Parent Letter About Internet Hoax

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We are writing to inform you of the internet hoax called “The Momo Challenge” which has created a disturbance for many of our students.

The Momo Challenge is said to begin by searching for a special phone number and texting it on the WhatsApp application. In the conversation, children are sent disturbing images and may be encouraged to wake up at certain times, or even cause self-harm or suicide. It is also said to be on YouTube.

Much of this story is not real, as the numbers for initial contact listed on various Google sites do not work. Though this is more of a hoax than a reality, the viral content being shared on social media, including a photo of a young girl with bird-like features, has caused panic with many elementary-aged students around the country.

We encourage our parents to be aware that similar games and/or challenges are continuously hitting the Internet, and most cyberbullying takes place away from school.

Because we know that many of our students have been searching for this content online and find upsetting material associated with it, we strongly encourage you to talk to your child about this, as well as social media use in general.  Parents should be aware that young people sometimes do not report upsetting online interactions for fear that they will be barred from using the Internet.

Please also know that any child experiencing bullying or upsetting behavior online can seek help by reporting it to any staff member.

We felt sharing this information with you was important as the safety and well-being of our students is a top priority.

If you would like to better inform yourself on this topic, please visit these two articles:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/andyrobertson/2019/02/27/dont-panic-what-parents-really-need-to-know-about-momo-challenge/#6b88a18c3a4b

https://www.snopes.com/news/2019/02/26/momo-challenge-suicide-game/