Parent\Carer Updates

Momo Challenge HOAX: Advice and information

MOMO Online Safety Guide
What is MOMO: An alleged “suicide challenge” also dubbed a suicide game, Creepy Pasta, along the ilk of DOKI DOKI, Slenderman and Blue Whale.
MOMO is a spooky looking female character, a sculpture produced by a Japanese Artist Keisuke Aisawa which represents a half female, half chicken looking hybrid.
WHAT IS THE CLAIM: That children and young people will be somehow targeted, added to a Whatsapp chat or be added to  the characters WhatsApp number; these number were originally being circulated on social media, messaging application along with lots of videos on You Tube.
NOTE: Many of the original numbers associated with MOMO are now out of service, however new accounts can be set up quite quickly with any smartphone.
The numbers allegedly set various challenges to the children including staying up late, watching a series of scary videos, viewing disturbing images, ordering to hurt themselves with anything from elastic bands to hot water.
Themes also include self-harm and even committing suicide.  The challenge has allegedly (according to press) been linked with the death of a 12 year old in Argentina, however there is ZERO evidence to verify this, currently no police force anywhere in the world has confirmed a direct correlation to the “challenge” and a child’s death.
There are also additional claims which state that mobile phones can be hacked, along with MOMO themes targeting children on gaming consoles in games such as Fortnite; all of which are completely unsubstantiated.
According to UK media “MOMO REACHES BRITAINS’ SHORES” with headlines stating it has reached towns including Manchester and Leeds, covertly telling children to hurt themselves, with one mother allegedly stating to press that “her son has been asked to hold a knife to his neck”
Additionally some you tubers have caught onto the topic with someone actively contacting MOMO as part of their content to try and increase views.
Some You Tubers have also put tags and even “hidden” pictures of the MOMO character in the middle of their videos; for example; channels such as “VIDEOS FOR KIDS”, among many others, are using the tag of MOMO and pictures of MOMO while opening kinder eggs, while others having the MOMO character flash on screen, these warnings have also now gone viral on Facebook only further fuelling this hoax, some of the comments I have read on these are quite simply ridiculous.
National Online Service – Have themselves stated that they have had an increasing rise in requests for advice sheets for parents for this topic and are in the process to release this.
TOP TIPS FOR PARENTS (Please use common sense with this topic)

  • Features themes such as suicide, self-harm and haunting
  • YOUR CHILDS’ PHONE CANNOT BE HACKED
  • IS YOUR CHILD VULNERABLE?  Given the topic of self-harm and suicide and the fact that the image being circulated is a scary looking chicken lady, this may cause children upset and cause them to be scared around bedtime.
  • ASSURE THEM – Parents need to explain that this topic started as a way to cause alarm to children and while the topic is upsetting we should not be alarmed over the sensational headlines
  • WHATSAPP age restriction is 16, no responsibility cannot be passed to Facebook (the current owners of WhatsApp) if your child is using the app under this age
  • COPY CATS It is now an increasing possibility that copycats will want to replicate the sensationalised headlines and set up new MOMO numbers and try chat with children to try scare them, it is important that children are equipped with the resilience to report this type of content to parents immediately and block any numbers associated with this content.
  • YOU TUBE KIDS and RESTRICTED MODE – Encourage children to only use You Tube kids to help restrict flagged videos with this content
  • FLAG VIDEOS – any videos you notice which contain MOMO content, flag them as potentially harmful or dangerous acts.

You Tube will take these reports seriously and will increases the possibility they will be removed as viewable from You Tube kids or restricted view.

  • MONITORING SOFTWARE – The most reliable way for parents to monitor what children are doing is downloading monitoring software such as QUSTODIO, these applications allow for children’s devices from their own smartphones.
  • OPEN DIALOGUE and FAMILY AGREEMENTS – There is no substitute for open discussion, a good family agreement (attached) is essential in the family home to ensure that children understand what family expectations are in terms of keeping safe online. 

If you have any concerns please contact the school pastoral team, (Headstart) or CEOP on the link below.


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Child Sexual Offending Snapchat Story
Dear Parents,

You may have seen news coverage in the last few days about the increased threat of sexual offending via Live streaming apps. As well as directing you to our new resources on Live Streaming #LiveSkills that can be used to educate children, young people, parents and carers about Live streaming, it was important that we address the behaviour of sharing images and videos of sexual abuse.

This week, CEOP received an unprecedented number of reports about a sexual abuse video, involving two children, which has gone ‘viral’. We hope you understand that for the purposes of the ongoing safeguarding for the children involved, we are unable to release specifics about the content in the video, however we can inform you that the children are safe and that a man has been arrested and charged with several offences in connection with this incident.

The advice from police in relation to this video is that if children and young people receive it on any social media platform, they should delete it immediately and tell a trusted adult – a teacher or parent for example.

It is really important that they understand that if they show this video to someone else or forward it on to other people, they could be committing a crime and we want to stop that happening. The police have been clear that they do not want to criminalise children and that children won’t be in trouble if they’ve made a genuine mistake.

For professionals and parents finding out that images and videos of abuse are being circulated by young people and adults on social media, it can be a stressful time and difficult to know what course of action to take immediately. Here are some clear steps to take and important things to remember.

  1. Please never share a video or image depicting any kind of abuse involving children
  2. Each time a video or image of abuse is shared it re-victimises the child and increases the likelihood of blackmail, feelings of self-blame and powerlessness
  3. Report it to the platform it has been shared on e.g YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc
  4. Report it to CEOP if it is an image or video of sexual abuse involving a child with a link to where the video or image is hosted e.g YouTube, Facebook.
  5. If it’s not on a public platform and in only exists on a device ie. Phone, tablet. Once reported, with authorisation of CEOP or the Police, delete it from the device it has been sent to (if offender usernames are visible make note of them)
  6. Encourage other people to report if it is being shared publicly

If you work in a school or college and are concerned about what to do with peer to peer sharing of sexual images or videos you can refer to the ‘Sexting in schools and colleges guidance’
If a parent or carer is worried about a child seeing inappropriate things online Thinkuknow/parents has more information.
If you have any concerns please contact the school pastoral team, (Headstart) or CEOP on the link below.


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Live Streaming Apps
Dear Parents,
The BBC announced this morning that the police have warned Live Streaming is an ‘urgent threat’ to the exploitation of children.
Those that are not aware, Children can now broadcast themselves from anywhere in the world at the click of a button, to anywhere in the world for free using the device in their pocket.
I have attached the ‘Guide to Live Streaming Apps’ from INEQE h2b Safer Team to this notification with the trending apps used in the facilitation of this service.
Live Streaming Guidelines
If you have any concerns please contact the school pastoral team, (Headstart) or CEOP on the link below.


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Snapchat
Dear Parents,
Please find information and guidelines about Snapchat, supplied by ThinkYouKnow
Snapchat Guidlines 
If you have any concerns please contact the school pastoral team, (Headstart) or CEOP on the link below.