of Tweens.


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