Oh, Momo. I’ve grown weary of the outrage and the panic and the shock over this overblown and not all that impactful scary monster of the internet. If you are shocked by the notion of Momo, then there is a whole wide world of truly terrifying things on the internet that are going to send you into a tizzy. To be honest, some largely folklore-ish chicken lady with bugged out eyes is the least of our internet worries.
Parents, even Christian parents, are far too trusting of what the world produces. If it has the label “for kids” on it, parents put it in their child’s hands without a hint of worry. American Christians are practically experts at burying their heads in the sand, choosing to allow their children to consume things that are vaguely bothersome, but if it’s made for kids, then how bad can it really be? Parents make decisions without stopping to consider who is producing the content that their children are being exposed to. They choose not to dwell on the fact that a biblical worldview is repugnant to most who create programming and gaming for children, and they blindly trust that what some vague strangers have cooked up for their children is wholesome, edifying, and maybe more truthfully, distracting and entertaining.
Meanwhile, their children spend hours on some days letting the world pour knowledge and understanding and paradigms of thinking into their hearts and minds. Christian parents, just feet away in some cases, are completely oblivious to the fact that what their children are learning has nothing to do with godliness, goodness, or even logical constructs of human interaction.
As Christians we should have at least enough wisdom to understand that we cannot trust this world. The Bible clearly teaches us that we are not home–we are aliens in a world that seeks to destroy us (Hebrews 13:14, 1 Peter 5:8-9). Jesus said: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
If we believe the Bible then we must let it inform the way we think and act. Too often we buy into the idea that people are basically good and trustworthy, even though scripture repeatedly tells us otherwise. If we believe what Jesus taught then we have to take a few steps back and view parenthood through the lens He created for us: this world is bad. Really bad. And the last precious little things we should trust it with are our children.
I don’t say these things to cause us to lose hope as we raise children in these times. God knew exactly which times we would be called to raise children in. He has placed us here for a purpose and will give us His power through the Holy Spirit to make decisions that reflect our worldview. No, I am not trying to discourage parents. I write these things because I tire of Christians being so shocked by how wicked this world is. I get frustrated by the fact that parents won’t listen and learn and know what is out there and what the facts are. I grow weary of Christian parents not having a biblical worldview, not being committed to a way of living that is different from the world, and it is somewhat deflating when I see Christian parents go into a full-blown panic over something like Momo when what is really damaging the hearts and minds of our kids is much more common and insidious. The very devices you are handing them, Moms and Dads, are teaching them a whole set of values. Do you know what those values are? Do you know what this world wants to teach your kids? Do you know how hard some are working to turn the hearts of your children away from God and away from you? Because it is happening, whether you want to admit it or not.
It is so easy to point to some ridiculousness like Momo and call it evil. It takes much more diligence, much more seeking the Lord, much more study and prayer and awareness and determination to realize all of the more innocent-looking ways that the world is setting up camp in your living room through your kids’ devices. What IS your worldview? And how are you teaching it to your children? All of the Momo panic has highlighted at least one thing: this world is bad. But then, Jesus already told us that.
These are strange times for raising children. We can’t do it without Bibles in our hands and God’s word in our hearts. We need knowledge of the Truth before we can combat the lies. And we need a deep down, urgent sense of how little trust that this world deserves, especially when it comes to our children. And in all of this, still, we can parent with optimism: Jesus is our hope and our children’s salvation. “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).