The following is a message that was sent by Paul Enderle, Superintendent regarding online safety & viral challenge videos:
Online Safety & Viral Challenge Videos
As some of you may be aware, there has been an uptick in the amount of media coverage lately regarding a new internet challenge known as “The Momo Challenge.”
From Common Sense Media:
“This frightening social media challenge appears with an unforgettable, horrifying picture of a statue of a bird (that looks like a girl) and allegedly encourages kids to perform increasingly risky and harmful tasks, including hurting themselves. It can pop up in a variety of places but seems to center around Whatsapp, where a user is sent a link to click on. It’s not new but resurfaces occasionally. Though some articles mention reports of kids actually harming or killing themselves as a result of the challenge, they are unsubstantiated. Some reports indicate it’s actually a way for hackers to get access to devices, which poses a whole separate set of risks.”
District 123 has become aware of a small number of students that have voiced concern about the imagery and tasks associated with this internet challenge. However, experts on mental health caution that such hysterical news coverage could potentially prove harmful, possibly even inspiring imitators, and sparking curiosity among children that did not initially exist.
Therefore, we encourage parents who may be concerned about their child being exposed to images and viral internet media like “The Momo Challenge,” to have conversations with them about internet safety while being mindful as to not increase awareness of this specific viral content. More general questions related to recent media consumption or online trends among their peer group may serve as a valuable conversation starter.
The following are some resources that may prove to help our young learners navigate the internet, as well as tools for families parenting in a digital age:
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact your child’s teacher or school principal.