Viral Social Media Challenges: Advice for Parents (28/02/19)

We are aware of a viral social media challenge that has been in the news and has been circulating on social media. The challenge has been around for a couple of years now, but has recently hit the headlines. In line with advice from the London Grid for Learning, The Academy does not routinely publish information relating to such challenges, as to do so merely draws greater attention to it and is not always helpful. However, as a number of students and parents have raised concerns about the challenge in the last few days, it is clear that the challenge is causing concern amongst the Academy community.

The challenge involves a creature called MOMO that is allegedly going to kill people. The creature is based on a sculpture called Mother Bird, which was created for an art exhibition in Japan in 2016. The challenge is an urban myth.

It is believed that the challenge is a simple social engineering tactic used to create fear. Reports circulating suggest that children are being encouraged to contact a number via social media sites that then connects them to the challenge. Children are then allegedly coerced in to performing a series of challenges, some of which pose a risk of harm to the child.

We are sharing this information with parents reluctantly, on the basis that we have been reluctant to draw further, unnecessary awareness to this challenge. However, this does provide an opportunity to remind parents and carers about the importance of online safety. Please find below links to key information and advice on how to protect your children online:

  1. For advice relating specifically to the MOMO challenge, please click here
  2. For advice relating to setting up parental controls and filters, please click here
  3. For advice relating to how to start conversations with your child about online safety, please click here
  4. For advice relating to how to report unwanted contact to social media providers, please click here

If you require further advice, please contact the 02/NSPSS Parent Online Safety Hotline by calling 0808 8005002

Alternatively, please contact The Academy and speak to a member of the pastoral team.

The Milton Keynes Academy is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for children, staff and visitors and promoting a climate where children and adults will feel confident about sharing any concerns which they may have about their own safety or the well-being of others.

Safeguarding Information for Parents/Carers

Our staff are keen to work closely with students and families to provide help and support as early as possible if difficulties arise. We therefore work very closely with partner agencies, including Milton Keynes Council, Thames Valley Police, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub. Students also receive support from Brook, Compass, Service Six, Young Carers MK and our very own counsellor.

For more information on a range of topics relating to safeguarding children, including further information on how to contact our Designated Safeguarding Leads, please click here.

If you are concerned that a child is at imminent risk of harm, contact the police immediately.

Safeguarding Information for Parents/Carers

To support parents and carers in keeping their children safe online, the Academy has hosted free Online Safety training for Parents and Carers. For those of you who were unable to attend the sessions, please click on link below for more information.

Online Safety Handout

Guidance for Staff

Keeping Children Safe in Education

Working Together to Safeguard Children

Partnership Working with Thames Valley Police

The Academy part-funds a Police Community Support Officer, PCSO Nathan Ball, who provides a regular high visibility presence within the Academy. Nathan works hard to build positive relationships with students and provides valuable information and advice to support students and families to keep themselves safe.

Schools across Milton Keynes have been asked to make the letter found here available to parents and carers. The letter has been written by PC Sue Furber and PC Steve Horspool, who work within the Safer Schools Partnership.


Click the icon below to view the safeguarding contacts at Milton Keynes Academy.