“The MoMo Challenge is challenging our parenting skills,” BB, a mother wrote recently on her Facebook page, calling it a “nightmare”.
“You’d better not access YouTube these days. If your children still insist on watching YouTube videos, you should sit down and watch videos together with them,” BB said.
DD, a young father of a 5-year-old boy, said he decided to leave his son with the mother in the countryside, because he did not have time to take care of him.
“It’ll be dangerous if he (the boy) tries the MoMo Challenge,” he explained.
A mini survey by kenh14.vn of parents in Hanoi found that parents were not aware of what their children watch on YouTube
“I thought they watched cartoon and music videos. Only when my colleagues at the office discussed MoMo did I realize that a murderer is hiding himself on internet,” said Le Quynh Hoa, an office worker in Hanoi.
The Internet first appeared in Vietnam in 1997. Educators warn that children and their parents are still not prepared to live in the digital era.
Nguyen Phuong Linh, head of the Research Institute for Sustainable Development, has repeatedly said that children need to be protected from hoaxes on the internet.
Linh, at a recent workshop, described a Blue Whale game which appeared four years ago. Gamers had to implement duties for 50 days and start from 4.20 am every day. These duties caused gamers to hurt themselves physically and mentally. On the 50th day, when committing suicide, gamers were recognized as winners.
“When I asked students in some localities, they knew about Blue Whale and some of them said they had logged into the game,” she said. “There is no official figure about the number of children committing suicide because of the game. However, the fact that it was available in Vietnam and tried by Vietnamese students alone is dangerous.”
Vietnam is one of the countries with the sharpest increase in the number of internet users in Asia Pacific.
“The problem is that more than one-third of internet users are minors or young people aged 15-24. Most children learn about the internet from friends, not from parents or schools,” she said.
“And in school, students are taught about computer science instead of the skills to work and play on internet,” she said.
Social networks and apps use technological solutions to reject unreasonable content. However, this is not enough. “Students need to be equipped with necessary knowledge and skills to protect themselves,” Linh said.