It’s that time again.The time parents read about something and 𝐏𝐀𝐍𝐈𝐂! Right now, it’s something called Momo generating the buzz in parent groups.
So let’s talk about it.
This is what’s sometimes called “moral panic” and it’s usually generated through the media and passed online through parents. The likelihood of a child being exposed to the threat is minimal – in reality exposure is most likely going to happen through a parent talking about it to protect them.
Think about that for a second. You read something online, you decide you have to keep your child safe, you bring it up to them, they go to school and talk to their friends about it.
The same thing happened with musical.ly last year, and Tide Pods, and the Bird Box challenge. There are literally hundreds of examples. The only reason Momo is viral again as a topic is because parents are talking about it, and they’re focused on the wrong thing. 😊
If read closely, you’ll see that when police or schools issue warnings about Momo, they’re not about the event per se. They’re focused on the bigger picture, rather than the single “threat.”
Focus on the basics:
- Talk to your kids about not sharing personal information.
- Talk to your kids about reporting anything or anyone who makes them feel unsafe.
- Teach them that you don’t need protecting, and that you will protect them no matter what.
This, 100%, is why we need to have constant social media conversations with our kids, asking about their experience rather than reading about threats and assuming it’s their experience.
To protect our kids
We need to talk to them about reporting things that make them feel uncomfortable, or things they’ve seen or heard with friends. The things they tell us – those are the things we worry about. Not the stuff we read in articles.
It doesn’t mean it’s not real. It just means the real threat isn’t Momo.
In 2018, Jo and Joe from Joe Social Media Inc. spoke with more than 10,000 kids across Alberta about social media and mental health, and how to talk to their parents about what social media is like for them. Kids and adults use social media in exceptionally different ways, and the Jo(e)s are committed to helping bridge this gap. Message us for details on speaking with your parent group, youth group, or school.