How worried should parents be about the Momo Challenge?
SPOKANE, Wash. — An online “challenge” is spreading once again on social media and has parents around the country, and even the world, concerned.
The “Momo Challenge” first popped up in 2017, and is making the rounds online again. The game allegedly tries to contact kids through YouTube and communicates with them through the app Whatsapp. It encourages young people to partake in dangerous challenges, including suicide.
But, if you do some digging, you’ll likely find that there’s no real proof that the challenge has led to any harm. It’s likely that the whole thing is a big internet hoax, and nothing more than a viral ghost story.
But, it does raise concerns about what our children experience online and how we can keep them safe.
Sacajawea Middle School has taken a proactive approach when it comes to its students and social media. The school hosts seminars to make sure that both students and parents have the tools they need to keep teens safe.
“We need to make sure that we recognize that developmentally we want to be responsive to them and making sure they have access to that device and that means really building their capacity to understand what’s going on and also understanding they might not have the readiness to be able to be a great user of that device,” said Sacajawea Principal Jeremy Ochse.
But, keeping up with your children online can be a challenge, especially when you didn’t grow up with the same technology.
“It moves faster than any of us can even pretend to be able to access and use and get in front of,” Ochse said.
So the school offers some tips to parents to try and protect their kids, while establishing trust.
Teach your kids about the dangers of social media and agree to an internet safety plan. Have everyone sign it. Make a list of what information your child should never share online. Talk frequently with your kids about what they’re doing online and who they’re communicating with. And monitor everything. Keep the computer in a common place and charge phones in the living room at night.
It’s also important for parents to keep an open dialogue with their kids. Make sure your children know that they can be safe coming to you with any troubling experiences they have online.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, there is always help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime at 1-800-273-8255.
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