Online Safety Message and the Momo Challenge
Dear CISD Families,
As some of you may be aware, there recently has been extensive media coverage about an internet challenge known as “The Momo Challenge.” Allegedly, Momo targets young children by encouraging them to text a number on various popular online applications (e.g. Roblox, Minecraft, WhatsApp, etc.). It then sends them instructions to complete a series of increasingly bizarre and dangerous tasks that escalate from watching a horror movie, to engaging in self-harm or taking their own lives.
While there are reports that the threat of the Momo Challenge may be a hoax or overstated, we felt it was important to make you aware of this and provide resources for you to talk about it and online safety with your child. Additionally, given the growing national media coverage of the Momo Challenge, experts on mental health caution that such hysterical news coverage may potentially prove harmful, possibly even inspiring imitators. It also can cause some students to be fearful or anxious as they hear about this at school or other sources.
We encourage parents who are concerned about their kids being exposed to disturbing images, such as the Momo Challenge, to have intentional conversations with their children about what they encounter online. The following are some resources that are helpful in helping our young students navigate the Internet, as well are helpful tools for families looking to parent in a digital age.
- Parent Toolkit
- Family Online Safety Institute
- Common Sense Media
- Creating a Family Media Plan (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Teaching Kids About Internet Safety (GCFLearnFree.org)
- Talking with Kids About Being Online (Federal Trade Commission)
As always, if you have questions or concerns about your child’s emotional health, please contact your child’s campus counselor.