(Black Press file photo)

SD62 encouraging parents to talk about online safety in light of Momo Challenge

Disturbing online challenge instructs participants to perform dangerous tasks

The Sooke School District is encouraging parents to talk with their children about online safety following reports of a disturbing social media challenge that encourages participants to do dangerous things.

On Feb. 27, SD62 sent out an email to parents and guardians, on behalf of superintendent Scott Stinson, to make them aware of the Momo Challenge.

The Momo Challenge involves participants receiving social media invitations on platforms such as WhatsApp and Snapchat to message an account called Momo. The account is linked to an image of a doll with long black hair, large eyes and a scary-looking smile.

READ MORE: Disturbing Momo Challenge a ‘teachable moment’ social media expert says

The account may send disturbing images and instructions for different tasks that need to be complete along with threats about what will happen if the tasks are not carried out.

Participants can receive the invitation through seemingly child-friendly videos and video games.

“Teachers will remind students about the importance of online safety and to always talk to an adult if they see anything that concerns them,” the email said. “We encourage you to take this opportunity to talk with your child about online safety and screen time.”

The email also offered the following tips to parents:

  • Limit screen/device time for your child. One hour maximum for ages two to seven and two hours maximum for ages seven and up.
  • Create screen-free times and zones within your home.
  • Be aware of what social media your child is using and the channels they are watching.
  • If possible, watch with your child so that you are there to explain any questions they may have or to mitigate inappropriate content.
  • Talk through information that they may find disturbing.

The message also noted a helpful resource is a website created by Canadian pediatricians called Caring for Kids.

“The safety of students and staff in our district is paramount,” the email read. “If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your school principal.”

READ MORE: Police forces warn of risks around online ‘Momo Challenge’

Darren Laur, an internet and social media safety advocate with the West Shore-based company The White Hatter said the challenge is a hoax. He said there were reports of children harming themselves and dying as a result of the challenge but in reality, that isn’t the case.

However, Laur said the images and messages from the challenge can be frightening for children. Laur noted this challenge can be used as a teachable moment for parents to educate their kids about online safety.

“Let’s enlighten not frighten,” Laur said. “It comes down to education but in order to do that parents need to know the information.”

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mass-timber project in Esquimalt switches from condos to rentals

Corvette Landing will now offer rental units in the area

Improperly transporting a pet in the back of the truck can cost up to $368

Police recommend keeping all animals inside the passenger portion of the vehicle

Saanich’s Mount Douglas Park open after police investigate non-suspicious death Saturday

Saanich Police say public faces no danger following investigation

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Most Read