We would like families of the Dunkirk City School District to be aware that an inappropriate Internet challenge or Internet chain letter, has been circulating once again. This Internet challenge/chain letter when searched for purports to activate a connection to something called the “Momo Challenge.” The Atlantic and several other news organizations have recently published materials regarding this challenge and exposed it as a vial hoax. This is a link to the Atlantic article.
The Momo Challenge purports to ask followers to complete a series of challenges, starting with some pretty benign tasks and then later leading up to dangerous challenges that could include self-harm and sometimes challenges of suicide. In the Momo Challenge the subscriber is threatened if they refuse or fail to complete these challenges. The whole program may be pretty frightening especially to a young person.
The current iteration of the Momo Challenge can be found through applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube. It is important for parents to note that the district's Internet content filters block access to WhatsApp and Facebook for students and uses content filtering for YouTube. While there is no absolute guarantee that students cannot find information about the Momo Challenge, every reasonable attempt is being made to protect students from inappropriate content.
Our goal is to make parents aware of the Momo Challenge, so that you are able to talk to your child(ren) about it. It is always good practice to check your child's use of the Internet while at home, as well as your child(ren)'s electronic devices frequently to review what they are viewing, downloading & searching for, and to whom they are talking. This link will take you to a flier which provides information and tips for parents provided by National Online Safety regarding the Momo Challenge.
Our goal at the Dunkirk City School District is to educate students to be informed and aware digital citizens living in the 21st Century. Although there are challenges that come along with that task, we believe that the journey is an important one to make. Partnering with parents to educate children who will become adults able to evaluate, question and understand content whether it is physical or digital, is an important learning experience. Thank you for your help in this task.