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Experts warn about online safety following reports of alleged ‘suicide challenge’

(KWWL) — Rumors of an online challenge that encourages children to harm themselves is reportedly reemerging.

“We need to explain to the kids that this is a form of bullying,” said Kristy Teslow.

Using our own technology we connected with Teslow and Lisa Kammer, two moms part of Mobile Mamma, a nonprofit dedicated to warning parents about online trends like the alleged Momo challenge, which has been referred to as a hoax.

Supposedly, the ghoulish Momo offers to meet children if they follow her instructions, some of which include telling the child to harm themselves or others.

The danger can come from anywhere, whether the kids are watching on your phone or on the laptop. Keeping their devices in one central location will help you keep them safe.

“We only allow our children to be surfing the internet if they’re in the same room as us,” said Kammerer.

Chief Deputy Robert Whitney with the Bremer County Sheriff’s Office agrees.

“Don’t let your kids go off to their rooms or off to a secluded area and get on their devices,” said Whitney.

Whitney warns parents to check every video a child watches.

“You start looking at one video on youtube and pretty soon there are some other ones like ‘oh that one corresponds with this one.’ pretty soon its just a rabbit trail,” said Whitney.

It’s a trail that could lead to something like Momo.

“Be involved. When the kids are setting up their smart devices, when they’re setting up social media accounts make sure you’re sitting right next to them,” said Teslow.

She says the best solution to keeping your kids safe online is communication.

“There’s isn’t necessarily anything to be scared of, this is the new monster under the bed,” said Teslow.

Teslow and the rest of the group are working to create an app that could protect your child from threats like Momo, once they can secure enough funding.
They hope to have it up and running within the next year.

You can read more about what they’re doing at their website. 

There is some debate over whether Momo is legit. Multiple reports say there is little evidence to prove its existence.

Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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