A message from the Superintendent about online safety

Dear Parent/Guardian,

I am writing this letter to make you aware of a social media challenge that according to media reports targets children and young adults, and has raised concern among parents here and across the country.

This latest social media challenge, called the “Momo Challenge,” has been reported to appear at random in some kid-friendly YouTube videos, through the popular messaging app “WhatsApp” available on smartphones and tablets, and on Facebook. To the best of our knowledge, this is not a real threat and there have been no reported instances of harm to children connected with this apparent social media challenge. Even so, I believe it is important for parents to be aware of it and be sure to monitor your child’s activity while playing online games or watching videos on YouTube.

Parents are reminded to encourage their children to let an adult family member, teacher or school counselor know about any disturbing or inappropriate content they may encounter online.

Online safety experts offer the following advice:

  • Supervise the online games your children play;
  • Be extremely mindful of the videos children are watching on YouTube or other internet channels; and
  • Make sure parental controls have been set up on the devices your children have access to, to ensure age suitable content.

Most importantly, remind children not to give out personal information to anyone they don’t know, and that no one has the right to tell them to, or make them do anything they don’t want to.

Finally, please know that we have security measures in place to keep students safe while using district technology. Students are monitored by school staff while using technology devices in classrooms and access to websites with inappropriate content is blocked by filters.

Thank you for taking the time to read this information. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at 518-629-3200, or email: lcaplan@vlietschools.org

Dr. Lori S. Caplan, Superintendent
Watervliet City School District

Please note this letter has been sent to parents via email through the district’s OneCallNow notification system.