The "Momo Challenge" is a form of cyberbullying that spreads through social media and phones mostly using Whatsapp. Phone users are enticed to contact a user named "Momo" through WhatsApp, they receive graphic threats from the user and are instructed to perform a series of dangerous tasks. Despite claims that the phenomenon was reaching worldwide proportions in July 2018, the number of actual complaints is relatively small and no police force has confirmed anyone was actually harmed. The UK Safer internet centre has been aware of this as an issue for UK schools over the last couple of months and is very cautious about giving any publicity to the challenge.
The details of this are once again circulating on social media, and well-meaning parents are adding to the oxygen of publicity. We would encourage schools not to draw additional attention to this. The attached letter explains broadly how to manage online safety issues and deliberately does not mention the full name of the challenge.
Snapchat has developed a new feature called Snapmaps which allows users to see the location of other users of snapchat. There are three possible settings, sharing with no-one (Ghost Mode), sharing with select friends (choose which friends you share your location with) and my friends (share your location with all your friends). Many children have a large number of “friends” on their accounts who they probably do not know well, and could be accidentally sharing their location.
Schools will want to encourage parents to check their child’s privacy settings if they allow their child to use Snapchat.
Full details are provide in the UK Safer Internet centre blog at: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/blog/introducing-%E2%80%98snap-maps%E2%80%99-new-location-sharing-feature-snapchat
A summary of the risks posed is shown below:-
Dangers for kids:
Safer Internet Day took place on Tuesday 5th February 2019 this year.
Children love to play video games, but there are some risks involved. The two main areas of concern are
The PEGI ratings should help you decide what is appropriate for your child:
The adult classification is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it becomes a depiction of gross violence and/or includes elements of specific types of violence. Gross violence is the most difficult to define since it can be very subjective in many cases, but in general terms it can be classed as the depictions of violence that would make the viewer feel a sense of revulsion
This rating is applied once the depiction of violence (or sexual activity) reaches a stage that looks the same as would be expected in real life. More extreme bad language, the concept of the use of tobacco and drugs and the depiction of criminal activities can be content of games that are rated 16.
Videogames that show violence of a slightly more graphic nature towards fantasy character and/or non graphic violence towards human-looking characters or recognisable animals, as well as videogames that show nudity of a slightly more graphic nature would fall in this age category. Any bad language in this category must be mild and fall short of sexual expletives.
Further advice is available from www.askaboutgames.com which will also provide advice on setting parental controls on games consoles to help ensure that play is safe for children.
It is also important to ask your children who they are playing with. One recent, extreme example was of a 19 year old grooming a 14 year old boy, Breck Bednar before murdering him. Most parents would want to know who their children are playing with in the real world, the same should also apply to the virtual world.