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Warning: Online Self-Harm Challenge Hoax

Post Date:02/28/2019 10:04 AM

Warning: Online Self-Harm Challenge Hoax

Read the Summary Flier about the Hoax

MOMO-Online-Safety-Guide-for-Parents-FEB-2019[2]We are aware of the concerns circulating on all social media channels referencing “Self-Harm” or “Suicide Challenges.” These have not been verified as actual events. Student safety remains our number one priority.

Regardless of the validity of these viral trends, it is important to remind students that if they see disturbing content, they should report it immediately to an adult without fear of repercussions. 

The challenges seem to originate overseas and then make international news initially. The reports suggest the characters and/or images infiltrate popular media programs such as YouTube, YouTube Kids, Splatoon, interactive video games such as Fortnite, and apps such as WhatsApp. 

A rumored challenge includes the character “Momo,” who appears harmless until explicit threats are made that instruct children to commit high-risk acts that can place themselves and/or others in danger—including suicide. This is a great reminder to keep our students safe online.

Most importantly, those impersonating the character tell the child to tell no one of the challenge. The vast amounts of content on the internet make it difficult for law enforcement officials to pin down the origin of these challenges. 

We ask you to partner with us to have critical conversations with your children about internet safety and security. Please discuss with your students the dangers of playing online games like “Momo Challenge” or the “Blue Whale Challenge.” 

Please explain to your children that games like these may seem harmless at first, but that they should be wary of any online experience that requires them to interact with people they do not know.

Please be warned that some of the images and stories related to this topic may be disturbing. You can learn more about the "Momo Challenge" by visiting this link.

Below are links that may be helpful in home discussions that help ensure your child’s Cyber Safety.
1. Common Sense Media
2. Media Guidelines for All Kids of All Ages 
3. Safe Search Kids

At school, we offer lessons and technology to help keep students safe online. MUSD enables teachers to deliver Digital Citizenship lessons with content from Common Sense Media. Some of the topics students cover are identity theft, safe searches, privacy, cyberbullying, and appropriate communication. Additionally, MUSD has firewalls set up that block many non-educational websites.

Your supervision and involvement in your student’s online activities is critical to keeping them safe as they grow and learn to be responsible online citizens. Please don’t hesitate to contact your principal with questions. 

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