The Momo Challenge is a giant viral Internet hoax game which is supposedly circulating online via social media and online chat sites such as Whats App. It shows a picture of a demonic chicken-lady called Momo that is scaring children, who are apparently encouraged to follow links to sites which encourage self-harming which at worst could lead to suicide.
If children do ask about it, try to keep very calm and tell them there is nothing to worry about. They will not encounter it as it is a hoax from people trying to get their private information! This is yet another scam to be aware of. The less of a deal that is made of it in school, the better as children react to their adults’ response!
Commonsense media says: “Though some articles mention reports of kids actually harming or killing themselves as a result of the challenge, they are unsubstantiated. Some reports indicate it’s actually a way for hackers to get access to devices, which poses a whole separate set of risks.”
The BBC website link below offers a brief overview of this hoax, along with some useful general online safety messages:
Online Safety Resources
Getsafe Online has loads of free online safety resources
Think You Know has lots of resources for use in the classroom
BBC – How can I keep my kids safe online? This site has advice for parents
The NetSafe videos may help explain to children how and why hoaxes happen; it certainly serves as a reminder about keeping safe on the Internet for the young.
Safety Net Kids has a list of dos and don’ts
It may be that by scaring children and young people to follow the links, hackers are just trying to access information; however, the Momo Challenge is a scary idea for children and, like monsters under the bed, it needs calm explanations and patience to deal with it.