I write to make you aware of a recent social media challenge called the ‘Momo Challenge’ which is causing concern due its disturbing nature.
‘Momo’ is a scary doll like figure who reportedly sends graphic violent images and encourages users to partake in dangerous challenges via Facebook, WhatsApp and Youtube. ‘Momo’ then requests for photos as proof and then proceeds to threaten those who do not perform the ‘challenges’. ‘Momo has also been associated with self-harm.
Guidance to parents from our local safeguarding board should be to:
- Ensure parents know what their children can access online
- Ensure children understand the importance of not giving personal information to anyone they don’t know
- To tell children no-one has the right to make them do anything they do not want to do
- Use parental controls to keep children safe
Signs to watch out for include children who:
- Become very secretive, especially about what they are doing online
- Are spending a lot of time on the internet and social media
- Are switching screens on their device when approached
- Are withdrawn or angry after using the internet or sending text messages
- Have lots of new phone numbers or email addresses on their devices
If you are concerned or have any questions on how to approach the subject with your child, you can contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or visit the NSPCC website; https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/
Please be reminded that as of May 2018, WhatsApp’s minimum age of use is 16 years old in the UK. Further guidance for parents is available via the following link; https://parentinfo.org/article/whatsapp-a-guide-for-parents-and-carers
If you have any concerns that your child is at risk of harm, please follow the School’s safeguarding procedures.