As some of you may be aware, there has been international media coverage about an internet challenge known as “The Momo Challenge.” Allegedly, Momo targets young children by encouraging them to text a number on various online applications (e.g. YouTube, Minecraft, WhatsApp, etc.), which then sends them instructions to complete a series of bizarre and dangerous tasks from watching a horror movie to engaging in self-harm to taking their own lives.
Given the intensified media coverage of the Momo Challenge, experts on mental health caution that it can cause some students to be fearful or anxious. Internally, the IT Department at PCSSD has set up a filter to block exact searches for the word “momo” when connected to any PCSSD online network.
We encourage parents to take this as an opportunity to have intentional conversations with their children about what they encounter online.
Reminding children to never contact strangers online, on any platform.
Encourage children to share any worries or concerns with you, as a parent/guardian.
Ensure children understand the importance of not giving personal information to anyone they do not know.
Tell children no one has the right to make them do anything they do not want to do.
Set privacy systems on devices with your child as a way to have the conversation about safety.
It is also important for parents to know what children can access online.
Set privacy settings for all social media and gaming applications.
Keep video games and YouTube watching in shared family spaces.
Set up video game restrictions to friends only.
Set up "restricted" mode on YouTube for your child's account so inappropriate content is not available.
Look for digital citizenship safety tips. For example, Common Sense Education has some tips on their website for Internet Safety.