Recent Online Safety Concerns

The so called "Momo Challenge" has once again raised its head with a lot of coverage both on national media and social media in the last 2 weeks.

Two Calderdale Primary schools in the last 24 hours have raised concerns since the return from the half term break.

It might be useful to remind you what this is about and the risks to children who access Momo related information on the internet.

The Momo Challenge is a form of cyberbullying that spreads through social media and largely through the use of mobile phones. After phone users are enticed to contact a user named "Momo", they receive graphic threats from that user and are instructed to perform a series of dangerous tasks.

The Momo challenge is apparently targeted at teenagers, however recent evidence suggests many younger children have accessed it.

The challenge starts with people presenting themselves as "Momo" on a social media application " WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube. " Messages are sent to try to convince others to contact Momo using their mobile phone. "Players" are then instructed to perform a succession of often stupid and dangerous tasks and film themselves doing them as evidence.. Refusal to undertake such tasks are then met with threats and messages often accompanied by frightening images.

To represent Momo the accounts use a picture of a sculpture that originated in Japan. The image has distorted features with bulging eyes and a beak like mouth which can be particularly disturbing to children.

Momo challenges and clips are also widely circulating right now on YouTube.

To give you an idea as to the scale of social media information sharing right now. If you put all footage uploaded in just one day onto YouTube end to end it would literally take you 65 years to watch it. That equates to 400 hours of footage every minute. These numbers are simply staggering and whilst YouTube and other social media platforms do their best to keep harmful material off their platforms, it is a mammoth task supported by the user reporting such cases through the online reporting mechanism linked to that platform.

YouTube is owned by Google who recently released a press statement to the effect that: "YouTube clips that depict dangerous or emotionally distressing "pranks" have been banned from the platform."

Despite this stance there is still remains a large amount of harmful material out there.

We know that many younger children are now using apps and games linked to social media whether they hold an account or not.

Please see the links below for more information and advice

MOMO Online Safety Guide for Parents