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Letter of Advice to Parents/Carers re. Momo

HAWTHORN PRIMARY SCHOOL, BIRMINGHAM
 
1st March 2019
 
Dear Parents/Carers
 
It has come to our attention that lots of children have been talking about, and even playing a game based on, Momo. Momo has been heavily linked with apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and more recently (and most worringly) …YouTube Kids.  The scary doll-like figure reportedly sends graphic violent images, and ask users to partake in dangerous challenges like waking up at random hours, and has even been associated with self-harm.  National Online Safety has put together some advice for parents which we have included in this letter.
 
What parents need to know about Momo:
 
Children’s videos being ‘hacked’ – there have been recent reports that some seemingly innocent videos on YouTube and YouTubeKids have been editied by unknown sources to include violence provoking and/or other inappropriate content .  As a parent, it is difficult to spot these videos as the harmful content doesn’t always appear until partway through the video.
 
Distressing for children – Poplular YouTubers and other accounts have been uplaoading reaction videos, showing their experience of the Momo challenge.  The image of the Momo character can be deeply distressing to children and young people and its important to note that it may slip through parental settings and filters.
 
Suggested videos on YouTube – Video apps such as YouTube include an ‘upnext’ feature which automatically starts playing another video based on the video just watched.  During research carried out it was found that when watching one Momo related video, countless other Momo themed videos and other scary content which would be age inappropriate for children under 18.
 
Top Tips For Parents:
 
Tell them its not real.   Just like any urban legend or horror story, the concept can be quite frightening and destressing for young people.  It is important to reiterate that Momo is not a real person.
 
Be present.
 
It is important for you, as a parent or carer, to be present while your children are online.  As the nature of each task becomes progressively worse it is important to recognise any changes in your child’s behaviour.
 
Talk regularly with your child.
 
As well as monitoring your child’s activity, it’s important for you to discuss it with them too.  Not only will this give you an understanding of their online actions, but those honest and frequent
 
converations will encourage your child to feel confident to discuss issues and concerns they may have related to the online world.
 
Further Support 
 
Speak to Mr Brindley, Mrs Stone, Miss Appleby or Mrs Zentani if you have any concerns regarding your child’s online activity or malicious content that could affect them.
 
If your child sees something distressing, it is important that they know where to go to seek help and who their trusted adults are.  They could also contact Childline where a trained counsellor will listen to anything that is worrying them.  The childline number is 0800 1111.
 
For further information from National Online Safety please visit their website: www.nationalonlinesafety.com or follow the link on the school website.
 
Regards
 
Miss H Appleby Acting Headteacher

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