Boards take dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to ‘Momo’

The Glengarry News - - News - BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL News Staff

The four lo­cal school boards are di­vided on how to han­dle the on­line “Momo Chal­lenge” hoax al­legedly tar­get­ing chil­dren around the world.

The Up­per Canada District School Board (UCDSB) posted the fol­low­ing on its Face­book page last Thurs­day (Fe­bru­ary 28) af­ter­noon:

“We want our UCDSB fam­i­lies to know that we are aware of re­ports re­gard­ing the ‘ Momo Chal­lenge.’ We un­der­stand that the ‘Momo Chal­lenge’ cen­tres on claims that a mys­te­ri­ous char­ac­ter is us­ing so­cial me­dia net­works to en­cour­age chil­dren to do dan­ger­ous and self-harm­ing acts,” the post reads.

“This re­cent vi­ral chal­lenge is al­ready be­ing dis­pelled as a hoax by re­li­able news sources and so­cial me­dia plat­forms. How­ever, this presents a timely op­por­tu­nity to re-visit In­ter­net safety with your child or teen.”

And while the UCDSB con­curs that ‘Momo’ is ap­par­ently not a le­git­i­mate threat, it pro­vides links on its Face­book page to a trio of on­line In­ter­net safety re­sources: the Canada Safety Coun­cil, Pub­lic Safety Canada, and Kids Help Phone.

Mean­while, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern On­tario (CDSBEO), in its own Face­book mes­sage posted last Thurs­day even­ing, took a dif­fer­ent tack.

“The CDSBEO is work­ing with the OPP to in­form and ed­u­cate par­ents about a very dis­turb­ing vi­ral In­ter­net chal­lenge known as the ‘MOMO Chal­lenge,’” it reads.

“This chal­lenge has been cir­cu­lat­ing on the In­ter­net and en­cour­ages chil­dren to en­gage in dan­ger­ous and po­ten­tially harm­ful be­hav­iour, to them­selves or oth­ers. Stu­dents may be­come very dis­tressed or fright­ened by en­coun­ter­ing this chal­lenge on­line or hear­ing dis­cus­sion of it from their peers.”

Be­neath the post, par­ents and care­givers “are en­cour­aged” to visit a Na­tional On­line Safety web­page en­ti­tled ‘ MOMO Chal­lenge Guide for Par­ents.’

Both the Con­seil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'On­tario (CEPEO) and the Con­seil sco­laire de district catholique de l'Est on­tarien (CSDCEO) had yet to post any­thing re­gard­ing the “Momo Chal­lenge”on their re­spec­tive Face­book pages as of press time.

The “Momo Chal­lenge” – which orig­i­nally sur­faced late last sum­mer – is an al­leged form of cy­ber­bul­ly­ing which is said to be spread through mes­sages sent to chil­dren over var­i­ous so­cial me­dia ser­vices and in YouTube videos for pop­u­lar kids pro­gram­ming such as Peppa Pig.

In these mes­sages, chil­dren are pur­port­edly threat­ened by “Momo” – an alien-like woman with bulging eyes, an eerie stretched smile, and strag­gly hair.

World­wide fright

“Momo” re­port­edly forces chil­dren to un­der­take dan­ger­ous tasks – up to and in­clud­ing self­harm and sui­cide – by threat­en­ing them with vi­o­lence, ei­ther against the child him­self or her­self, their fam­ily mem­bers, friends, or pets.

And while word of the “Momo Chal­lenge,” cour­tesy of the power of the In­ter­net, has spread world­wide, there have been no of­fi­cially-con­firmed deaths or in­juries linked to the hoax thus far.

As for Momo her­self, the im­age is ac­tu­ally of a piece of art, en­ti­tled Mother Bird, cre­ated by a Ja­panese spe­cial ef­fects com­pany for a hor­ror art ex­hibit in Tokyo in 2016.

CHILL­ING: The “Momo Chal­lenge” has freaked some peo­ple out.

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