You may have seen in the national press recently an incredibly worrying report about a new self-harming and 'suicide game' called Momo, which targets children through WhatsApp, and other well-known current social media platforms & games (including You Tube & You Tube Kids) called 'The Momo Challenge'.This game/challenge has been linked to child deaths abroad, and would appear to now be a craze in the UK, targeting children as young as 7 years old up to and including teenagers.
In the 'game' Momo entices children to self-harm and to harm others, not to tell parents/adults, and sends, via a WhatsApp account, pictures and instructions how to carry out the harm to themselves and others, along with a threat of a curse on them /death of their family if they fail to carry out her instructions. Momo becomes a saved contact in the WhatsApp list with a contact photo (see below image) The other concern with regards to this is that children's personal information is being targeted and collected by those responsible and behind the 'game'.
Please take a few minutes to look at the link below to familiarise yourself with the information. Below are pictures of what Momo looks like. There are a number of various news reports online about this from around the UK and abroad – we have included just one of several links that can be found online in relation to this for further reading.
Momo Momo Mother Bird
Our children's safety whether in the real world or in their online world continues to be of paramount importance. The potential harm that children can be exposed to online from a range of games or social media contact is an ongoing challenge which requires constant monitoring and vigilance by us all.
The NSPCC has a wealth of online support available for parents to be able to have the confidence to know what to look out for, how to set up controls on all devices, and how to start those conversations at home with your child about keeping safe online, and what to do if your child is unsafe online
- NSPCC Advisors for online controls guidance – 0800 800 5002 or visit an O2 (NSPCC partnership) store for assistance in person, who can set up parent controls for you.
- Visit www.net-aware.org.uk the UK's only parental guide to social media and gaming apps.
If you need further advice or support regarding this please do not hesitate to contact us.
The Year 5 team