It is very concerning when young people have been exposed to any content that scares them or plays on their emotions, like those reported via the Momo Challenge. Although it has now been widely reported and exposed as a viral hoax, the Momo Challenge is not the first, nor will it be the last, online “challenge” or phenomenon to target our children with potentially harmful consequences.
Our research shows 81% of parents hand their child an internet-connected device by the age of 4, so active parental engagement and oversight of a child’s online activities is critical from the start, to help ensure they are prepared for what they may encounter. As young people often do not have the maturity or judgement to cope with confronting content online, it’s important to guide and instil critical reasoning skills, so they are aware that not everything they see or receive online is real.
We encourage parents to co-view, co-play, ask questions about the games and apps they are using, and let them know you are there to support them if they are upset or uncomfortable about anything they see online.
Five top tips to help limit your child’s exposure to harmful content online:
- Engage in your child’s online activities – ask what apps, sites and games they’re using and make sure they’re age-appropriate
- Use parental controls on devices to help limit what your child is exposed to
- Let them know not everything they see online is real or true.
- Help them report and block upsetting content they see on social media sites or apps.
- Let them know they can come to you about anything upsetting they see online, and contact Kids Helpline if they need further support.
Parents who are concerned their child may be susceptible to self-harm should be aware of the signs to look out for and know where to go for help – see more info here: https://www.esafety.gov.au/about-the-office/newsroom/blog/is-your-child-at-risk-of-self-harm-or-suicide
Parents can visit www.esafety.gov.au/parents for information and advice on keep your child safe online.