An Important Message from the Director of Technology and Innovation (Momo Challenge)
March 1, 2019
Dear Parents and Guardians,
There is a current social media phenomenon targeted at children and adolescents called the “Momo Challenge,” which is raising great concern among parents and educators across the country. I am writing this letter to inform you of this alarming trend, explain how the school is ensuring the digital safety of your child(ren), as well as provide you with some helpful resources to reinforce digital safety at home.
The Momo Challenge presents itself through various social media outlets, including Facebook and WhatsApp. It presents as a disturbing avatar that challenges children to perform a series of tasks, starting small and escalating into more grandiose acts, many of which are dangerous and violent in nature, including suicide. The “Momo” allegedly asks for photo proof that tasks are completed and also makes alleged threats if tasks are not performed. The Momo does not discriminate by age. There is a plethora of information available on the Internet regarding the Momo Challenge, all of which can be easily accessed through a simple search.
The Morris Plains School District takes very seriously the digital safety of our students. While we have very stringent content filters and a firewall in place, the Internet is never a completely safe environment. Our staff have all been trained on appropriate supervision when students are on devices, as well as previewing content prior to exposing students. We continue to educate our students on having awareness and making good decisions with regard to digital safety, as well as, positive digital citizenship. On Friday, March 1st, Mr. Kramar, Mrs. Lion-Bailey, Mr. Wilson, and Officer Dave presented to the Borough School students with reminders of how to maintain digital safety, both in school and out of school. Additionally, Mrs. Lion-Bailey will be working with the iLab teacher at Mountain Way to provide the Mountain Way students with age appropriate reminders about safe practices when on a device, during their regularly scheduled classes the week of March 4th..
In addition to the efforts made in the school environment, we ask that parents/guardians also reinforce digital safety with their children, as well as, encourage vigilance when children are on devices in the home. There are links provided below that can assist with talking points for discussing this sensitive topic with your child(ren).
Thank you for taking the time to read this communication as we all work together to ensure the safety of the children.
Director of Technology & Innovation