There has been some concern in the media this week about an online ‘self-harm game’ known as the Momo Challenge. Currently, there is much conflicting information about Momo, but it appears to be causing interest, excitement and fear amongst some children.
MOMO first appeared in the UK over a year ago. It has been linked with the Fortnite game and multiple platforms used by children including Youtube, Kidstube, Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. Typically, a child will be watching a video or playing a game and a link to a new video will pop up, often showing a shocking avatar of a girl with bulging eyes. Police believe the game is being used by hackers seeking to harvest personal information.
When these kinds of things are reported in the media it can be confusing and scary for parents. Here is a handy guide for what parents should know about online crazes and how to keep children safe when online: https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/esafety-news/momo-challenge-what-parents-should-know-about-online-crazes/
National Online Safety has provided advice too:
Among the most common warning signs for parents to watch out for include children who:
· Become very secretive, especially about what they are doing online
· Are spending a lot of time on the internet and social media
· Are switching off screens on their device when approached
· Are withdrawn or angry after using the internet or sending text messages
· Have lots of new phone numbers or email addresses on their devices
If adults are concerned or have any questions on how to approach the subject with their children, they can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or visit the NSPCC website.
Children who are worried about their activity on apps or online games can contact Childline 24 hours a day, online and over the phone on 0800 1111.
Tutors are also speaking to students to make sure they know how to keep safe when online.