The latest internet trend is pushing children to perform violent challenges, resulting in panic, injury and, in some instances, death.
The trend, known as the “Momo Challenge,” instructs social media users to contact one of the many "Momo" accounts over Facebook, WhatsApp or other networks. The users are then challenged to accept violent instructions or be killed. The "Momo" accounts are said to urge people to perform self-harming acts, such as swallowing poison, or suicide through threats and violent imagery, according to recent reports.
“This deeply disturbing online challenge has already claimed the lives of several young people around the world,” said Senator Vin Gopal.
“Now, it has made its way to New Jersey through Facebook and social networking Apps. Parents, please be sure to speak to your children about the dangers of the ‘Momo Challenge’ and to speak up if they are feeling threatened. The ubiquitous availability of technology and social media puts our children at increased risk. It is imperative that all parents remain involved in their children’s online presence, exercise caution, and use parental controls when necessary. We cannot leave our children vulnerable to the dangers that social media can hold.”
In order to keep your child safe on social media, be sure to educate yourself about the platforms they are using, establish an age limit for using social media sites, discuss the dangers and consequences of social media, keep your computer in a common area in your home, set firm guidelines or rules, utilize parental controls, and regularly check your child’s privacy settings.