I would like to alert you to an alarming social media challenge targeting children and young adults called the “Momo Challenge.” It is a game found on platforms including Facebook and the app WhatsApp. It has also made a recent appearance in popular kid shows on YouTube such as Peppa Pig and Fortnite videos. It features a frightening avatar who asks its viewers to follow a series of challenges, some of which involve self-harm or suicide. The avatar reportedly threatens viewers who do not follow the game’s orders and encourages them not to tell anyone about the challenge.
Much of this story is not real, as the numbers for initial contact listed on various Google sites do not work. Though this is more of a hoax than a reality, the viral content being shared on social media, including a photo of a young girl with bird-like features, has caused a panic with many elementary-aged students around the country. We have looked into blocking access to searches related to this content at our school, but it is not possible.
We encourage our parents to be aware that similar games and/or challenges are continuously hitting the Internet, and most cyberbullying takes place away from school. Parents should also be aware that young people sometimes do not report upsetting online interactions for fear that they will be barred from using the Internet.
We felt sharing this information with you was important as the safety and well-being of our students is a top priority. New York State has put together a webpage with a number of resources to assist you in guiding your children to appropriately use technology and the Internet: https://its.ny.gov/keeping-kids-safe.
If you would like to better inform yourself on this topic, please read this article:
If you have questions or concerns, please contact your child’s principal and/or school counselor.
Ken Facin, School Superintendent
Patrick J. Dailey, Jr./Sr. High School Principal
Amy Netti, Elementary Principal