Wheaton Montessori News

Talking With Your Children about “Momo” and Other Online Activities

Categories: For Parents / General Knowledge Fund

We are publishing a recent email from our Elementary teachers, Mrs. Fortun and Ms. Searcy.  While the email is in response to a particular, current online phenomenon, we recognize that many of our families will want this information readily available for the next big “thing” in social media.  Open lines of communication with your children are incredibly important, especially so when it comes to online activities.  Please read on for some advice from our Elementary teachers for talking with your child about online trends, especially frightening ones.

Dear Elementary Parents,

Some students have become upset and worried after hearing about “Momo”, which is a scary story being shared online.
We invite parents to read this article about the “Momo” phenomenon and how parents should help:
At school, we will not be mentioning “Momo” or any specific online phenomenon.  We will simply review with children that parents must always know about any activities online, and that school conversations should remain age-appropriate and not be designed to frighten others.  We will also be reviewing with them that anything they may encounter online that is scary, uncomfortable, or initiated by an unknown person should be brought to a parent’s attention right away.
Rather than asking your child if they have heard about “Momo” (which is likely to pique curiosity) we advise parents to have regular conversations about internet safety.  Computers and devices that connect to the internet should be used in common spaces.  In addition to monitoring all online activity, parents should observe to make sure that children are not quickly switching screens or closing browser windows when they approach.  If you would like more information from us to help set appropriate limits around the use of devices, please let us know.
If a child does hear about “Momo” and becomes frightened, the best remedy is to be able to talk about the story with trusted adults.    We encourage parents to listen very calmly and reassure children that it is *just* a story, it is not actually dangerous or harmful, and that if it’s on their minds, they are welcome to come to you and talk to you anytime.  The article linked above goes into more detail about how parents can keep children safe from these types of viral “events” online.
Also, Elementary and Adolescent Families, please plan to attend the Mental Health family event at WMS on Thursday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m.. Please contact the office for more information!