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Addressing the Momo Challenge hoax

Barringer Road and Fisher elementary schools sent the following home to parents in response to growing concerns over the “Momo Challenge.”

March 1, 2019

Dear Parent,

We are writing you to inform you of an issue that is arising in schools across the country.

Local and national media outlets are reporting about the “Momo Challenge.” Although experts state the challenge is an internet hoax, rumors are spreading and creating concern for our students at Central Valley.

The rumors claim that a bizarre video clip pops up in normal online apps such as YouTube, Facebook, and Fortnite. The challenge supposedly encourages viewers to harm themselves or others. Rumors claim that sophisticated technology can lead children to believe the message specifically targets them.

Most concerning is that conversations about Momo among students have led them to talk about suicide, violence and other morbid topics in school. Our guidance staff spoke to students on Friday to ease concerns. We have also taken steps to tighten our computer network to minimize any chance of this or a similar video reaching children in school.

What you can do

This incident is a reminder that parents and educators share an important role in keeping children safe online. Four simple rules are:
• Remind children to never contact strangers online
• Enable privacy settings on your computer
• Monitor children’s internet use
• Keep electronics in shared spaces.

We all want the best for our communities’ children. Join us in our efforts to protect them.

Sincerely,

Jeremy M Rich
Superintendent of Schools

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