• A Message from the Superintendent about Internet Safety – Momo Challenge

    Dear Families,

    I would like to alert you to what seems to be the latest viral challenge targeting children. It is called the Momo Challenge and it centers around a disturbing character that suggests dangerous tasks for children to perform. It is unclear how much truth there is to the rumors about the craze, however it is clear that children in Haverhill are aware of it and frightened by the message. From what is being reported in the media, suggestions of self-harm are being spliced into some YouTube Kids videos, as well as accessed by children using Whatsapp, which functions on both phones and tablets. Both companies deny any such content has been located.

    Please know that the our staff is aware of this trending issue and we are working to ensure your children will not be exposed to any reference to this disturbing challenge in school. Throughout our school district, there are many security measures in place to keep students safe while using the District’s technology devices. Students do not have access to sites that have been deemed dangerous and students are monitored by school staff while using technology devices.

    Regardless of the truth behind the Momo Challenge, it is clear that the word is spreading and frightening children. I recommend that you talk to your child about these kinds of challenges, in a way that you feel is appropriate for their understanding. Given the concern with the messages being unknowingly embedded within children’s videos, it is recommended that you increase efforts to monitor what your child is doing online. I also strongly encourage that you take advantage of this opportunity to to speak with your children and remind them not to talk to strangers online or open links or documents from unknown sources.

    Thank you for your partnership in supporting our students and their safety.

    Sincerely,

    Margaret Marotta
    Superintendent of Schools

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