Making its way through social media today is a story that is not necessarily new, but has reared its head again in a new and more disturbing way. This story is currently trending in Europe and the UK but is gaining attention due to the absolute fascination the internet has with these trends.
We are urging parents to educate themselves, and if they feel it necessary, to speak with their kids about the “Momo” challenge. It is a disturbing online “suicide game” that can encourage young people to hurt themselves or others.
This disturbing trend made its original appearance last year, but thanks to concerns raised by parents, it is receiving the attention it may deserve now.
What is “Momo”? “Momo” is a creepy looking, bulgy-eyed character that is originally the creation of a Japanese artist that is being used by these hackers. This artist has no known connection to this challenge. The character is used to target kids online. The character encourages kids to contact them on the messaging service WhatsApp and then begins to bombard them with violent images and dares. Parents have reported that the character encourages the kids to self-harm and even take their own lives. There are reports that the character has been hacked into innocent entertainment platforms such as “Peppa Pig” and “YouTube Kids”.
We encourage parents to use this as a reminder that we must remain vigilant to the threats that could face our children online. While this trend may concern us today, there will always be dangers that we need to look for in the future. In the world we live in today, the predatory actions of a person on the other side of the globe could affect our families through platforms such as Xbox Live, phone apps, and real-time interactive games such as Fortnite.
As parents, we must take certain precautions when allowing this open window in our children’s lives.
1. Talk to your kids. Make them aware of how they can be safe online.
2. Activate safety settings. Parental controls can either be installed or activated to help control what kids see. This is one of the best ways to control exposure to age-inappropriate content.
3. Teach your kids to value privacy. Teach your kids the “No Share” rule. Remind them that they need to see the value in keeping private information private. Make sure to check app Profile and Set Up information to keep it free of details such as your child’s school, age, phone number, email, location services, and other personal content.
4. Reach out. We know this can be a lot for adults sometimes. Be tenacious in your search for answers. If you see an app or a game that you are unfamiliar with on your kid’s social media or gaming platforms, do your research. Find someone who can explain it to you.
Together we can continue to maintain a safe environment for our kids.
For more information about internet safety and kids, click here!
This article was an excerpt first posted on the Texas State Troopers Facebook page and if you would like to see their post, you can click here!
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