School Boards Warn of Latest Social Media Hoax: Momo Challenge

Ontario Provincial Police and several Leeds Grenville area school boards are warning about a dangerous cyber-bullying threat aimed at children.

It's called the "Momo Challenge" and parents are being urged to be vigilant about online safety. It's a disturbing image of a witch-like creature, deliberately aimed at grabbing the attention of kids.  The "Momo Challenge" as it's called popped up a few years ago and is now resurfacing, prompting school boards and police to issue warnings to parents and children.

It's a creepy figure with an even creepier message encouraging kids to harm themselves or others.

The "challenge" seems to be passed around primarily through WhatsApp but also YouTube in videos like Fortnite and Peppa the Pig.

The OPP in Eastern Ontario have issued a warning about this challenge targeting our children.

“I need for parents to be extra vigilant right now with what their kids are watching on internet,” Sgt. Ann Collins with the OPP detachment in Grenville said in an on-line video tweet. “It is asking them to do dangerous things, dangerous challenges and not to tell their parents or serious consequences could happen to the parent as well.”

Several school boards in the Eastern Ontario region are sending letters home to parents encouraging them to talk to their kids about the "Momo Challenge."

"This recent viral challenge is already being dispelled as a hoax by reliable news sources and social media platforms,” said the Upper Canada District School Board on their Facebook page. “However, this presents a timely opportunity to re-visit internet safety with your child or teen.”

The Catholic School Board of Eastern Ontario also released a statement that they too were aware of the challenge.

“Students may become very distressed or frightened by encountering this challenge online or hearing discussion of it from their peers,” said the statement on their Facebook page. “We encourage parents and caregivers to visit American National Online Safety - MOMO Challenge Guide for Parents. This resource provides information about this dangerous challenge and how to monitor and protect your child online.”

The advice from experts: know what social media apps your kids are using and monitor them.

One expert said parents need to know that it is okay to ask their kids questions about their social media usage and know not only what content they're receiving but what they're uploading, too.



- With Files From CTV Ottawa.