Yesterday, our school sent a note suggesting we talk to our kids about the Momo Challenge. I’d heard of the meme, but I didn’t know much about it. When you regularly have 75 news browser tabs open, you have to learn to ignore the hoaxes. (Sometimes, you even have to ignore your kids.) So I ignored the Momo meme that supposedly encourages kids to take on death-defying dares. I ignored it this time. And I ignored it last time. These memes tend to repeat. The Atlantic’s Taylor Lorenz: Momo Is Not Trying to Kill Children. “To any concerned parents reading this: Do not worry. The ‘Momo challenge’ is a recurring viral hoax that has been perpetuated by local news stations and scared parents around the world. This entire cycle of shock, terror, and outrage about Momo even took place before, less than a year ago: Last summer, local news outlets across the country reported that the Momo challenge was spreading among teens via WhatsApp. Previously, rumors about the challenge spread throughout Latin America.”

+ The reactions to these hoaxes are often bigger than the hoaxes themselves. Here’s an outtake from the UK: “Children’s charities have said well-intentioned warnings from schools about a seemingly non-existent threat may have inadvertently caused young people to be genuinely scared by what was previously a hoax.”

+ WaPo: “The viral spread of this kind of story may say less about the danger these challenges pose to young people and more about the fear that the Internet inspires in parents.” The Momo challenge isn’t a viral danger to children online. But it sure is viral.

+ The scary part of this story is not the meme itself, but the way things spread online. From CNN: “While there appears to be little evidence that the Momo Challenge is something special to worry about, Mikkelson notes the attention surrounding the challenge may ironically lead people to create videos featuring the Momo content.” (Don’t talk to your kids about Momo, talk to them about irony.) For now, I’m going to keep my internet advice to my kids as focused as always. Don’t follow the president on Twitter. And don’t follow me either.