FOLSOM (CBS13) – A local mother says her family is the latest to fall victim to an online persona trying to cause chaos. The character known as Momo is popping up again.
A warning was issued by schools in the UK and police in Ireland of Japanese art spliced in the middle of children’s YouTube videos.
“Just another minute she could’ve blown up my apartment, she could’ve hurt herself, other people, beyond scary,” Pearl Woods said.
Woods is careful about what videos her 12-year-old can watch online and has multiple parental settings.
“She’s on the spectrum and a lot of children that are, are very impressionable,” she said.
Zoey has autism and a few weeks ago began displaying some unusual behavior.
“Where is Suicide coming from? Why would she ask me about a knife into an outlet?” Woods explained.
Last weekend Zoey turned the kitchen gas stove on without letting it light, which created a potentially explosive situation.
“She kept telling me about Momo and I just didn’t understand, I see now,” Woods said.
She discovered alarming short clips popping up in the videos Zoey was watching.
“She pauses the screen as soon as I walked in and I saw this creepy masked doll looking,” Woods said.
Very upset, her daughter said, “It was Momo making bad videos. It was bad.”
They’re not alone. Across the country, kids are reporting seeing Momo videos with the strange cartoon-like character telling kids to do dangerous things.
“The video that we believe she saw told her to turn on the stove while I was sleeping,” Woods said.
Whether hoax or not officials say it’s a teachable moment.
“That’s really an explosive fire danger,” said Captain Chris Vestal with Sac Metro Fire. “We really encourage parents to pay attention to what their children are doing on the internet, ask them what they’re doing.”
Woods allowed Zoey to watch Japanese cartoon clips on YouTube as part of her reward, that’s all changed.
“What’s normal and a part of our life we can’t do anymore because a 10-15 second clip in there could destroy us,” she said.
She hopes no other family will come face to face with this cyber danger.
“I am sorry,” Zoey said to her mother.
“Babes, you’re not in trouble, you didn’t do anything wrong. Sweetheart, you just didn’t know,” Woods said.
Zoey’s mother says the kid’s filter on YouTube didn’t flag the Momo clips spliced into videos. Google said in a statement that it relies on smart detection technology and removes millions of videos every year.