Safety Net: The Momo Challenge
What is The Momo Challenge?
The Momo challenge is the latest in a series of online challenges that can emerge and cause enormous concern. Sometimes the challenges are more myth than reality, but this does not always reduce the worry.
The Momo character is the face of a young woman with exaggerated features attached to a bird’s body which was, in fact, a prop named ‘Mother Bird’ made in Japan three years ago for an art exhibition. The sinister stretched features make for a disturbing image that could easily upset or worry a younger child. The Momo challenge is allegedly ‘played’ over WhatsApp and now various other forms of media including YouTube (allegedly). The character asks would-be participants to contact ‘her’ and do a series of challenges - the final challenge being suicide.
The evidence for this behaviour happening is limited and there isn’t much evidence of a child actually being harmed. What seems to be happening is that the image is spreading and gaining traction because people are using the image in their profiles.
What SHOULD PARENTS DO?
Safety Net have produced a very helpful guide to inform parents what they can do and how to discuss this subject with their child (please see below). We would encourage all parents to check if their child has encountered this challenge, however introducing the idea of the Momo challenge to a child who isn’t familiar with it might lead them to investigate. The best way to start is to ask a general question about whether they have seen anything online that has upset or worried them, this can open up the conversation to other forms of internet safety to ensure your child is secure online and comfortable to speak up if they have any worries.
If you have any concerns regarding the Momo Challenge or for your child's safety, please follow the guidance provided and inform the school who will pass these onto our safeguarding officer. Please call the main office 01273 691191 or email your concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org