“Evil Mo” was Real Enough

We made it an entire week, plus 3 days without the iPad. 

At first, I thought this was going to be impossible. 

Have you ever tried taking YouTube away from a kid with Autism/ADHD?

It’s like their non-medical anxiety remedy. 

I imagined there would be meltdowns. Upon more meltdowns. But there have actually been fewer meltdowns. 

Less behavior.

But more anxiety. 

I’m not sure if it is related to iPad withdrawal or not. 

There was a day last week that my daughter went to school with 4 band-aids on her body, two were on her face. There were no actual marks beneath them. 

She has increasingly been asking whether or not she will be okay over little things like bumping into something or brushing her face against a door by mistake. 

“Will it heal momma?”

“Am I okay?” She asked. 

Screen shot of “Momo” or “evil Mo”

Then it came out in the news that Momo was “fake” and the whole thing wasn’t as serious as it was made out to be. I don’t know about that because anytime we subject our children to dangerous thoughts and ideas, it is a big deal. 

A few weeks ago in the midst of the whole Momo debacle, I made the mistake of showing my daughter a picture of the creature to ask if she knew who it was. She didn’t. I was so relieved when she was clueless and still took the precaution of screening her videos and downloading her favorite ones while keeping the internet off for a while. 

Regardless, we went about our lives as normal and back to the usual YouTubeKids censored for 4-year-old viewers. 

But then my daughter started waking up in the middle of the night. It stretched past one week and into two. 

She was suddenly afraid of the dark. 

Afraid of shadows. 

And afraid of “evil Mo” hurting her. 

We asked her again if she had ever seen “evil Mo” in any of the videos she watched on YouTubeKids and she shook her head no. 

I screened her history again but couldn’t find any trace of Momo or videos that had been taken down. 

We were stumped. 

After a week more of sleeping with the lights on at night, we decided it was time to give the iPad a rest for a while. 

The following morning, Ally stumbled into our bedroom at 7 am looking for it and I replied with, 

“Santa’s elves are borrowing it for a while. Do you want to watch a show on the television?”

I was half asleep when she asked and it was the first thing I thought of. 

She cried and was upset but quickly agreed to watch something on Netflix instead. This was better since I could better filter what she was watching without fear of some creep scaring my child. 

Since there had been no evidence of her actually ever seeing Momo, I learned that showing her the photo had done more damage than good. 

Don’t try this at home, folks! 

She agreeably went back to watching movies like Beauty and the Beast, Hocus Pocus, The Grinch, and Hotel Transylvania 1, 2, and 3.

There was no more talk of “evil Mo.”

She asked several times per day on the first few days about her iPad and then it slowed down as if it is out of sight was out of her mind as well. 

Ally slept through the night a few times but not all of the time and we still had to leave the light on. 

This leads me to believe that things have improved without it. I don’t think I am ever going to give it back in the same capacity as before. 

Momo was not fake because she taught me to take YouTube off of its pedestal. YTK was amazing with helping our child hit milestones and learn to play with her toys. Peer modeling and nursery rhymes were priceless parts of her development. But it’s time to mix it up. 

It’s time to put the iPad down. 


One thought on ““Evil Mo” was Real Enough

  1. Oh no, I hope she recovers from the nightmares! My son is 15 now but several years ago he saw a scary face pop up on something on YouTube & didn’t sleep for weeks! He finally broke down & told us & we added a comment on the video… Poor kids! ☹️

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