February 27, 2019
We want to make you aware of some challenges on the Internet which are causing concern. The “Momo Challenge” is an Internet activity that may harm students who struggle with mental health challenges.
The challenge involves messages being hidden in seemingly child-friendly games and videos. The messages urge children to contact “Momo” via Snapchat, WhatsApp or another popular messaging program. The Momo accounts often feature an image of a doll with large eyes and long, black hair. A Momo-like character has also been spotted in the popular online games Minecraft and Fortnite. Once messaged, Momo may respond with disturbing images and instructions including directions for self-harm. This can be very frightening for children and also their parents.
Incidents of self-harm can increase after media portrayals of self-harm and suicide. The tips below are provided by School Mental Health Assist. In order for children to be safe and feel supported and cared for, please refer to them when talking to your children about this interactive challenge.
- Stay calm, do not overreact
- Do not bring heightened awareness to these online activities
- Listen, listen and listen
- Answer questions honestly that your child may have
- Validate that they are safe
- Encourage them to reach out to someone if Momo appears to them via the Internet
- If your child raises the topic, then talking openly and honestly about emotional distress and suicide is okay. It will not make someone more suicidal or put the idea of suicide in their mind.
- If you are concerned about someone, ask them about it.
- Knowing how to acknowledge and respond to someone who shares their thoughts of emotional distress with you is important. Don’t judge them or their thoughts.
- Be caring and kind.
If you have concerns about your child, please speak with your School Principal; or after hours or on weekends contact Kids Help Phone (www.kidshelpphone.ca or 1-800-668-6868).
Director of Education