It has been brought to my attention safeguarding concerns reference the game “MOMO” that is now targeting our young people online and encouraging them to hurt themselves and using threats towards them that they are being watched. I have included some information below however they is a wealth of information advice on the internet and You Tube educational information available to access to explain this application further.
What is MOMO
Momo is a disturbing 'challenge' game targeting young people via WhatAapp and other social media and encouraging them to hurt or kill themselves or else they will be cursed.
The game is being touted as the next Blue Whale – a dangerous social media game linked to at least 130 teen deaths across Russia.
And it’s similar to the Doki Doki Literature Club game also linked to teen deaths.
Momo begins with an anonymous person - hiding behind a haunting avatar (see image attached) - sending violent images to the victim over a messaging app. Momo then gives orders, and threatens the receiver if they don't follow them.
The face of Momo is a grotesque-looking woman with distorted features taken from the work of Japanese artist Midori Hayashi, who is not associated with the game.
"The momo challenge is a form of cyberbullying where momo asks to be contacted through a social media site and then asks the person to perform a series of dangerous tasks including self-harm."
Online advice (obtained from educational sites)
- How to keep your child safe online – stage by stage.
- Accompany them during their first experiences on the web.
- Make sure you are there when your little ones take the first steps. The first contact a child has with the internet is a good opportunity to sit down and guide him or her in their new adventure.
- Set the conditions for the use of the internet.
- Set basic rules for using the internet. A good practice is to supervise the number of hours spent online and also to set times in which the use of web is allowed. Be a good example.
- Children usually take their parents' behaviour as an example, this rule applying equally online as well as in real life. If the members of the family have a positive behaviour, this will immediately pass on to the child.1 TO 14 Y
- Use parental control tools
Take advantage of the existing technology and use it in your favour.
- Parental Control tools make it possible to block sites or even categories of pages that contain potentially offensive material, allow you to set time limits for internet surfing or game play.
- At the same time it allows your child to ask you for permission to visit certain pages or have more play time, if their homework is done.
- Teach them not to share information that might identify them
It is important to make it very clear to children that in the virtual world, not every person is a friend, and that some people may even want to hurt them.
- Explain why it isn’t safe to share information such as: address, telephone, schools or after school activates they attend, etc. The child should also ask you for authorisation before sharing potentially sensitive pictures on the internet.
- Keep the dialogue open
Encourage your kids to be open with you and ask freely about what they see on the internet. If possible try to install the computer in a room where the whole family spends time and where it may be under your supervision, not in his or her bedroom.
- Nobody should know their passwords
- We know how the teenagers are and that they can get really difficult, but make sure they understand the best practices when it comes to passwords. After all, they are like their house keys.
- Don't allow your child to make financial transactions online without your permission
- Respect the privacy of your teenagers but at the same make sure they never give a copy of their passwords to a stranger in person or over the internet.
- Immediately report stalking and cyberbullying
- Remember the bullies in your class? The big kid that was making the life really hard for the geeks? Nowadays, many of them have moved to modern technology and are hiding behind the internet.
- What hasn't changed is the fact that they try to psychologically harm others. Therefore, children should be told to immediately inform their parents if they ever come across these wrongful acts.
- Financial online transactions are only for adults
- Purchasing something on the internet should not be a problem, as long as it is carefully done.
- Until kids understand the necessary precautionary measures to be taken when sending personal financial information, they should do so only under their parents' supervision.
- TOP TIPS FOR PARENTS
- Use parental control tools
- This can be used both in browsers and also in antivirus software.
- This sort of tools are also available for game consoles, such as Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360.
- There are parental control tools available for the Nintendo Wii.
- Do not let your child send confidential information over the internet
- Sensitive information should never be requested via e-mail or chat. Banks do not request your account data and much less your PIN in this way. It is also important not to give such valuable information to your children.
- Do not answer nor eliminate stalking messages
- If your child is a victim of cyberbullying he or she should not retaliate. Explain that the stalker wants to provoke exactly this sort of reaction as it feeds his or her desire to harm. If you come across this sort of situations and if they happen again, notify the corresponding authorities. However, never erase any message received, as it is evidence of the act.
- Don't retaliate to online bullies but don't eliminate them
- Not everything you see online is true
- Not all the information that can be found on the web comes from a reliable source and it is important for the child to know the difference.
- Open dialogue
- The communication you have with your children plays a key role in their safety. It is much more productive to encourage them to talk about their fears and concerns than to punish them. A good environment and an open dialogue, both on the internet as well as in real life, may be the key to success when dealing with their well-being.
Further sites for reference