MOMO Challenge Encouraging Suicide Being Exposed to Egg Harbor Schools

MOMO Challenge Encouraging Suicide Being Exposed to Egg Harbor Schools

The MOMO Challenge started in 2018 where a character named MOMO contacts you through WhatsApp and convinces you to contact that character with their cell phone. Once that happens, players are supposed to either commit self-harm or suicide or else they will be threatened with “an evil spell.” After the suicide of a 12 year-old in Indonesia, panic has struck and the challenge is said to continue spreading to the schools of more teens.

The MOMO Challenge Spreading to Schools

The MOMO Challenge that encourages teens to commit suicide is still spreading to campuses. It first started when first graders at Brick school were talking about the challenge as it was found on Facebook and WhatsApp. Children from Glassboro and Oaklyn schools have been exposed to this challenge. The South Brunswick Police Department has been warning parents about the dangers of this challenge as well as to monitor their children’s social media accounts in response to worldwide reports. The New Jersey Crisis Intervention Team is also doing their part to ask parents to read and speak to their children. School districts are saying that their students are scared at the reemergence that this game continues to have. Parents, educators, and board members need to not be afraid to talk to students about this challenge so that they are aware and informed of this game’s dangers.

What Happens in the MOMO Challenge

There are experts and charities that believe that the MOMO Challenge is nothing more than moral panic spread by adults. They believe that that there is no evidence that the game has caused harm. The way the challenge goes is that a scary doll figure with a sinister voice targets children’s websites like YouTube Kids and the figure comes on the screen during the video. The figure attempts to talk to children about committing dangerous acts including suicide. This challenge has been found on Facebook, WhatsApp, and other forms of media targeting children.

Actions Taken Against the MOMO Challenge

The South Brunswick School District will have a workshop for parents and students at the Social Media and Technology Symposium in March. This workshop will give parents and students the opportunity to learn about cyber safety and how to better navigate around social media.

Mental Health Effects of Nightmarish Media

Children can develop anxiety after watching a scary video. The part of the brain that stores emotions, the amygdala, will hold onto this memory and bring about feelings of being scared or anxious. One study, “Tales from the Screen: Enduring Fright Reactions to Scary Media,” said that one quarter of students who had fearful reactions to media in the past continued to have them years later. Children can also develop sleep disorders at the exposure of seeing scary footage as well as at night. They could be having terrifying nightmares of what they saw as well as having heart issues, weight problems, behavior problems, learning difficulties, and mental health issues.

It is also said that children that are constantly watching media violence will have a tendency to act out that violence. Their emotional response to violence or see someone hurt will decrease since these are images that they are used to seeing. They could just be seeing violence as a natural thing that happens all the time in a hostile world or are lacking empathy in victims of violence.

What Parents Should Do In Response to the MOMO Challenge

Parents should limit the screen time to about an hour a day. If there is too much freedom in what children sees, then that means there will be a chance that they can find footage on YouTube or other video streaming sites that will have disturbing footage. Find your children media that is appropriate to their age such as making sure they have children’s accounts to streaming sites like Netflix. Use parental ratings guides to teach your children what shows or movies are appropriate to their age and apply filters to their computers or televisions.

You should also let your children know about how important it is that they look at the title and description of a video before you watch it. If you know that a video has a warning about graphic and disturbing content, it is best to stay away from those. In order to have more knowledge about what your children are watching, tell your child to only use their computer in family spaces where you can see them. If your child do happen to see any violent or disturbing images, do not try to change the subject with them or tell them that they are not old enough to know. Let them know what they are seeing and why it is not for children’s eyes. Help them work through any fears and worries they may have.

What to Do If Your Child Sees Scary Images

If your child is having feelings of distress because they saw something violent or scary that they should not have seen, empathize with them. Let them know that what they saw is very scary and perfectly understandable to feel this way. Teach them to take deep breaths before they go to bed to prevent nightmares occurring and to fall asleep faster. Rationalize that what they are seeing is make believe. By being aware of the MOMO Challenge and monitoring your child’s screen time will prevent this dangerous challenge from having an effect.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Atlantic City High School Breaks the Stigma of Mental Health

Atlantic City High School Breaks the Stigma of Mental Health

High school can be a very stressful time when you have classes to pass as well as fitting enough activities for your college applications. Having a mental illness while in high school can be just as much a struggle, but it does not have to be. By having a center located in your high school to help you better cope with your mental illness, you will be able to get through high school without having to worry about anything.

Mental Illness Issues in Atlantic City

Atlantic City is considered a big place when it comes to those with mental illnesses according to the New Jersey Hospital Association. Because 40% of its residents are in poverty, it is critical to find a solution to those struggling with mental illness. A Rutgers Camden study says that childhood experiences for those in poor families can lead to developing mental health disorders in children. When these issues are addressed early enough, civic engagement and having a healthy family can lessen the effects of mental illness.

When Relia Williams was a freshman at Atlantic City High School, she was told by her aunt to see a counselor because she was having anger issues. At the time, she did not feel like she needed counseling because she did not feel like there was anything wrong with her. It was not until she joined a teen center at her high school that she started to smile a lot. Now a senior, she has become a much happier person as she felt like being around positive people was giving her a positive energy.

AtlantiCare Teen Center

Funded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Family Services located at Atlantic City High School, the AtlantiCare Teen Center is an effort to help teens during an important moment in their life when they are developing into adults while struggling with a mental illness. This center offers individualized counseling as well as group therapy sessions free of charge. There are other teen centers in Atlantic County such as at Buena Regional High School, Oakcrest High School, and Buena Regional Middle School. In their own schools, students are met with a nurse, an advanced practice nurse, and a case manager who takes care of them when they come in for sick visits, STD, physicals, pregnancy tests, etc.

The director of the high school’s program, Craig Cochran, notices how students are being more open now with their vulnerability and facing their issues of anxiety and depression. Because so many students at the high school sees their friends struggling with the mental illnesses, they feel more comfortable being open with what they have and accepting that they need help.

AtlantiCare Teen Center’s Programs and Groups

AtlantiCare offers an eight week violence prevention program when referred to. There is also a ten week group called Lotus which helps you focus your energy on the present and how to reduce stress, anger, anxiety, and not feeling in control of your feelings. Teens will be able to build their self-confidence and teach you stress-reducing techniques to help you cope more with everyday situations. Another group is Make-A-Move which teaches you how to cook healthy and be more active to stay healthy. There are also groups like Woman2Woman and Men2Men that empowers young women and men to make healthy and responsible choices in their relationships, communication and decision making. RAP (Redirecting Anger Positively) is another group that teaches teens how to identify with their triggers, learn coping techniques and other skills to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Students are able to immediately see a doctor without having to worry about long wait times. According to the Hospital Association, Atlantic County has the third highest rate in the state for emergency room crises for those with mental illnesses. It is hard for adults who are out of work or do not make a lot of money to have access to care for their mental illness considering how expensive treatment can be. It is best for those to get into care while they are young and while there are cost free opportunities available in their schools that they have access to.

How Relia Williams is Doing Now

Relia Williams is now the president of the Youth Counsel with Atlantic City’s NAACP chapter. She feels like the staff at the teen center is like her second family. Williams would like to eventually work as a nurse or in mental health services. She applied to colleges such as Rowan University, Stockton University, Atlantic Cape Community College, and Morgan State University. Even though she does not need regular counseling anymore, she is still involved with the teen center and wants to bring what she has learned from the center to new students who join.

Williams said that she felt more open being able to speak to others about herself since joining the teen center. That it is not healthy to hold your emotions in if you have a mental health disorder since everyone will break sooner or later. By communicating with others about what you are feeling and learning how to better cope, teens will be able to manage high school and the rest of their lives going forward. If there are more teen centers in more high schools worldwide, teens would be in more control of their mental illness and would help break the stigma of being open about their ongoing struggles.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.