Brick Schools issue warning about “Momo Challenge” on social media
The Brick Township Schools Superintendent sent out a letter to parents on Tuesday after concern has risen about the "Momo Challenge" found on social media which encourages people to inflict serious harm to themselves that can have fatal consequences.
It's a game on 'What's App' and encourages people to commit suicide under the instruction of "Momo" in certain cases across the world over the last few months, according to the Washington Post who cites three such instances in Argentina, Columbia and India.
There was an instance in July in Buenos Aires where a 12-year old girl was reportedly found hanging from a tree in her family's backyard, according to the Buenos Aires Times.
"The phone has been hacked to find footage and WhatsApp chats, and now the alleged adolescent with whom she exchanged those messages is being sought", Buenos Aires Police said in a statement collected by the BA Times, adding that they believe the teenager's "intention was to upload the video to social media as part of a challenged aimed at crediting the Momo game" for the suicide.
There have been other reported incidents where it's been alleged the game targets youth and gives them challenges and in some cases they've committee suicide.
An ABC affiliate in Denver, Colorado issued a report back in September as the "Momo Challenge" continued to claim lives or present dangerous challenges to users who played the game.
This brings us back to Brick Township Schools where parents and school officials are concerned that this trend has surfaced in Ocean County.
NBC New York spoke to the mother of a student and that child in Brick Township who discussed the chilling details of the game.
Here is a letter from Gerard Dalton, Superintendent of Brick Schools, to parents encouraging them to remain vigilant and keep their kids safe online.
Parents and Guardians:
A recent social media challenge directed at children and young adults, called the “Momo Challenge”, is creating concern throughout the country. Brick Township Public Schools is urging parents to become aware of this challenge and monitor their children’s use of social media and the internet.
The “Momo Challenge” can be found on Facebook and/or through the “WhatsApp” and is disturbing in nature. The communications through the “Momo Challenge” begin with a chat that asks the receiver to perform small tasks and then escalates to more serious violent acts and request photographs for proof.
The “Momo Challenge” is just one example of dangerous “games” through social media that has a negative impact on students and their social interactions. Here in the schools and for you at home, it continues to be challenging to monitor and address the ever developing and changing topics related to social media. We must consider common sense guidelines, age appropriateness and exposure from older siblings or neighbors.
The Brick Township Public Schools counselors and administrative teams will continue to provide students and parents with information to address this most recent social media and internet concern.
Please contact the counselors or administrative team of your student’s school, or go to WeTip.com on the district website with any concerns regarding this topic or any other social media/internet concerns. You can learn more about the “Momo Challenge” by visiting some of the links below.
Please be warned that some of the images and stories may be disturbing.
As the holiday season rapidly approaches and children may have more screen time on electronic devices or receive them as gifts, it is an appropriate time to consider family guidelines for appropriate use.
We ask that you consider age appropriateness for children’s use of technology, time spent on social media and overall reminders of family expectations for making good choices using their conscience.
The Brick Township Public Schools, in cooperation with the Brick Township Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office will be offering a program in the New Year to further educate our community regarding these social media and internet concerns. The location, date, and time will be published on the District website at: www.brickschools.org.
Gerard Dalton Superintendent of Schools
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