Parent Letter - Momo Challenge

Parent Letter - Momo Challenge
Posted on 03/01/2019
Parent letter concerning the Momo Challenge.

Dear Parents,

I would like to take a moment and speak to you about reports of a viral challenge or meme called “Momo” or the “Momo Challenge” that may appear in the form of video clips on the Internet and social media, and may target younger children. These Momo videos feature an odd bird-like creature that is said to encourage self-harm and suicide.

News reports indicate the Momo creature has been seen on Facebook, YouTube, and in popular video games such as Fortnite. If players fail to complete certain challenges in the game, they may receive threatening messages from the Momo avatar. At the same time, other news media are branding these Momo reports a hoax and suggest there is no reason for concern. Some parents of our local students have expressed concern to our schools stating that their children have seen the meme; however, Gilmer County Schools has not independently confirmed the online existence of the meme.

At this time, Gilmer County Schools Technology Department is using its Internet filtering software to block any inappropriate media related to Momo, and students are prevented from searching the topic. Additionally, counselors and administrative personnel are always available at our schools to address student concerns regarding this issue.

As a parent you may choose to discuss with your children whether they have seen anything scary on their devices. I ask that you encourage them to speak with you or another trusted adult about what they’ve seen. Even those who may not have seen the challenge may be impacted by conversations with peers.

I advise you to talk to your children about your expectations for their electronic and Internet usage. Ensure that electronic devices are restricted to age-appropriate content. Be mindful of videos your children are watching and supervise the games your children are playing. If a student is concerned about this challenge, remind them that “Momo” is not real. You as a parent may also view this as an opportunity to have a discussion with your child that they should tell their parents, guardian or another trusted adult if they come into contact with content on the Internet that concerns them.

The following websites/articles may also be helpful to review:

• Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org

• Safe Search Kids https://www.safesearchkids.com

• National Online Safety https://nationalonlinesafety.com/resources/platform-guides/

• Don’t Panic, What Parents Really Need to Know About Momo Challenge https://www.forbes.com/sites/andyrobertson/2019/02/27/dont-panic-what-parents-really-need-toknow-about-momo-challenge/#2b839f8b3a4b

• Media Guidelines for Kids of All Ages https://childmind.org/article/media-guidelines-for-kids-of-all-ages/

We appreciate your partnership in our efforts to support our students and their safety. If you have any questions, feel free to contact your school.

Best Regards,

Dr. Shanna Downs,

Superintendent


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