Momo, the social media game that targets young people on social media with violent images and dares, is in the news again. Smoothwall’s online safety experts are well aware of Momo and other ‘games’ like this and there’s no denying they are horrible and frightening.
But, watching the media coverage unfold over the last 48 hours, we believe, like many others, that the media may be at-risk of over-dramatisation and creating panic amongst parents. Sadly, there is content on YouTube equally horrific and equally accessible to children that rarely appears in the news. Hard porn, violence, shootings, to name a few. Unfortunately, Momo is not the first game of its kind and it won’t be the last.
Our advice is to take calm and practical steps to avoid your children seeing this content. These start with positive, supportive conversations with children about internet usage. Furthermore you could consider: turning off Autoplay on YouTube, ensuring contact details are hidden on What’sApp, turning on the ‘No Fill’ option within Fortnite and ensuring all settings within Xbox and PlayStation are closed.
Schools with good web filtering in place, such as Smoothwall Filter, will block this content on school computers, while Digital Monitoring, such as Smoothwall Monitor, will alert schools if children are sharing adverse feelings or reactions online, enabling them to provide reassurance and support. Whilst the media coverage of Momo has been extensive and parents are justifiably appalled and concerned, actual engagement with Momo amongst children is lower than the coverage might suggest – but vigilance is key, especially when the coverage itself might prompt children to seek out and engage with Momo even if they would otherwise not have done so.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.