Should parents be warned following the MOMO Challenge hoax?

After the news of an alleged character convincing children to commit suicide turned out to be a hoax, could this be learning curve for parents?

Dr Amy Binns, 46, a journalism lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, has studied the safety of the internet.

She became interested in internet safety after she went from a full-time to a part-time journalist, and seeing how much online hate journalists were getting.

She discussed the idea that it should be the responsibility of the parents, as well as the social media platforms, to keep our children safe from internet dangers.

Dr Binns said: “Parents have got a real up struggle on their hands and often they don’t really know what their kids are doing. 

“So I think though it is a hoax, it is not a bad thing for us to get regular wake up calls.”

She said that for a platform, it is difficult to decide how to protect children, but that there is more to be done than just  having an age restriction that can easily be faked.

Although the  MOMO Challenge has been identified as a hoax, it has shown how ‘fake news’ can be easily believed.

Dr Binns said: “I think the words platforms need to take ownership of that fact that is something that they do not want to do as it requires them to make a judgement but, actually, they need to start making these judgements and deciding what is good for the world.” 

YouTube Kids has been one way to protect children,by managing content that is safe for children to watch. 

Dr Binns has said that the idea provides a “walled-guard of content” which she wished “had been around five years ago.”

A Lancashire Constabulary spokesperson has said: “It’s really important for parents to talk with their children about these apps and games and the potential risks they can be exposed to. 

“Further advice on staying safe online is available on our website https://www.lancashire.police.uk/help-advice/online-safety/and the NSPCC publishes advice and guidance for parents on discussing online safety with their children.”

End of article

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