Online scare prompts reminders about Internet safety

The district has recently received questions from some students and staff members about an online phenomenon known as the “Momo Challenge,” which includes disturbing images and messages relating to violence and self-harm.

The most recent reports indicate that the “Momo Challenge” is an Internet hoax, and that reports of “hacked” videos, games and apps may not be accurate. That being said, students may still be troubled by reports of this phenomenon.

Regardless of whether the “Challenge” proves to be real or a hoax, the district’s message to students is the same: Any disturbing content encountered online should be reported to a trusted adult.

We believe the following steps will help ease students’ concerns:

    • Be proactive. Rather than waiting for a child to bring it up, parents can use age-appropriate language to let their child know what to do if they encounter inappropriate content online. Making a plan with a child can help them feel more confident and less frightened.
    • Know your apps. We encourage parents to learn what they can about any apps a child may be using, such as if there is a messaging feature in an app, or if the child’s profile is public vs. private. Knowing how these apps work makes it easier to support a child if they run into something inappropriate.
    • Avoid rumors. It is not uncommon for a child to report something they have heard from a friend, who heard it from another friend, and on and on. We encourage all our students to be cautious about spreading rumors, and to exercise good judgment and critical thought.

If your child is struggling with this or any other issue, we encourage you to contact your child’s school so that we can help provide support.

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