Informational Letter for Parents Regarding the "Momo Challenge"
We wanted to take a moment to reach out to you. The Glassboro School District and schools throughout the country have become aware of a concerning social media “challenge” targeting children and young adults, referred to as the “Momo Challenge.” This “Challenge” may trace back to the summer months, but is apparently gaining some traction again as children are talking about it likely in response to various news agencies, both locally and nationally, delivering recent reports on it. This week, as local and national news outlets have reported on the challenge, we did have some students speaking about it, and a few have approached staff members asking about it. We don’t have any confirmed reports that any of our students have been specifically targeted, but we are monitoring the situation. Communication with the county prosecutor’s office – cybercrimes division – has revealed that while there have been no reported cases of attempts to access children in our county, they are certainly aware of it and are monitoring it. Regardless, all agree it is important to ensure our staff and parents are aware of this potentially dangerous social media trend.
The ”Momo Challenge” encourages children to commit progressively more dangerous acts, engaging and threatening children through social media and video games, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Minecraft. Media outlets have also reported that the hackers behind it are attempting to access children through Fortnight videos, YouTube, and YouTubeKids. The "Momo Challenge" begins with a text and or call that requests the recipient to perform small tasks which rapidly escalates to more serious violent acts, including self-inflicted harm and or harm to others, all while demanding photographs or videos for proof of completion.
We of course will continue to monitor student use of technology. We do have an extremely effective internet filtering system. That said, there is always the chance that students encounter something on their own home devices. If you hear students talking about the Momo Challenge, please address the dangers if you feel comfortable. Please also do not hesitate to reach out to us as well.
Here are links link to recent articles and news reports on the challenge that will help you further inform yourself so that you are fully aware of what to look for as you monitor your child’s internet and/or social media use:
We remain committed to the safety and security of all students and staff. Thank you for taking the time to read this information.
Dr. Mark J. Silverstein
Superintent, Glassboro Public School District