E-Safety Warning – Momo Challenge

Please can parents be vigilant regarding the Momo challenge which is currently popping up on on social media, youTube, Minecraft and Whatsapp.

Our website contains extensive information and guidance to help students stay safe online.

As with any E-Safety concern you can make a report through CEOP

The below has been taken from online resources.

The Momo Challenge the Facts:

What it is Coined the “suicide challenge”, Momo is a viral game that encourages players to perform a series of challenges in order to meet ‘Mother Bird’ – a disfigured character (inspired by Japanese art) with bulging eyes and untidy black hair on a chicken-like body.

Light-hearted and fun at the outset, this game experience quickly darkens, absorbing players who are encouraged to perform acts of violence and self-harm through a series of progressively risky challenges.

Why it’s on our radar?

The challenges issued in this game present a serious risk to the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people, as does the distressing content when a player refuses to carry on.

With worrying similarities to the ‘Blue Whale challenge’, it has also been linked to cases of childhood suicide.

The low down

  • Players are encouraged to contact Momo and provide their mobile number.
  • They will then receive instructions to perform a series of challenges, via SMS or Whatsapp.
  • Player refusal can trigger severely abusive messaging and their mobile device being hacked.
  • The final challenge is to commit suicide in order to meet ‘Mother Bird’.

Why children like it?

Sharing and commentary on Social Media platforms has created a level of intrigue and curiosity about this game, which is initially light hearted and fun.

Fundamentally, however, this is a game that targets vulnerable children and young people online, as those with mental health issues are more likely to be drawn to the psychological nature of the challenges.

What to do?

A person doesn’t have to be searching for Momo themselves to be exposed to it and, unlike other games that children enjoy, there is no positive side to this.

Teachers and parents need to educate/reinforce online safety, and in this way encourage children and young people to make the right choice and avoid this game:

  • The importance of confidently saying “no” to invitations to play games from strangers
  • Knowing why they should not click on unidentified links.
  • Knowing how to ‘block’ unknown numbers and friend requests.

e-Safety – The ‘Honesty’ App

We would like to make you aware of a new app and website called ‘Sarahah’.

What is Sarahah?

  • An app and website that allows users to send and receive anonymous messages.
  • Users cannot respond to messages but they can “favourite” messages.
  • By default, anyone can leave a message on a profile even if they don’t have an account.
  • Now in the top 20 free apps meaning more people are downloading the app

Why are we posting about this?

  • The Sarahah app has become popular amongst teens and we’re aware that some of our students are already actively using it.
  • The app promotes anonymity – making teens feel like they can hide behind their anonymous screen names and bully others without repercussions.
  • Sarahah is predominantly used to bully other users.
  • There is no filter for explicit content.
  • There is no way to report inappropriate content or threats.

What can parents do?

  • We would advise parents to discuss the dangers of anonymous apps and have their child delete their Sarahah account (if they use Sarahah).
  • Students can link their Sarahah account with their Snapchat account, we advise your child not to do this.
  • Ensure your child knows what is appropriate to send in private and public messages, whether they are anonymous or not
  • If your child has a desire to use apps like Sarahah, please challenge them to give positive and constructive feedback offline instead.

A full video guide covering all aspects of Sarahah can be found below:

As a school we do cover many aspects of anonymity, appropriate online behaviour and social networks in our regular e-safety assemblies and lessons.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding e-safety please do check out our dedicated e-safety section where you can find guidance on many different websites/apps.

SNAPCHAT PRIVACY WARNING

Warning to all Parents and Students

Snapchat has just launched a new feature which lets other people find out exactly where you are at any given moment.

Snapchat say that this is an opt in feature.

Snap Map lets you share your real-time location, which can be seen on an interactive map precise enough to show not only which street you’re on, but whereabouts you are on that street too.

This is very alarming, there are many privacy and safeguarding implications of this new feature and we STRONGLY urge parents and students to turn this feature off.

How to switch off Snap Map location sharing

  • When in photo-taking mode, pinch the screen to open Snap Map
  • Touch the settings cog in the top right corner of the screen
  • Tap “Ghost Mode” to switch off location sharing
  • Photos and videos posted to Snapchat’s public ‘Our Story’ will still be discoverable on the map.