My daughter (who works in child after-care) recently brought to my attention that there is a horrendous ‘momo challenge’ circulating that is hacking children’s online games like Peppa Pig, Fortnite and Youtube.
Primary schools are sending out warnings to parents as the craze seems to have arrived in the UK. Some are calling it a hoax, but hoax or not - if your child sees this is will most definitely be disturbing and potentially dangerous. I was horrified when I saw the video! It promotes self-harm, inflicting harm on others and even suicide in a series of threats to the viewer who has to ‘complete certain tasks otherwise momo will come and hurt them or their families’. The visual guides are extremely real and graphic.
2 thoughts instantly. What is becoming of our world that someone out there takes the time to come up with material like this; and our children are so vulnerable. Although the BBC News reported that ‘The UK Safer Internet Centre told the Guardian that it was "fake news", there are still unofficial copies with footage of "momo" that have been copied so children could end up seeing these unofficial uploads and be exposed to the distressing images’. Knowledge is key and it’s important to know what your children may see.
If you have not heard about this and you have younger or potentially vulnerable children, please do a bit of investigating. Then - most importantly - make sure your children know how dangerous this hack is. TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN. Help them to understand how to say NO to things that don’t sound or feel right.
Childline offer the following advice FOR KIDS: How to say no
1) Say it with confidence: Be assertive. It’s your choice and you don’t have to do something which makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
2) Try not to judge them: By respecting their choices, they should respect yours.
3) Spend time with friends who can say ‘no’: It takes confidence and courage to say no to your friends. Spend time with other friends who also aren’t taking part.
4) Suggest something else to do: If you don’t feel comfortable doing what your friends are doing, suggest something else to do.
With internet safety there is lots we can do:-
Set up parental controls
Use ‘Parental controls’ to block upsetting or harmful content
they can also control how long and when they’re online, plus stop them downloading apps.
Talk to your children
Have regular conversations about what your child is doing online
Explore sites and apps together
Talk about what personal information they should share online
Create a family agreement about what behaviour is appropriate when they are online
Do your research
Check through websites your child is using
Change privacy settings
Turn OFF location sharing
I don’t want to advertise the momo site here - but google it or look at it on youtube so you know what your child may be exposed to.
It’s our responsibility to safeguard our children. Find out what you need to know and get it done.
Take a look at these sites for online safety help:-
Site recommending apps: https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/best-parental-control-apps/