The recent Momo Challenge—a social media hoax that encourages young people to play a life-threatening interactive game—is drawing attention to the vast amount of self-harm and suicide content available online. Law enforcement has not linked any recent suicide cases to the Momo Challenge; but, in the past, self-harm instruction guides have been found alongside suicide victims. The topics of self-harm and youth suicide continue to trend on news outlets and social media platforms.
Self-harm and suicide manuals, designated websites, and online communities—including a Wikipedia page and numerous Pinterest and Tumblr accounts—are available on the internet. The sites include detailed information on self-inflicted injury and suicide methods, their effectiveness, the effort of preparation, and pain ranking.
Social media platforms such as Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook have attempted to block content promoting and glorifying self-harm and suicide, but graphic content is still prevalent online.
Parents and teachers are encouraged to caution children about harmful online content and be aware of their activity on social media platforms and message boards. By setting up parental controls or filters on computers and mobile devices, parents can help prevent young people from accessing unsuitable content online.
Anyone experiencing a crisis is encouraged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741. To report immediate threats or emergencies call 911.