It is concerning when young people have been exposed to any content that scares them or plays on their emotions, like those reported via the Momo Challenge. Unfortunately, the Momo Challenge is not the first, nor will it be the last, harmful online “challenge” or phenomenon to target our children.
Our research shows 81% of parents hand their child an internet-connected device by the age of 4, so active parental engagement and oversight of a child’s online activities is critical from the start, to help ensure they are prepared for what they may encounter. As young people often do not have the maturity or judgement to cope with confronting content online, it’s important to guide and instil critical reasoning skills, so they are aware that not everything they see or receive online is real.
We encourage parents to co-view, co-play, ask questions about the games and apps they are using, and let them know you are there to support them if they are upset or uncomfortable about anything they see online.
Five top tips to help limit your child’s exposure to harmful content online:
• Engage in your child’s online activities – ask what apps, sites and games they’re using and make sure they’re age-appropriate
• Use parental controls on devices to help limit what your child is exposed to
• Let them know not everything they see online is real or true.
• Help them report and block upsetting content they see on social media sites or apps.
• Let them know they can come to you about anything upsetting they see online, and to contact Kids Helpline if they need further support.
Parents concerned their child has been exposed to the Momo Challenge, or other upsetting content should:
- Ask their child if they have come across or heard about Momo
- If they have, ask how it made them feel
- Reassure them they are safe and do not have to participate in the “challenge”
- Let them know they can come to you about anything they see online that makes them feel upset or uncomfortable, and contact Kids Helpline if they need further support.
Parents who are concerned their child may be susceptible to self-harm should be aware of the signs to look out for and know where to go for help – see more info here: https://www.esafety.gov.au/about-the-office/newsroom/blog/is-your-child-at-risk-of-self-harm-or-suicide
We encourage parents to visit www.esafety.gov.au/iparent for information and advice on keep your child safe online.” (Information from the Office of the eSafety Commissioner)
MOMO – What is it and how to respond?
The Momo challenge is a disturbing on-line character that has infiltrated popular apps and internet forums such as YouTube and encourages young people to hurt themselves – and each other.
While this has been around for some months now it has recently been found in content for younger children including Peppa Pig. Warnings about this ‘game’ have been gathering pace more recently thanks to concerns raised by parents and police via social media.
Momo is a creepy looking, doll-like character with bulgy eyes that appears to be used by hackers to targets young children online. The doll encourages them to add a contact on messaging service WhatsApp, then bombards them with violent images and dares.
Reports indicate that the character encourages young people to self-harm and sometimes with the final post telling them to take their own lives. Overseas reports have attributed some young people completing suicide due in part to Momo.
It is understood the original artwork used by the hackers has been taken from a designer in Japan who has no connection with the challenge. In the UK police have urged parents not to focus purely on ‘Momo’, but instead make sure they know what their children has access to online.
Some useful links-