Amidst recent reports of the Momo challenge circulating on the internet; the Minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz, is calling on parents to teach their children how to use the internet safely.
The Momo challenge is reportedly digitally-spread, via WhatsApp, and is similar to the Tide Pod Challenge. It allegedly seeks to teach children how to harm themselves and others. Children are reportedly contacted via WhatsApp whilst watching YouTube videos on Fortnight and Peppa Pig.
It should be noted that YouTube Kids has however not received any evidence of this challenge, nor has any content been found on YouTube Kids.
Regardless, the Momo challenge highlights an increasing need within this digital age for parents to educate their children on how to use the internet safely to prevent being targeted.
Minister Fritz said, “Reported threats such as these should not cause hysteria but rather should serve to encourage parents to take a more proactive approach to their children’s internet use. While the internet can be an excellent learning platform for our children; it can also put them at risk of cyberbullying, cyber predators, sharing private information, phishing, scams, malware and exposure to harmful norms and attitudes.”
Minister Fritz further added, “I call on parents to protect their children from these harms by urging them not to share personal information and pictures, monitoring their internet usage, by blocking inappropriate websites, instructing them not speak with strangers or add them on social media, making use of specific child friendly websites and platforms and by keeping an open line of communication with your child so that they can report any possible threats to you.”
Under the leadership of Minister Albert Fritz, the Western Cape Department of Social Development remains committed to protecting children from harm.