Don't Panic: How parents can deal with internet hoaxes

NEW YORK (AP) — The latest parental panic on social media — over a purported challenge for kids to complete harmful tasks — elevates the importance of establishing an open dialogue with children.

Warnings about the "Momo challenge" swept Facebook and other social media in recent days. But the challenge is believed to be a hoax. Experts say internet hoaxes focused on children tap into fears that parents have about protecting their children online and elsewhere.

Jill Murphy of the nonprofit Common Sense Media says parents may feel caught off guard by what their kids are seeing. That's why talking to children is important. Murphy says parents can help kids understand that not everything online is real.

She also suggests that parents take advantage of parental controls built into products and services.