Online Gaming, MOMO Challenge Concerns
There has been recent local, national and international media coverage about an internet challenge known as “The Momo Challenge.” Allegedly, Momo targets young children by encouraging them to text a number on various online applications (e.g. YouTube, Minecraft, WhatsApp, etc.), which then sends them instructions to complete a series of increasingly bizarre and dangerous tasks from watching a horror movie to engaging in self-harm to taking their own lives.
Although the Momo Challenge appears to be more fear than fact, it’s important that parents talk to their children about it. LDISD Counseling would like to offer some tips for navigating this potentially harmful topic.
- Ask a general question about whether your student has seen anything online that has made them upset or worried.
- Explain that many things that happen online can be misleading or frightening. Some things are designed to gain attention.
- Make sure your student knows that it is not ok to neither communicate with, nor follow directions from strangers online.
Parents need to follow their child’s lead. Introducing the idea of the Momo Challenge to a child who is not familiar with it might lead them to investigate. On the other hand, avoiding mentioning it will not provide a chance for a good discussion. Remember that curiosity is a natural part of growing up, so do not blame your child for being drawn to this sort of digital drama. Try to listen, keep calm, and help them to recognize that this may be something tempting for your child to explore.
To learn more about the Momo Challenge, read the following post:
The following are some resources we have found to be helpful in helping our young learners navigate the internet, as well as tools for families looking to parent in a digital age.
- Family Online Safety Institute
- Common Sense Media
- Creating a Family Media Plan (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Teaching Kids About Internet Safety (GCFLearnFree.org)
- Talking with Kids About Being Online (Federal Trade Commission)