talking to your kids about the momo challenge
tips from child psychologist on how to talk to your kids about disturbing videos online
This week, social media was taken by storm with stories warning parents about the “Momo challenge” and hidden messages in YouTube and other online videos encouraging kids to kill themselves or commit other harmful acts.
While there is varying information out there on whether this is a hoax or not, it is still important to talk to your kids about what they might be seeing online.
We sat down with Gregory Ramey, PhD, child psychologist, to discuss how parents can talk to their kids about these possible disturbing images and other things they and their friends might be exposed to.
For the full interview, please watch the Facebook LIVE video below.
The most important thing you can do as a parent in these situations is to be approachable, available and accessible. You want to create an environment where your kids feel comfortable talking to you about these topics.
Tips for talking to your kids:
- Mention that you had seen a video/read a blog about kids and technology. Ask an open question such as “as you have been on the internet have you or your friends ever stumbled upon something odd, disturbing or weird.” This is the type of ongoing conversation that you have to have with your children to make them responsible digital citizens.
- Ask them if they had any friends at school who have been talking about the Momo challenge. By asking them about their friends it takes the pressure off of them and may allow them to be more open with you.
- In the case specifically with the “Momo challenge” do not show the picture to your kids in case they have not seen it. If they have not seen it you can bring it up but don’t share too many details. Simply tell them that if they ever see something strange online to come and tell you about it. Then move on from the conversation. Don’t worsen the situation by talking about it at length with them.
- With a young child, keep it very simple. Tell them, if something ever comes up that is “bad” or “not ok” while they are watching a video be sure to tell mom and dad right away.
- Timing is everything in the conversation. When it feels appropriate, you can say “I don’t think it’s ok for you to be watching this and here’s why”
- Maintain the conversation without too much pressure. This is not about discipline but rather a learning opportunity and an opportunity for you to make an emotional connection with your child.
- Thank your child for being open with you.