Sunday, March 3, 2019

MOMO & 48-Hour Challenge...

Unfortunately, there are two potentially dangerous internet/social media activities gaining popularity with children around the country. By now, you may have heard about the MOMO challenge, which targets children of all ages (5-18); but you may not have heard much about the 48-Hour Challenge, which targets mainly secondary children, but could be taken up by any child heavily involved in social media usage. Below are some details about both online concerns, including some links for more detailed information.

MOMO Challenge: The MOMO Challenge has been ongoing world-wide for several years, but has recently resurfaced and is making it's largest impact on the United States currently. MOMO (pictured above) is a Japanese piece of art that is appearing in popular YouTube videos through online hackers and attempts to get children to engage in a series of challenges. It has been appearing in youth videos such as Peppa Pig, Minecraft, and Fortnite. In those instances, the image appears quickly with messages for children to either commit self harm; or to download another popular app called WhatsApp. The challenge works by telling children that they will be cursed or that MOMO will come get them while they are sleeping, if they do not comply. For older children, the hackers encourage children to contact them through WhatsApp and then begin to challenge the children to do low level self harm activities while posting them on YouTube. Once hooked, the challenges gradually increase in severity up to and including suicide and murdering of family members. While there are fact checkers out there claiming this is a hoax, our schools have seen a significant increase of students in tears due to this movement. I can also speak based on personal experience as my own son has been witness to the MOMO Challenge through viewing YouTube videos. Experts encourage continued vigilance on behalf of parents and certainly if your children are using WhatsApp, it would be beneficial to have an understanding of their activity with the app. For more information and parenting tips related to the MOMO Challenge, please click here.


48-Hour Challenge: If the MOMO wasn't alarming enough, the 48-Hour Challenge may be one of the most alarming new trends amongst teens in our country. The 48-Hour Challenge essentially encourages people to simply disappear for 48-hours. Children across the country who have participated in the challenge have simply up and disappeared for two days without any notification or understanding of where they may have gone. To date, I have not heard of any violence associated with this challenge; however, the stress that can be caused to a family by a child that goes missing is obviously tremendous. For more information about the 48-Hour Challenge, please click here.

YMCA Community Survey

As one of the school district's strongest community partners, our Rome YMCA is seeking community input regarding potential future programming. The YMCA is interested in both adult perspective and student perspective with their surveys. They are interested in learning more about how they can provide the best services to you, your family, and our city!  Below are 2-minute survey links designed to figure out which youth and family programs you would like to see offered at the ROME Family YMCA. These are not a registration forms, and both surveys are anonymous! The surveys are only designed to gauge interest in programs. Any questions, feel free to contact Kaysie Gregory, Youth & Family Services Director at the ROME YMCA, either by email, kgregory@ymcatrivalley.org, or phone 315-336-3500 x 232. Thank you for taking a moment to provide them with your thoughts.



Online Curriculum Portal

After nearly two years of non-stop and solid work, the Rome City School District has updated over 30 curriculums that have been formally approved by the Board of Education. Along with this work, there has been an initiative to partner with Rubicon Atlas to publish all of our approved curriculums online for community members to gain access and for staff to have more updated and quicker access to curriculum. The district and our teacher teams continue to revise curriculum to ensure that our curriculum aligns with the Next Generation Standards and truly reflects the needs of our students. For access to the online portal, please click the link below.



National School Breakfast Week

The first week of March marks the recognition of National School Breakfast Week. On behalf of the entire district, I thank Mr. Chris Whitmore and the entire food services team of the Rome City School District for their constant and tremendous efforts to ensure that our children are provided with quality meals each and every day. The world of food services is one of the most challenging, yet unseen, functions of any school district. Often arriving in the morning hours before many others, our food services team members are always at the ready to prepare our meals and welcome our children into the cafeterias. We all appreciate your efforts, each and every day, and thank you for making sure our children have the best possible start to their day that they can!