March 6, 2019
Internet Safety

Hello,

In light of a recent viral concern which you may have already heard about through social media, we wanted to make you aware of the potential that this could be targeting children. It is called the Momo Challenge, and media outlets are reporting that it centers around a disturbing character suggesting dangerous tasks for kids to perform, including potentially harming themselves, or hiding for an extended period of time.

 

From what we have learned, these and other suggestions may be found inserted into some YouTube Kids videos, including those featuring the popular video game “Fortnite” and Peppa Pig cartoons. This challenge may also be sent through an app called WhatsApp, which functions on both mobile phones and tablets.

 

There are conflicting media reports about whether this Momo Challenge is real or a hoax. However, we felt it important to bring it to the attention of our friends and subscribing families in the case it turns out to be true.

 

Currently, we are not aware of any concerns linked to this challenge that are directly impacting the safety of our learners. However, we want to proactively make you aware of this disturbing trend so that you can talk to your child about these types of challenges, should you feel it is appropriate to do so.

 

Because these messages have potentially been embedded into some YouTube Kids videos, we recommend that parents/guardians closely monitor what their children are watching, even if the content appears to be safe, to ensure that children are not exposed to these harmful messages.

 

This is a great opportunity to educate children about internet safety, as well as having an open conversation about what children are accessing.

 

What can parents do? Here are some tips from Internet safety expert Josh Ochs of smartsocial.com:

  • Consider asking your children if they have ever heard of this type of online challenge and discuss the dangers.
  • Remind children that “Momo” is not a fictional character but rather a real person with negative intentions.
  • Teach your children to never communicate with strangers on social media and to never share personal information online.
  • Remind your children that they can always talk to you about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable on social media.
  • Learn about viral social media challenges before your children so that you can help keep them safe.
  • Encourage your children to only use social media as a tool to improve their digital footprint and have fun with friends (in a safe way).

 

Finally, the best way to keep your children safe online is to be aware of what sites they are visiting and who they are communicating with. It is okay to take steps to make sure they are interacting with people you know and doing so in a way that’s healthy.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this, as we want to ensure the safety of all young learners.  We want to encourage you to take this time to talk with your children about internet safety.  As always, happy learning!