Schools warn parents to be wary of cyberbullying trend Momo

Schools are warning parents to be wary of cyberbullying trend Momo - but internet safety experts say there is nothing to worry about.

The online phenomenon has reportedly started appearing on social media platforms in Ireland in recent days.

According to some reports, users are encouraged to make contact with 'Momo' and are then sent challenges or threats.

However, Facebook, which also owns WhatsApp, said it has received no reports relating to Momo in Ireland.

In response to the reports, some schools have circulated information to parents indicating that cyberbullying can 'present a serious risk to the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people'.

A letter from one Cork city school said: "A person doesn't have to be searching for Momo to be exposed to it and, unlike other games that children enjoy, there is no positive side to this."

Avril Ronan, global programme manager for Internet Safety at TrendMicro, said parents need to educate their children about online dangers.

Ms Ronan teachers internet safety in Cork schools to 4th, 5th and 6th class pupils, as well as their parents.

She said that the 'Momo' phenomenon is nothing new and that there is no need to be concerned.

"It is just the flavour of the month," she said. "There are no direct links between viral challenges like this, the Blue Whale Challenge or others to the issues reported; it is all just hype and hysteria.

"Parents need to use the opportunity to teach their children about online safety, about not clicking on things. Parents also need to use privacy settings and monitor their child's usage."

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