Dear Parents and Guardians,
We want to share with you some information regarding a viral social media challenge referred to as The Momo Challenge that is creating concern around the world.
When children participate in the challenge, they connect with Momo, a scary doll-like figure, through social media such as Facebook, YouTube, YouTube Kids, and Whatsapp. Momo encourages the participant to complete various tasks to avoid being “cursed.” Some of these tasks are dangerous, involve harm to others or self, and have reportedly involved suicide.
There are reports of the challenge appearing in footage of Fortnight, Minecraft, Peppa Pig, and other content for children.
Although some cyber experts believe the Momo Challenge is a hoax, it is a
good reminder of the importance of being aware of with whom your child is communicating, as well as being vigilant in monitoring your child’s online activities, including social media accounts, apps, games, videos, etc.
We encourage you to have honest conversations with your child about safe and appropriate online activity.
Here are some helpful tips to keep your child safe online:
- Bringing up the MoMo Challenge specifically may lead children to investigate it themselves. Instead, consider asking them whether they encountered anything online that caused them to be worried or upset.
- If your child is aware of this trend, remind them that MoMo is not a real person, cannot directly harm them and cannot tell them to do anything.
- Remind children never to contact strangers online, regardless of the method, and never to give out personal information.
- Tighten device settings and parental controls.
- Report and block any content that is harmful or disturbing.
- Supervise your child’s online activity, limit video games and YouTube use to shared family spaces and keep an eye out for unknown phone numbers or email addresses.
The safety of West Genesee’s students is a top district priority. Thank you for your attention to this issue and your cooperation in reminding your children about online safety.
If your child has any fears or anxieties regarding online activity, please do not hesitate to contact the counseling staff of your child’s school.
Interim Superintendent of Schools
West Genesee Central School District