Momo a big no no! Media safety and children.
By now you would have seen or heard about Momo Challenge. Some sick individuals have hacked certain YouTube Kids shows. This scary Momo character encourages children to self-harm and eventually commit suicide via WhatsApp messages.
As a parent, this distresses me. I am guilty of needing some quiet time and putting a show on for my daughter.
There are reports that this is an elaborate hoax. If it is a hoax or not it raises the question about our children’s safety while using devices and the effects of media on our children mental health. If this is real or a hoax, it brings up the important topic of the effects of media on our children, parental control and cyber-bullying. When this story initially broke, the first thing I did was go and check all the shows my daughter has recently watched.
How do we protect our children? The answer is easy by activating parental controls on all the devices our children use and monitor what our children watch.
Full article below written by Nivashni Nair, featured on Times Live: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/sci-tech/2019-02-28-parents-freak-out-after-self-harm-and-suicide-clips-surface-on-youtube-kids/
YouTube safety tips for parents:
· Turn off the “allow searching “feature to prevent children from searching for content.
· Turn on “approve content only” feature.
· Turn on the “pause watch history” this prevents suggested videos from showing.
Other tips for parents to monitor their children’s media usage:
1. Parents can investigate alternatives such as Kids Netflix, Amazon prime and DVDs. As with all media ensure proper parental controls have been put in place.
2. Children should only have screen time in public areas in the home. This way they can’t hide what they are doing or watching.
3. Watch the shows with your children. My daughter is still young almost three but asks questions about the show she is watching. “why sad?” and I will tell her Princess Sofia is sad because …
4. My husband and I have a few select shows that we allow her to watch on Netflix. We have both watched the shows and find nothing worrying or objectionable in them.
5. Talk to your children about the show they just watched. How did it make you feel? Do you have any questions? Talk to them about online safety and let them know that they can tell you if something is upsetting them from what they viewed online. The Net is vast and has some very dark corners that children should not be exposed to with their impressionable minds.
6. Parents should have access to the devices their children use. Check the browser history often.
7. Parents should have the passwords and logins to all the device’s children use.