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Letter to Parents: Internet-Safety Issue (MOMO Challenge)

February 28, 2019
February 28, 2019

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I want to ensure that you are aware of an Internet-safety issue, called the “MOMO Challenge,” that has recently surfaced on multiple social media platforms. Often the challenge is attached to a picture of a girl with bulging eyes, a widespread mouth and long dark hair.

The challenge invites users to message an account called “MOMO”. The account may then send disturbing images and instructions for self-harm, as well as threats if the instructions aren’t followed. It also warns not to discuss the challenge with adults. 

The challenge may also involve messages hidden in seemingly child-friendly games and videos on YouTube from new or unreliable YouTube accounts and begins 5-10 minutes into the episode, after attempting to establish as a legitimate video. 

Parents/caregivers please carefully monitor what your children watch on YouTube and only allow them to watch trusted channels. 

Also, it is advised to regularly speak to your children about all aspects of their online activity and to explain the potential risks associated with any “challenges” so that children can recognize dangerous online behavior. 

Here are some additional internet safety suggestions for parents:
Place home computers in a high traffic area in the home, not your child’s bedroom.
Make casual checks of your child while they are using the internet.
Monitor the sites visited by your children through logs and bookmarks on your computer.
Consider filtering software, which can block access to objectionable sites, words or phrases.

Please encourage your children to report any concerning online behavior that makes them feel uncomfortable to a trusted adult or through the anonymous erase | Report It tool at https://erasereportit.gov.bc.ca/add/report-it. Should you have any concerns, please contact your school principal.

Sincerely,
 
Dr. Jeremy Morrow
Superintendent of Schools