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A Message to Families Regarding Viral Hoax

Posted on: March 1, 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We want to share with you some information about a viral social media challenge that has created concern in other areas of the country and the world. As we are beginning to hear more about it in our local news, and from some of our students, we want to make sure that you are aware of it as well.

Called the “Momo Challenge,” students receive anonymous messages from an imaginary character named Momo. Momo invites students to participate in a series of dares or self-harm and threatens violence if challenges are not completed.

According to news reports, the Momo Challenge is actually a hoax but is spreading by word-of-mouth via the internet. Additionally, it has been reported that children as young as 6 years old have heard of the “Momo Challenge.” Those same reports have said this challenge has been tied to cyberbullying and suicide.  Online safety experts suggest it is nothing more than a viral chain letter or ghost story. The hoax aspect seems to come from misinformation about it being embedded in YouTube videos, compounded by the misinformation being spread rampantly on social media.

Since we can never be too careful when it comes to the safety and well-being of our children, this is a timely reminder to talk with them about Internet safety and appropriate use of technology. The best way to keep your children safe online while using personal devices is to be aware of what sites they are visiting, and who they are communicating with. Rather than warning children about the challenge specifically, which may only pique their interest, families should use this opportunity to engage their children in a conversation about expectations and how to handle potential concerns. Please remind your children not to accept any messages or invitations from unknown numbers and never to click on unidentified links they may be sent.  

At the District level, we have already taken steps to block searches of the Momo Challenge and related content on District computers, laptops, and tablets, including Chromebooks. While these digital platforms are blocked on all Kings devices, individuals may still be able to access such sites through their personal devices and accounts.

Here is a resource on how to talk to your child about this and other online concerns from the Ohio Department of Education:

Here is an additional resource on how to start a conversation with your child regarding internet safety:

The safety and security of our students is our highest priority.  Thank you for your partnership at home as we all work together to keep our children safe!

If you have any concerns, please contact your child’s guidance counselor.