(Black Press file photo)

SD62 encouraging parents to talk about online safety in light of Momo Challenge

Disturbing online challenge instructs participants to perform dangerous tasks

The Sooke School District is encouraging parents to talk with their children about online safety following reports of a disturbing social media challenge that encourages participants to do dangerous things.

On Feb. 27, SD62 sent out an email to parents and guardians, on behalf of superintendent Scott Stinson, to make them aware of the Momo Challenge.

The Momo Challenge involves participants receiving social media invitations on platforms such as WhatsApp and Snapchat to message an account called Momo. The account is linked to an image of a doll with long black hair, large eyes and a scary-looking smile.

READ MORE: Disturbing Momo Challenge a ‘teachable moment’ social media expert says

The account may send disturbing images and instructions for different tasks that need to be complete along with threats about what will happen if the tasks are not carried out.

Participants can receive the invitation through seemingly child-friendly videos and video games.

“Teachers will remind students about the importance of online safety and to always talk to an adult if they see anything that concerns them,” the email said. “We encourage you to take this opportunity to talk with your child about online safety and screen time.”

The email also offered the following tips to parents:

  • Limit screen/device time for your child. One hour maximum for ages two to seven and two hours maximum for ages seven and up.
  • Create screen-free times and zones within your home.
  • Be aware of what social media your child is using and the channels they are watching.
  • If possible, watch with your child so that you are there to explain any questions they may have or to mitigate inappropriate content.
  • Talk through information that they may find disturbing.

The message also noted a helpful resource is a website created by Canadian pediatricians called Caring for Kids.

“The safety of students and staff in our district is paramount,” the email read. “If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your school principal.”

READ MORE: Police forces warn of risks around online ‘Momo Challenge’

Darren Laur, an internet and social media safety advocate with the West Shore-based company The White Hatter said the challenge is a hoax. He said there were reports of children harming themselves and dying as a result of the challenge but in reality, that isn’t the case.

However, Laur said the images and messages from the challenge can be frightening for children. Laur noted this challenge can be used as a teachable moment for parents to educate their kids about online safety.

“Let’s enlighten not frighten,” Laur said. “It comes down to education but in order to do that parents need to know the information.”

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Young cyclist struck near Galloping Goose Trail

Minor injuries reported by police

New Coast Guard ship crashes into Ogden Point breakwater

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

The shores will not rock in 2019

Atomique Productions announce Rock the Shores festival will not return in 2019, future is uncertain

Video shows logging operation on disputed Saturna Island land

Tsawout First Nation members opposed to logging on reserve land

Family still searching for missing Langford man two weeks after disappearance

Family hopeful he is alive, offering $10,000 reward

VIDEO: Keeping the hope alive, 28 years later

Annual Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run raised money for Child Find B.C.

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says future assembly deliberations won’t be closed to public

Reversal comes after Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff raised concerns

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Most Read