Momo Challenge Highlights Parents Responsibility to Educate Children on Internet Safety

Written by on March 7, 2019

The internet is known for viral videos of all kinds — from laser chasing cats to emotional double rainbow wonderment. From time to time though — a viral video — or claimed viral video appears that shakes parents to their core. The most recent phenomenon — that first appeared in 2014 — is the Momo Challenge.
Hundreds of articles from the top news outlets in the country have covered this challenge — which at it’s most disturbing — claimed to be the basis for a pair suicides in young children. The character in the video — Momo — is actually the work of a Japanese special effects company — the piece is called Mother Bird.
The Big Horn Radio Network reached out to Washakie County School District #1 Technology Director Kathy Wise for her take and experience with the Momo phenomenon. Wise indicated via e-mail that through her research — quote — “The Momo Challenge appears to be a hoax,” end quote. She did go on to indicate though — that there are many things on the internet that are not appropriate for children.
Wise went on to suggest parents have the responsibility to work with their children on Internet safety topics such as: having conversations with their child about appropriate sites for their children to be accessing. Supervising the games their children play online — as well as closely monitoring the videos they are watching. Lastly — work with their children concerning not sharing personal information with anyone they do not know — as well as — not feeling pressured to do what people tell them to do while in chat rooms or from an app or game.
In her continued e-mail statement — Wise stressed that WCSD #1 takes security and safety concerns very seriously and strive to do everything in their power to protect students and staff. The school district attempts to restrict access to sites that may be harmful to students. In addition, the district addresses Internet Safety through our technology classes, general classes and guidance counselor session.

Full Statement from Kathy Wise-WCSD #1 Technology Director

Jordan:

From the recent research I have done, the Momo Challenge appears to be a hoax. One of the recent occurrences of the Momo Challenge has been in the UK using the WhatsApp (which is a part of Facebook since 2014). There are many things that are on the internet that are not appropriate for children.

Parents have a responsibility to work with their children about Internet safety topics such as:

  • have conversations with their children about appropriate sites for their children to be accessing
  • supervise the games their children play on line, as well as, closely monitor the videos they are watching
  • work with their children concerning not sharing personal information with anyone they do not know, as well as, not feeling pressured to do what people tell them to do while in chat rooms or from an app or game

We take security and safety concerns very seriously and strive to do everything in our power to protect students and staff. The school district attempts to restrict access to sites that may be harmful to students. In addition, the district addresses Internet Safety through our technology classes, general classes and guidance counselor session.

Thanks,

Kathy Wise

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900058052/is-the-momo-challenge-on-youtube-whatsapp-real-or-is-it-a-hoax-maybe-both.html :

Perhaps the best general advice is for parents to address such issues preemptively, not necessarily dwelling on any specific rumors but advising their children to be responsible and let them know if they encounter anything in the digital realm that appears frightening or threatening:

“Preemptively addressing something with your kid is always better,” said Dr. Meghan Walls, a pediatric psychologist.

She says it might be a good idea to gently ask your younger kids if they know about this.

“Something like, Ya know, there’s some scary things that pop up on phones and tablets and if you ever see something like that, come get me.’”

And for your older kids? Maybe get them to promise they’ll talk to you about the Momo Challenge if it’s sent to them. It’s not realistic to simply take their phone away, but let them know this is cyberbullying, it’s potentially dangerous, and that you’re trusting them to let you know what’s going on.

“Especially as kids get older and they are teenagers, they want some of that autonomy, and they deserve it as long as they can show you they’re responsible enough,” Walls said.

***********************

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/02/699663319/the-latest-internet-hoax-momo-challenge

https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/28/health/momo-challenge-youtube-trnd/index.html (watch the three videos in this article – pretty interesting)

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/momo-challenge-resurfaces-police-issue-warning-to-parents/

(note the YouTube references towards the end of the article)

From the Terms of Service for You Tube (my highlighting below – There is a lot of gray area from the ages of under 13 – 18)

https://www.youtube.com/static?template=terms

12. Ability to Accept Terms of Service

You affirm that you are either more than 18 years of age, or an emancipated minor, or possess legal parental or guardian consent, and are fully able and competent to enter into the terms, conditions, obligations, affirmations, representations, and warranties set forth in these Terms of Service, and to abide by and comply with these Terms of Service. In any case, you affirm that you are over the age of 13, as the Service is not intended for children under 13. If you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use the Service. There are lots of other great web sites for you. Talk to your parents about what sites are appropriate for you.

We provide these Terms of Service with our Service so that you know what terms apply to your use. You acknowledge that we have given you a reasonable opportunity to review these Terms of Service and that you have agreed to them.


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