Parent Alert - "Momo Challenge"

Insightful article from The New York Times: "Momo Is as Real as We've Made Her."

"YouTube is, in 2019, a rare space in which children can roam. It’s also completely commercialized, and, to a parent’s eye, stocked almost exclusively with choppy cuts of generically alarming images. A clip that puts children into a trance and seems to program them to do or say things? That’s not a clip in the middle of a Peppa Pig video — that’s the Peppa Pig video itself. A third party contacting a wide-eyed viewer with instructions to do something in the real world? That’s not a killer pretending to be Momo. That’s how advertising works on YouTube.

Last week, YouTube told reporters: 'Contrary to press reports, we’ve not received any recent evidence of videos showing or promoting the Momo challenge on YouTube.'

But YouTube isn’t lacking as a source of psychological horror. Screens and screen time are a source of endless guilt and frustration among parents today, and it makes sense to need to displace these feelings on a face, a character, and something, or someone, with fantastically evil motives, rather than on the services that actually are surveilling what the kids are up to, to ends of their own."

 

Dear Parent(s)Guardian(s),

The use of technology can have many positive effects on learning as well as providing an opportunity to be connected with others. However, sometimes technology can be used in a manner that is inappropriate or even dangerous. I am writing to you about a recent phenomenon called the “Momo Challenge", which is an online cyberbullying game that targets children and teenagers through Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media platforms. It encourages individuals to commit violent acts on themselves or others and threatens violence if he/she does not take action on the challenge. The levels of the challenge become more egregious and harmful as they progress. For more information about this dangerous activity, please view this news story: https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international/How-to-Talk-to-Children-About-Dangerous-Momo-Challenge-502783461.html

Please talk to your child about internet safety and games or “challenges” that ask them to harm themselves or others. I encourage you to view your child’s online activity including text messages, social media posts, apps, etc. and to remain vigilant and active with respect to your child’s use of technology.

There are apps and programs that may assist you with limiting “screen time” and encourage your child to have meaningful interactions with peers. Here are a few apps/programs that offer content filtering, app blocking, screen time limitations and location monitoring:

  1. Our Pact
  2. Kaspersky safe kids
  3. Norton Family Premier
  4. Family Time
  5. Boomerang
  6. Screentime
  7. Life360

This list is not exhaustive and parents are encouraged to do their own research on keeping their children safe on the internet.

If you have a specific concern please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school administrator.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Daniel J. Coles, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools, Wauconda School District 118

Morgan Branson
Morgan Branson
Articles: 1677

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