‘Momo Challenge’ serves as reminder to monitor what kids watch online

Another online challenge is causing concern for local parents.

The “Momo Challenge” is a game illustrated by a disturbing character. Momo supposedly pops up in YouTube and social media videos and encourages self-harm and even suicide.

The entire thing could be a hoax – there are still conflicting reports – but a pediatric psychologist says it serves as an important reminder to monitor what your kids are watching online.

“We see examples all the time of things that are advertised as kid-friendly that are in fact not,” said Katy Hopkins, Ph.D., pediatric psychologist with Norton Children’s Medical Associates. “It’s critical for parents to try to see exactly what their kids are watching.”

Related: Making mental health care available to kids through pediatricians’ offices

Dr. Hopkins said for younger kids, it’s best for parents to view ahead of time what their children want to watch.

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“Prescreen things that your child is going see,” she said. “Have prerecorded videos that children watch rather than allow them to watch streaming content.”

According to Dr. Hopkins, it gets trickier for older kids. There’s no guarantee kid-friendly sites are 100 percent safe. In these cases if your child comes across harmful or inappropriate messages, Dr. Hopkins said you should talk to them about it.

“Say, ‘Hey, if you ever see something on TV, or while you’re watching videos or on social media, that instructs you to hurt yourself or someone, you need to come tell me right away,’” she said.


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