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Internet Security Issue Concerning Families

An important letter was sent out this week about an internet issue and we wished to make our families aware of. In case you did not receive it via email or see it on a post somewhere else, here is the letter. Please read it and pass it on to anyone with children using the internet. Our first and foremost concern is the safety of our families.
 
As some of you may be aware, there has been national media attention lately on a concerning internet challenge known as “The Momo Challenge”. Allegedly, “Momo” targets young children by encouraging them to send a text or message to a number using various online applications (e.g. YouTube, MineCraft, WhatsApp, etc.), which then sends them instructions to complete a series of increasingly bizarre and dangerous tasks. These tasks range from watching a horror movie, to engaging in self-harm, to taking their own lives.
 
While there are some reports that the “Momo Challenge” may be overstated, we felt that it was important to make you aware of this challenge. Additionally, given the growing media coverage, experts on mental health caution that such hysterical news coverage could be potentially harmful. It can also cause students to be fearful or anxious.
 
We encourage parents who are concerned about their kids being exposed to disturbing images like the Momo Challenge to have intentional conversations with them about what they encounter online. The school’s devices have had the term “Momo” blocked. The following are some resources that have been found to be helpful tools for families to help young learners navigate the internet, as well as families looking to parent in the digital age.
 
Family Online Safety Institute
Common Sense Media
Creating a Family Media Plan (American Academy of Pediatrics)
Teaching Kids About Internet Safety (GCFLearnFree.org)
Talking with Kids About Being Online (Federal Trade Commission)
What Parents Need to Know About Momo (National Online Safety)
 
We have shared this information with law enforcement as well. As always, if you have questions or concerns, never hesitate to contact us via email or telephone.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Waseca Public Schools Administration