A three-year-old internet challenge targeting students has resurfaced and is creating concern throughout the country. The “Momo Challenge” uses a picture of a Japanese art piece to scare children and encourage them to commit dangerous acts. The “Momo Challenge” plays out on various social media platforms including: Facebook, WhatsApp or gaming applications. The person behind the account encourages students to harm themselves and then upload the proof on social media. Though authorities believe momo is a hoax, news media coverage and widespread social media sharing has been enough to alarm some parents.
While the district has filters on the district network, students may still be able to access such sites through their personal devices and accounts if they are not on the district network.
“Momo” is just the latest example of dangerous “challenges” on various social media platforms that could have a negative impact on children and their social interactions.
Here are some tips from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on what parents can do to keep their children safe online:
Keep lines of communication open – Let your child know that they can approach you with any questions or concerns about behaviors or problems they may have encountered online.
Set rules and warn about dangers - Make sure your child knows the boundaries of what they are allowed to do on the computer. These boundaries should be appropriate for the child's age, knowledge, and maturity, but they may include rules about how long they are allowed to be on the computer, what sites they are allowed to visit, and what information they can share.
Monitor computer activity- Be aware of what your child is doing on the computer, including which websites they are visiting. If they are using email, instant messaging, or chat rooms, try to get a sense of who they are corresponding with and whether they actually know them.
Safety is our top priority. School District Five is urging parents to become aware of the momo phenomenon, to read pertinent information and monitor their children’s use of social media and the internet.
For more on internet safety, visit: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST05-002.