Online Safety Alert Notice to Parents
Dear District 135 families,
As some of you may be aware, there has been national and international media coverage lately about an internet challenge known as “The Momo Challenge.” Allegedly, Momo targets young children by encouraging them to text a number on various online applications (e.g. YouTube, Minecraft, WhatsApp, etc.), which then sends them instructions to complete a series of increasingly bizarre and dangerous tasks from watching a horror movie to engaging in self-harm to taking their own lives.
The threat of the Momo Challenge may be overstated; however, there has been some discussion among students about it, and we felt it important to make you aware of it. Additionally, given the growing national media coverage of the Momo Challenge, experts on mental health caution that such hysterical news coverage could potentially prove harmful, possibly even inspiring imitators. It can also cause some students to be fearful or anxious.
To that end, we encourage parents who are concerned about their child being exposed to disturbing images like the Momo Challenge to have intentional conversations with them about what they encounter online.
The following are some resources that may be helpful in helping our young learners navigate the internet, as well as tools for families looking to parent in a digital age:
- Family Online Safety Institute
- Common Sense Media
- Creating a Family Media Plan
- Teaching Kids About Internet Safety
At this time, the technology department has blocked the ability to search the term "Momo" from school-issued devices. Our media specialists will be integrating this topic into their digital safety lessons over the next few weeks as well. They will focus, not just on this topic, but that in any situation, if a student feels that something is wrong, they should notify their “trusted heroes.”
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact your child’s teacher or school administrator.