Important - 'Momo Challenge' Info
Important - 'Momo Challenge' info
There has been a lot of talk in the media this week about 'Momo' and 'Momo challenges'. Momo is a sinister ‘challenge’ that has been around for some time. It has recently resurfaced and once again has come to the attention of schools and children across the country. Dubbed the ‘suicide killer game’, Momohas been heavily linked with apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and most recently (and most worryingly)... YouTube Kids. The scary doll-like figure reportedly sends graphic violent images, and asks users to partake in dangerous challenges like waking up at random hours and has even been associated with self-harm. It has been reported that the ‘Momo’ figure was originally created as a sculpture and featured in an art gallery in Tokyo and unrelated to the ‘Momo’ challenge we are hearing about in the media.
It is important that all parents monitor internet use carefully, even for those younger children who may be accessing supposedly innocent videos on Youtube such as Peppa Pig etc. Apparently there have also been cases of hackers using Fortnite accounts to contact children using this doll like figure. Some individuals are editing video such as Fortnite videos and inserting the Momo face and instructions in the middle of the video. Be vigilant and check that children aren't accepting friend requests on Facebook / Snapchat / Instagram from unknown people. Hackers can quickly change their profile picture to the Momo figure and try to unsettle and scare.
A lot of this is media driven - people are talking about it so instinctively people go and search for it, leading people to want to become part of it. We need to encourage our children to be safe online in exactly the same way as we would normally do - not accepting ANYTHING from people who they don't know, reporting anything suspicious, upsetting or unsettling to an adult, and as parents, ensuring that the right parental controls and blocks are setup when children are using the internet at home.
This may be one of those 'games' that disappears quickly like a lot of the other Internet phenomenons, but at the moment, while it is being talked about and is high profile, it is important that we ensure that children of all ages remain safe whilst online.
As a school we will be reiterating the importance of staying safe online and what to do if things like this occur.
Should you wish to discuss anything further, please get in touch with the school office.
In the meantime, here is a link to an excellent guide to 'Momo' on the National Online Safety website:
This is the advice received today from Walsall Council:
MESSAGE FROM NICOLA RUDGE, WALSALL COUNCIL
This is yet another scaremongering challenge type situation that has previously appeared under different guises for example 'Slenderman' and 'The Blue Whale Challenge' Information suggests numerous children are now being exposed to the 'MOMO Challenge' on a daily basis, basically kids are being convinced to contact a number via instagram, Facebook,WhatsApp or any platform that connects to someone running the challenge. Additional to this there are now numerous copycat type situations where despicable people are posting 'MOMO Challenge Videos' embedded in seemingly okay YouTube videos that are directed at children. Children are then told that they will die unless they follow through a challenge. Many of the challenges involve self-harm and suicide. Some of the sketches depicting suicide are horrific.
Every Parent needs to make sure that they have a line of communication with their child at home whereby they will be able to speak to them if they come across anything that remotely links to this situation or indeed anything that links to 'suicide advice'.
The children need to know they can raise these issues with their parents without then having to deal with an immediate ban from electronics etc for their honesty. If parents punish their children as a result of a disclosure relating to the 'MOMO Challenge' we would regard this as an extremely dangerous situation and strongly ask parents to think carefully about how they handle this issue.