March 1, 2019
Dear Fullerton Families,
As the staff of your Fullerton School District, we take great pride in protecting our students. As you may have heard recently in the news or online an “Internet Challenge” called the Momo challenge has resurfaced recently. Conflicting reports suggest that this could be a hoax, but as a district we like to be as cautious as we can with student safety. This “challenge” can reportedly induce children to commit self-harm, hide from parents for extended periods, or commit other acts. There are reports that this challenge has been appearing across social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp, but also on gaming platforms like Fortnight and some individuals have inserted this challenge into children’s videos on Youtube and Youtube for kids. While our Internet filters are very strong, even Youtube’s own filters do not catch all of these videos before they are viewed thousands of times.
We encourage you talk to your child about these kinds of challenges and about their online behavior, including asking if they have seen anything scary on devices or online. Trusted adults at school are available to speak to any students who have concerns about anything they see online. As always, we strongly recommend you monitor what your child is watching and screen any online videos, even if they appear to be safe, to ensure their viewing does not include harmful messages. There are home filtering solutions for you to control content on your family devices as well.
Please remember that we have a Parent and Student online resources page that covers many of these topics. The first link goes to our Common Sense Media and Internet Safety page. This site features many of Common Sense Media’s best resources. Common Sense Media is a great site for parents, and they have a great article entitled “13 online challenges your child already knows about” that specifically addresses this MOMO challenge. A group in the United Kingdom called National Online Safety also has produced a “What parents need to know about the MOMO challenge” poster.
Throughout our school district, there are many security measures in place to keep students safe while using our iPads. We have a robust, albeit not foolproof, website filter. Students are not permitted to access sites that have been deemed dangerous, and students are monitored by school staff while using technology devices. The filter also forces all students into a restricted version of Youtube for educational purposes.
Thank you for your partnership in supporting our students and their safety. Please let us know how we can support you.