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Parents Should be Aware of Recent Troubling Viral Trends and 'Challenges' Among Kids
WHITMAN -- Whitman Police Chief Scott Benton, Hanson Police Chief Michael Miksch and Whitman-Hanson Regional School District Superintendent Jeffrey Szymaniak would like to provide internet and smart phone safety tips for parents in the wake of some troubling trends and "challenges" that have been going viral on the internet in recent weeks.
It should be noted that there have not been any reports of incidents involving these "challenges" taking place in Whitman or Hanson, but officials would like parents to be aware.
Last week, the Police Service of Northern Ireland released a warning to parents about the "Momo Challenge," whereby a character named Momo appears in certain YouTube videos and in messages in the WhatsApp smart phone application and tells children to self harm or Momo will put a curse on them. To view an image of Momo click here.
In addition, last week, members of the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council released a statement warning parents about the "48-Hour Challenge."
The 48-Hour Challenge reportedly has teens pretending to go missing for several hours and are awarded “points” for getting mentioned on social media.
"Participating in any of these viral trends or 'challenges' can be dangerous and have serious repercussions," Chief Benton said. "Many of them revolve around people hurting themselves or urging people to harm others. We want parents to be aware of these trends so they can spot any warning signs that their kids may be taking part."
Superintendent Szymaniak said, "I want to to urge parents to always be vigilant when it comes to the internet and smart phone use with their children. We do our best to monitor internet usage and minimize mobile phone use at school. But internet safety starts at home."
Chief Benton, Chief Miksch and Superintendent Szymaniak would like to provide the following internet, mobile phone and texting safety tips from the Department of Justice:
TIPS FOR PARENTS:
DON'TS FOR KIDS:
DOS FOR KIDS:
“We want parents to be aware of the potential dangers students may face online and at the same time, know how to protect their children against them,” Chief Miksch said. "There are some dark and dangerous sites on the internet that are readily accessible and can be quickly spread among kids. Parents should not allow unsupervised use of the web for their children."