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Momo Challenge

The Momo challenge: what parents need to know


The “Momo challenge” is hitting the headlines, and media reports are causing concerns for parents. This is what parents need to know, and what you can do to protect your child.

What is the Momo challenge?

Momo is a creepy doll-like figure which is said to appear in social media, videos and games online, encouraging children to add a contact on WhatsApp. It then sends them violent images and dangerous dares. Media reports have linked the Momo challenge to self-harm and suicide. However, there are relatively few reports of children having participated in the challenge, and it’s unclear the extent of the concern. What’s clear is that a lot of people are worried about it, but instances of harm seem very rare.

Protecting your child

Setting age-appropriate boundaries is important. Younger children should not be using social networking and chat apps at all, and should be supervised when watching videos on sites like YouTube. With older children, it may be appropriate for them to use social media and WhatsApp to talk to their friends, although their networks should be private and they should avoid talking to people they don’t know. Children of any age should be very cautious about adding anyone they don't know to their networks.

Have open conversations about online safety, and let your child know they can come to you if they see anything that upsets or worries them. Read Protecting Your Child Online page for more advice about exploring online safety with your child.

Report any Momo-related content to the platform (e.g. YouTube, Instagram).

Teach your child what it means to be assertive and explore saying no to doing things they don't want to do - whether face to face or online.

Overall, be calm and reassuring. Momo may be frightening to children, in particular younger children. Memes like the Momo challenge draw their power from fear, so make sure your children see that you’re not scared of Momo, and it’s a problem you can solve together.