District encourages parents to be aware of children’s online activity

There have been concerns across the country about an unfounded online challenge called the Momo Challenge that targets children and young adults and encourages them to perform acts that include self-harm. Recently, local media outlets have shared the story.

“We bring this to our community’s attention because, while YouTube has stated that this is not a real threat, students are talking about it,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “We want to make sure parents have the opportunity to talk with their children about their children’s online activities and how to protect their personal safety at home.”

Fayetteville-Manlius has security measures in place to keep students safe while using district technology. School staff monitor students’ internet use while students use technology devices in classrooms. Filters are in place to block access to websites with inappropriate content.

In addition, school counselors are available to talk with any students who have concerns about what they hear or see related to online content.

Parents are reminded to encourage their children to let an adult family member, teacher or school counselor know about any disturbing or inappropriate content they encounter online.

Online safety tips

When talking with your children about online safety, below are a few things to highlight:

  • Discuss the dangers of sharing too much information. Reinforce the message that some people are very clever and can convince unsuspecting children to reveal personal information.
  • Establish acceptable online behavior. Send a clear message that you never say anything online that you would not say to a person’s face or that you might regret if someone else were to read it.
  • Place your computer in a public space. A computer in a bedroom can be a temptation. Knowing that mom or dad can see what is happening on the screen is a great way to deter any inappropriate online behavior.
  • Limit online time. Hanging out at a friend’s house, chatting on the phone and instant messaging online are all ways to spend social time. Just as you would limit the time your child spends away from home or on the phone, you need to limit online time.
  • Look at your child’s Facebook page. Unlike a diary that is considered private, a social networking page is in the public domain. Are you comfortable with the image your child is presenting?
  • Know your child’s username and password. Don’t confuse respecting your child’s privacy with limiting your role as a parent. You may never search your child’s room, but you would not want the door to be locked.
  • Watch for signs of bullying. Anonymity may make your child a victim of ridicule or threats. Be certain to report any hint of cyberbullying to your school – and take immediate action if you think your child has taken to bullying others.

Additional resources

Source: “Help your child make wise online decisions,” Parent Today