Warning to parents

As an eSmart school, we feel it is vital parents are aware of what their children are doing online.

It has come to our attention that many children in the school are aware of the Momo Challenge, which includes children receiving terrifying messages and images, ranging from threats and dares to encouraging self-harm and even suicide.

Please consider the following information provided by Practical Parenting.

How do I protect my children online?
According to National Online Safety in the UK, there are several ways you can help protect your child when they are using apps or devices.

Tell them it’s not real
Much like any other monster or fictitious character, it’s important that your child understands that Momo is not a real person and cannot control them, tell them what to do or harm them. Also, tell your child not to go openly searching for this content online as it is only going to upset them and cause them distress.

Be present
While it’s not always possible to be with your child 24/7, it’s important that you are close to them when they are watching videos or playing with devices so you can monitor what is going on. Also, talk with your child about how they use devices and watch for any signs of behavioural changes.

Talk regularly with your child
Have frequent open and honest conversations with your child about screen time and let them know that they can talk with you about anything and everything. Encourage your child to feel confident about having discussions with you about issues and concerns they have related to the online world.

Set parental controls on all devices
Set up parental controls for your devices at home to help restrict the types of content that your child can view, as well as help you monitor their activity. On YouTube, turn off the ‘suggested auto-play’ on videos to stop your child from viewing content they may not have selected.

Talk to your child about peer pressure
Trends and challenges can be tempting for kids to take part in regardless of how scary they seem and especially if ‘everyone else is doing it.’ Talk to your child about how they don’t need to bow to peer pressure or do anything they are not comfortable with, either online or offline. If they are unsure, encourage them to talk to you or another trusted adult.

Do your research
As a parent it’s natural to feel worried for your children’s safety, in the online or offline world. However remember not everything you see online is true. Check the validity of the source and be mindful of what you share as it may cause unfounded worries.

Report and block
Flag and report any material you deem to be inappropriate or harmful as soon as you come across it. You should also block the account/content to prevent your child from seeing it.

Get support if necessary
Speak with educators at your child’s school if you have concerns regarding their online activity. If your child sees something distressing it is important they know who to turn to for support and guidance. They can also contact the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Included below are some articles providing further details.

News.com.au article on Momo
Child suicides linked to ‘Momo Challenge’