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  • Dr. Cecilia Marin

Recent YouTube Fears

This past week parents, teachers and caregivers have been extremely fearful about their children's use of YouTube, and questioning whether or not their children were psychologically impacted at one point or another with the"Momo challenge" which

instructs children on how to self-harm and commit suicide.

Here's the GOOD NEWS...

Numerous articles have reported this challenge as a hoax.

And, here's the BAD NEWS...

Although it may or may not be true, the fact is that sick, demented and evil people do exist. These internet plots ALSO exist. Perhaps not in the form of "Momo", but videos on youtube and other platforms that show and encourage your children to perform terrible things (i.e., self harming behaviors, different methods of suicide, and how to properly execute them) do exist. Although these videos might be flagged by a concerned individual, it only takes seconds for these videos to be imprinted into a child's mind. For example, a popular cartoon (Peppa Pig) was recently shown performing violent acts towards herself and other family members. The blood, knives and gore were just terrifying. Since these videos technically do not sound any different than other videos your child watches (because the character voices remain consistent), it might be difficult to depict what they are viewing.

DON'T PANIC, here's what you CAN do to better safeguard and keep your children safe.

1. Set up WPA security on your router, and set a password for your router

2. Control administrative access, and have other safeguards in place (i.e., parental controls, and timers etc.)

3. Minimize the time a child has for devices, and always make sure to be present when they have a device in their hands.

4. Place televisions (especially smart TV's),computers and tablets in an open space inside the house (i.e., family room, kitchen etc.)

5. Do not allow your child to wear headphones while viewing content on the internet

6. If your child loves youtube, you can set up a family account, turn on safety mode, create a playlist (make sure to watch videos in their entirety as something might start off innocent and quickly turn obscene), monitor as needed because children might outgrow programs and possibly start clicking elsewhere, upload with caution, turn off the comments, and make sure if they post anything that their settings are set to private. Lastly, remember to always accentuate the positive. Youtube and other platforms can be extremely educational and fun, but parents needs to be cautious 24/7

7. Be open with your child and educate them about safety and how to take precaution when using such devices. You want to be open and loving, so they may trust and come to you when something doesn't feel/look right.

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