Government’s Social Development Department has issued a warning to local parents about a hack on video-sharing website Youtube that is encouraging children to harm themselves.
The hack is in the form of a character called Momo. Momo infiltrates popular children’s programmes being aired on Youtube such as Peppa Pig and
After first frightening children with threats to kill them, Momo then tells infants: “Slice your leg and you will never meet me. Slice your wrists and your parents will never see me.”
Parents should be extremely concerned
Acting Head of Family Children and Protective Services Unit within the Social Development Department, Laurel Freeman, said parents ought to be “extremely concerned”, especially because of the continued limited access to cable television in the BVI since the 2017 hurricanes.
She said this limited access has ‘placed an enormous demand on what is described as ‘screen time’ on handheld devices such as cellphones, video games, tablets, kindles.
She, therefore, encourages parents to give greater vigilance to what their children watch on these devices.
“It is very easy to allow our children to watch programmes and/or without proper supervision and because the programmes are being watched on small devices, we are even more tuned out,” Freeman said.
“We understand that the devices act to provide entertainment while parents are multi-tasking. But we cannot let/allow our children to be consumed by these internet programmes We should always be present when children are using cellphones, tablets,
Parents are being encouraged to “view programmes they have chosen with their children”.
Below are guidelines the Social Development Department have drafted for parents.
1. Always monitor what your children watch on electronic devices.
2. Set clear rules about device usage and time and implement them. A limit of two hours per day is the recommended amount of time.
3. Engage in more family activities together.
4. Encourage interaction by socialising and learning from the environment
5. Encourage more reading through books.
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