Message from Mr. Geary
Students at increasingly younger ages have access to the internet via phones and computers at home and school. Often, today's parents are faced with situations many of us didn't have to navigate. In the interest of providing parents current information, I wanted you all to have another resource to help you as you teach your children digital citizenship. This information was provided by our ESU (Educational Service Unit). If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.
The viral social media hoax…. The “Momo Challenge”, or the “Momo Suicide Challenge”, is sweeping the nation again. This “challenge” encourages kids to hurt others, themselves, and eventually to take their own lives….and now it has hit Nebraska. See the article below in the Lincoln JournalStar.
most say this is a hoax, but to your concerned parents it is again the opportunity to urge them to know what their children are doing online. Below are some things I found that should be shared with parents.
What can parents do?
Talk to your kids about the Momo Challenge. Ask them if they know what it is. Have they heard of it? Have they tried it? If they don’t know about it, share the dangers associated with the challenge. Discuss a plan that includes what they can do if they receive a message with the Momo Challenge.
Check your child’s phone/ Ipod/computer regularly. The Momo challenge is not the first challenge to encourage kids to participate in dangerous activities (the Slenderman and the Bluewhale challenge are similar challenges that were popular several years ago), and it will not be the last. If your child or teen is engaging in the Momo Challenge, or any other similar challenge, they will probably not volunteer that information to you. Remember you are your child’s greatest protector and you have every right to know the apps your child is using and have every right to check their electronic devices.
Take social media seriously, do not downplay its power in our kids lives. Social media can be a means of building friendships and connecting but it is also where most of our kids are bullied, lose confidence, feel isolated, and are exposed to porn and other unhealthy media. Even if they aren’t sure what the Momo Challenge is, they may come upon this in the future, or other bizarre or dangerous “challenges.” Educating our kids will empower them to stay away from challenges such as this, and even encourage them to help their friends.
Keep your relationship with your kids strong and solid. Spend time with them daily, allow them to talk with you about their interests, their friends and their fears. Keep the flow of communication open and consistent. Make sure they know and feel how much you love them.
Have a social media contract with your kids! If your child is on social media, they need guidance and accountability. Knowing what is appropriate to share, what photos to post, and how to respond to other’s social media postings takes practice–and parents are the right people to set an example and teach their kids. Check out our free, downloadable ebook: Social Media and Teens: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Kids Safe Online. It includes a social media contract at the end!
Need help talking to your kids about bullying? Read Giving a Voice to Bullying Victims. or 5 Ways to Become a More Media-Savvy Parent so you can know what to say when the next social media challenge comes.