There has been some talk in our schools about an online phenomenon known as the “Momo Challenge,” which includes disturbing images and messages relating to violence and self-harm.
To the best of our knowledge, this is not a real threat and there have been no reported instances of harm to children connected to this social media challenge. However, the image(s) and conversations surrounding the “challenge” may still be frightening to students.
In an ever-changing digital landscape, we encourage parents to be vigilant in monitoring your children’s social media and online behavior. The “Momo Challenge” presents an opportunity to have a conversation about what your children encounter online. We invite you to join us in sharing the following messages about internet safety with your children:
● The importance of digital citizenship: We encourage our students to be responsible digital citizens by safeguarding their personal information and avoiding inappropriate contact with strangers online. If disturbing content is ever found online, we ask that students show it to a trusted adult so that the appropriate measures can be taken (i.e., blocking or reporting the material).
● Avoid spreading rumors: The “Momo Challenge” is being widely discussed by students all over the world, but many of the reports of “hacked” videos, games and apps have not been substantiated. We encourage all our students to be cautious about spreading rumors, and to exercise good judgment and critical thought when sharing information with others.
● Seek help if you are in need: Whether it is an elementary school student who is fearful of something a friend told them, or an older student who is vulnerable to messages about self-harm or violence, we want each and every one of our students to know that there is support available in each building. If your child could benefit from speaking to a counselor, please don’t hesitate to contact your school.
As always, we invite you to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have around this issue. Common Sense Media offers some helpful tips for parents about how to talk to children about online “challenges” or fads in this article: “13 Online Challenges Your Kid Already Knows About.”
Thank you for partnering with us to keep children safe.