In recent days, it has been brought to the attention of the City of Bradford Police Department, that there is a resurgence of a virial online gaming/video threat. Many of you may have already heard or seen on the news a new viral trend called the “Momo Challenge”. Children as young as 6 years old have reportedly been swept up into the challenge, which promises death to victims who don’t follow the orders of the character. It can be found via Facebook or through the WhatsApp. It begins with children seeing a scary image while watching a seemingly innocent online video or playing an online video game. Then, children are challenged to perform small tasks and quickly escalates to more serious violent acts and requests photographs for proof. The "game" starts when a person adds a phone number belonging to “Momo”, a woman with large eyes and a sharp grin. The participant is then sent various challenges to perform acts of self-harm before ultimately being told to kill himself or herself. If they do not, they are threatened with a curse. It has been reported that many of these videos with the embedded threat are found on YouTube Kids.
The image of “Momo” is actually an original sculpture art piece called “Mother Bird”. The piece was created by Japanese artist Keisuke Aisawa and was on display in Tokyo. Aisawa has no ties to the “Momo Challenge”.
Here is a link to a Fox News Report regarding the “Momo” Challenge: https://www.foxnews.com/tech/momo-suicide-challenge-sparks-fear-among-pa...
There are conflicting stories around the world regarding the “Momo Challenge” and people’s accounts of how they received it. While we don’t want to discredit this reported threat, we want to take this opportunity to raise awareness of online safety for the youth of our community. Here are a few tips to use while following safe online practices with your children.
• Start talking with your children early, especially when they start to use electronic devices (cell phone, tablet, computer, etc.).
• Initiate the conversation with your children; do not wait for them to come to you.
• Communicate your expectations honestly about online content.
• Supervision is important. If you are not available 24/7 to monitor your child’s internet activity, consider parental controls. Some parental controls are:
- Filtering and blocking content that contains certain words or images.
- Blocking outgoing content such as photos or personal information.
- Limiting the time a child is allowed online.
- Kid-oriented search engines filter search results only allowing material that is appropriate for a child.
- Monitoring tools allow parents to be notified in the event your child accesses a questionable website.
- Create an electronic contract with your children.
Please keep an open dialogue with your children. Talk with them often about their online activity.