We wanted to reach out as we have been tracking the latest viral “danger” called the “Momo Challenge” as it exploded back into the media scene last week. With this Special Edition of the Eagle Counseling Newsletter, we would like to break down the information into what we feel might be helpful for families. Below is a link to a news article being posted and shared by several local police departments and news media outlets. (NOTE: This video is not recommended for children as it shows the disturbing photo of “Momo” which is actually a statue from a Japanese Horror-Film Festival. Someone snapped a photo of it and started the “Momo Challenge.”)
Students are also talking and asking about it, so we wanted to address social media use in general in a way which opens communication between students and their families. While we do not wish to add to the intrigue and myth of this or other “challenges,” we also know it is already circulating and desire to aid parents and students in filtering such information. Here is a great article to help parents guide their kids in avoiding, sharing, and discussing such things since they will inevitably continue to pop up as they have in the past like the Blue Whale Challenge, Slenderman, and others.
We also wanted to include in this issue a couple of great posts from our friend KL Greer who spoke previously at POPCS about online safety. In one video, she shares a very important strategy, “I tell my kids they will never ever be in trouble for telling me about something they have seen or heard on the internet.” This is a challenge, but she has a point. In order to foster conversation, trust, and openness with our children, we must also provide a space they can feel safe to share their thoughts, feelings, and worries without fear of parents reacting versus responding, yelling, or freaking out. We may feel all of those things, but our reactions may come at the price of our kids sharing things with us. It can be a conversation rather than an interrogation.
Regardless of what the next internet buzz is, this is yet another opportunity for us to encourage you as parents to talk with your students, the little ones all the way up to the big ones, about their online activity and how to be safe while still utilizing technology. You must know what your kids are doing and seeing online as the world will not provide a filter for them. We do not need to panic at every “challenge” that comes our way, but we do need our children to feel able to share what they are seeing and doing. This ties in with the article “Why Social Media is Not Smart for Middle School Kids” by Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D. we included last month in Eagle Counseling Newsletter Issue 4: Building Healthy Relationships which you can view here.
We hope this information sparks some good conversations in your homes, and we pray God’s blessings on your week!
Gary Prindiville is the school counselor and a middle school theology teacher at Prince of Peace Christian School and Early Learning Center in Carrollton, TX. Visit the Contact page for more information.
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