Momo Challenge

Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2019

Parents and Guardians,

We have recently become aware of an internet hoax that is impacting children online known as the ‘Momo Challenge’. Although this is a complete hoax, it can be quite a terrifying experience for children who see it. Some are calling this a viral prank, a media-fuelled craze, others a potential for cyber-bullying or self-harm.

This is how it works:
Known as a ‘game’, the Momo Challenge is usually illustrated by a wide-eyed, dark haired woman with creepy facial features. The figure may claim to be able to hack your phone, force her image to appear on your device or appear in your bedroom if you do not obey the ‘challenge’. With regards to the tasks sets as challenges, there is no real list yet, but some have claimed the game asks watchers to commit acts of self-harm or suicide.

While this can be a scary experience, it’s really important for adults to stay calm if their child comes across the image/video, as this will only scare children further.

Due to the nature of the online world, the Momo Challenge will likely soon be replaced by something else, so rather than dwell on this particular subject, we'd like to take the opportunity to reiterate a few really important key messages that we teach children in school and that we’d like you to mention at home as well, as we believe these key messages will help children to deal with any situation they come across online.

1. If a child sees anything online that scares them, worries them or makes them feel uncomfortable they should close the device and take it to show an adult immediately.

2. If someone online tells you to do something that could cause harm to you or someone else, do not do it. Unfortunately there are people out there who like to cause people to worry but usually the things they are saying are completely untrue so if you’re worried always ask an adult, even if someone tells you not to tell anyone!

3. If you see a video or image of someone hurting themselves or others online, report it immediately – just like you would in the ‘real’ world. Adults can then report this to the police.

Finally, a message for adults – when a child comes to us in school with a concern over something they’ve seen online, we always praise them for coming forward. This can take a lot of courage from the child and so if they are met with a ‘telling off’ or a removal of their devices, this then means they are less likely to come forward and ask for help next time. Although our initial reaction as adults can be to take devices away or tell the child they shouldn’t have been on that site, we should remember that the online world is a place that we should teach our children to navigate, just like we do in the real world! Think of it like crossing the road – we would never tell children to just go ahead and try it themselves, instead we model this and hold their hand for years before we allow them to try it out under our supervision and then cross alone. We find this helpful to keep in mind as we teach our children about online safety.

For any questions or advice around online safety feel free to speak your child's teacher or for further helpful information check

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