March 4, 2019
I would like to take a moment and speak to you about reports of a viral challenge or meme called “Momo” or the “Momo Challenge” that may appear in the form of video clips on the Internet and social media, and may target younger children. These Momo videos feature an odd bird-like creature that is said to encourage self-harm and suicide. News reports indicate the Momo creature has been seen on Facebook, YouTube, and in popular video games such as Fortnite. If players fail to complete certain challenges in the game, they may receive threatening messages from the Momo avatar. At the same time, other news media are branding these Momo reports a hoax and suggest there is no reason for concern.
At this time, our Technology Department is using its Internet filtering software to block any inappropriate media related to Momo, and students are prevented from searching the topic. Additionally, counselors and administrative personnel are always available at our schools to address student concerns regarding this issue.
As a parent you may choose to discuss with your children whether they have seen anything scary on their devices. I ask that you encourage them to speak with you or another trusted adult about what they’ve seen. Even those who may not have seen the challenge may be impacted by conversations with peers. If a student is concerned about this challenge, remind them that “Momo” is not real. You as a parent may also view this as an opportunity to have a discussion with your child that they should tell their parents, guardian or another trusted adult if they come into contact with content on the Internet that concerns them.
The following websites/articles may also be helpful to review:
• Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org
• Safe Search Kids https://www.safesearchkids.com
• National Online Safety https://nationalonlinesafety.com/resources/platform-guides/
• Media Guidelines for Kids of All Ages
Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at (518) 943-4696 if you have any questions or concerns.
Dr. Ronel Cook
Superintendent of Schools