Archive for February 2019

An important warning to parents and Educators about The “Momo Challenge” and Self-Harm Videos that target kids   Leave a comment

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I was preparing to make a blog post to comment on the sudden rise of self-harm videos that have been reported on YouTube Kids all month when I got word of this imfamous Momo Challenge that has been reported worldwide. At this point I think it would be fair to say it’s not an urban legend and is in fact a real thing. Local Law Enforcement are trying to get the word out because the Momo Challenge threatens and encourages kids and teens to do dangerous things and eventually, suicide.

Here’s how it starts: Users are asked to add Momo as a WhatsApp contact via YouTube, Facebook or some other social media platform. It specifically targets kids, teens and in some cases Young Adults. Once the connection is made, things immediately get scary…and dangerous…and possibly deadly, too. The entity known as Momo makes contact and immediately threatens and intimidatinng the victim into doing what it says, saying things like “I’m watching you” or “If you tell anyone, you’ll die”. Kids as young as six years old have apparently been targeted by this Momo Challenge. It specifically targets children and teens because they’re far more likely to accept what they see at face value and do what they’re being told.

I do believe Momo is actually a botting program that is being intentionally spread online. There certainly are chat bots sophisticated enough to carry a conversation as if it was a real person. They do what they’re programmed to do in short. Of course, I would be able to tell the difference fairly quickly between a bot or a real person. A child? Absolutely not. Certainly not a 6 year old. On the one hand, it’s fine to ignore the messages. On the other hand, kids are being specifically targeted. So…yeah.

I mentioned other self-harm videos.

Even worse is both the Momo Challenge and other self-harm videos seem to have hijacked YouTube Kids, which is a kid-friendly version of YouTube. Google, which is aware is trying to address the problem but for now it’s highly reccommended you uninstall the YouTube and YouTube Kids Apps from your kids’ devices for now and block the site on your computers at home. Why go that far? Well, the self-harm videos, which describe in graphic detail how to commit suicide are disguised as innocent-looking cartoons kids are familiar with. It starts looking normal but then it gets dark and scary. Even worse is it ends by encouraging kids to go through with it.

…Yeah.

There are some sick, sick people out there sadly.

I would recommend Educators take 5 to 10 minutes to talk to their class about internet safety in general. I would also reccommend school staff hold a meeting to discuss this important subject and send a notice home the parents. It would be an alert to let parents know the school is aware of both the Momo Challenge and Self-Harm Videos being shared on YouTube.

I would reccommend parents sit down and talk to their kids about the Momo Challenge as well as the Self-Harm videos. Tell them if they see anything online telling them or showing them how to hurt themselves to report the content immediately and don’t do what it says. Let them know all actions have consequences not just for them but everyone they know.

I intend to repost this on a few more of my blogs to help spread the word on this. One death from this foolishness is too many.

To the internet tough guys and trolls who think this is hoax, “Don’t see a problem” or feel “They’re doing parents a service”, you won’t feel that way when it’s your child or the child of someone you know. I promise you that. While yes, I certainly don’t think kids as young as 3 shouldn’t be using the internet unsupervised, that doesn’t excuse the malicious and vile actions of the people who are doing and spreading these things online. Show me a 3, 4 or 5 year old child who has never seen one of these videos before who would watch them and think it’s just ‘harmless fun”.

There is absolutely nothing “harmless” or “fun” about what these self-harm videos and the Momo Challenge are looking to intimidate and scare kids into doing. Yes, they revealed some glaring flaws in YouTube and YouTubeKids’ (and Facebook’s) prescreening algorithms but it doesn’t change the fact someone is deliberately doing this. The disturbing content is embedded in episodes of kids’ programming and uploaded to YouTube. In other words, someone is deliberately doing this for the sole purpose to traumatizing a child at best and coercing them into doing what they’re being told at worst. To date, 2 kids in Columbia (the country) have committed suicide because of these self-harm videos.

The disturbing content appears about 14 to 16 minutes into an otherwise normal episode of children’s programming and lasts for about 20 to 30 seconds. Short enough to not get picked up by YouTube’s pre-screening algorithims but still long enough to deliver its vile message. I have seen the messages myself and for reasons that should be obvious, I am not sharing here what is said. I will say for the Momo Challenge users are directed to add a phone number from Mexico, Russia or India to their contacts and contact Momo via WhatsApp under threat of death to them and/or their friends. Again: young children are being specifically targeted. They have no way of knowing they have nothing to fear from what they saw.

Like I said before, I do believe Momo–like Blue Whale before it–is a chat bot. It’s not an actual person but a scripting program someone made to sow chaos. I also believe the phone number is randomly generated and this is also why I am not sharing any numbers. Again, a young child would not know it’s not a real person. All they know is they’re being told to hurt themselves or put themselves in dangerous situations in very specific ways and if they don’t do what they’re told, something bad will happen to them or the people they care about. They are directed to not tell anyone or “I will know” and “I can see you right now so I’ll know if you tell anyone” obviously. Again, young kids who don’t know better are being exposed to this.

I am urging folks to reblog this post and help get the word out. The whole world is talking about this. That’s how serious this is. No one is taking this as “a hoax”. Kids are getting hurt at worst and in two cases, someone has died. This is one “game” that needs to be stopped immediately.

 

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Anthony Davis firmly rules out the Celtics as a longterm destination but the Pelicans clearly feel otherwise   Leave a comment

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The trade involving Kyrie Irving and former All Star Isaiah Thomas from two years ago pissed off Anthony Davis’ father (also named Anthony Davis) so much, he put out a public statement last week saying it’s the reason why he does not want his son to play for the Celtics. It wasn’t the trade itself but the way the trade went down that shocked the sports world and pissed off a lot of NBA Players as well as fans of Isaiah Thomas. As a reminder, Isaiah Thomas’ sister died suddenly during the Celtics playoff run two years back. He was also forced to have season-ending hip surgery during the Eastern Conference Finals, which the Celtics lost to the Cavs 5-1 (their one victory coming after IT was forced out of the lineup ironically).

Two months later and a week after the Celtics signed Gordon Hayward, the trade involving him (as well as Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic) for Kyrie Irving went down. Thomas (and the other two players involved) never saw it coming and found out the same way everyone else did: From the news. He didn’t hear it from the Celtics in advance and after what happened with him during the playoffs…well, he wasn’t wrong to feel disrespected. As everyone knows, Kyrie Irving was the one who demanded the Cavs trade him ASAP right after the Cavs lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. The Celtics made the Cavs an offer and the trade went down.

The problem wasn’t the trade itself. Isaiah Thomas is well aware it was business decision but and no one is untouchable. Given what happened to him two months earlier, to then be traded a little over a week after the Celtics signed Gordon Hayward without advance notice would understandably make anyone feel disposable. More so given he was a fan favorite. Isaiah Thomas and Danny Ainge eventually sat down and hashed things out.

The man once known as the King of the Fourth only played a handful of games with the Cavs last January before he was traded to the Lakers and was released at the end of the season (The Lakers didn’t make the playoffs last season). He was signed to the Denver Nuggets during the offseason at the Veteran minimum. Just the season before, he was in the All Star game. Isaiah’s public criticism of the Cavs and referencing his experiences with the Celtics during press conferences during his tenure with the team is pointed to as the main reasons he was traded mid-season last year.

On that note, I do think IT4 will return to the Celtics in the next few years. Most likely as a Free Agent in my book. I don’t see the Celtics trading for him personally. I think Kyrie Irving would want it since the trade came during a very low point in IT4’s life and it’s obvious he wants to return to the Celtics. At the same time, the undeniable fact is IT4 was a defensive liability. No one doubts his explosive offense but off the ball, the Celtics had to have him switch off with another defender or otherwise “hide” him.

Case example:

Image result for Lebron James Dunks on Isaiah Thomas

 

The obvious size difference aside…yeah. LBJ literally mopped the floor with him during that playoff series. THIS is why Danny Ainge pulled the trigger and traded him. IT4 is useless on defense against (much) bigger players like Lebron James, Giannis, Durant, Simmons, Westbrook and so on. Until he figures it out like Nate Robinson did, I don’t think the Celtics should take him back.

Isaiah Thomas aside. Anthony Davis himself said he would only consider playing with the Lakers, Knicks, Clippers or Bucks longterm and everywhere else would be a one-year deal. So, there is little to no point in the Celtics pursuing him knowing that. The Pelicans and AD’s agent both announced yesterday he will not be traded before the deadline. Given the Celtics just moved a player to open up a slot, that automatically makes them the frontrunner for AD come July 1. The big problem is the knowledge that he will be a 1-year rental so…yeah.

 

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New England Patriots win Super Bowl LIII 13-3; Julian Edelman named MVP   Leave a comment

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Having just won their sixth Super Bowl after 9 attempts in 17 years, it might be (un)fair to say the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl runs through The Patriots. When the Patriots win their next Super Bowl, they will break the tie they now have with the Pittsburgh Steelers in terms of total Super Bowl wins (6).

After the AFC game, Tom Brady went all in with what Pats Fans have been saying since 2007: “They hate us cause they ain’t us!”

ESPN’s Max Kellerman famously said a few years ago that Tom Brady “was about to fall off a cliff” as an athlete. I watched the full segment. Like Pats Nation and most of Sports Media, I LOL’d HARD. It just so happened Brady served a 4-game suspension the incoming season. In response, Brady got his revenge on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and not only let the Patriots to victory at Super Bowl 51 but completed what I called The Revenge Tour by winning the MVP that year. After winning the AFC game, TB12 had just one thing to say to all Haters: “We’re Still Here!”

As a reminder Tom Brady is 41 years old and has ZERO plans on retiring anytime soon. When asked last Sunday, he walked back his earlier declaration of playing until he’s 45: “I’ll play until I suck!” Basically, a giant middle finger to all the Haters. Do a Google image search of the phrase “THE GOAT” and the first person you will see in the results is Tom Brady. This was true before Sunday by the way.

…The thing the Haters know all too well is the Patriots have a real shot at winning two in a row next year or if they feel like it, give another shot at having an undefeated season. Now that TB12 has decided to go all-in on legit trying to hold the AFC and the Super Bowl hostage for the rest of his career…yeah. All anyone else can do is wait until he feels like retiring!

 

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…As a reminder, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series 3 months ago. Realistically speaking, BOTH teams could repeat in the next (Patriots) or upcoming (Red Sox) season. And yes, both teams did this before back in 2004. Both teams will have prettymuch the same roster going into the next season so…yeah. The Red Sox made a statement going into the postseason and swept the Yankees out of the ALCS. The Patriots beat LA twice on their way to their 6th Super Bowl in 17 years. Both the Red Sox and the Patriots are heavily favored to repeat next season!

 

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It would be more than fair to call Boston Title Town, USA. The Patriots are America’s Football Team. This chart proves it and it was a long time coming!

 

 

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