Schools warn parents about bullying linked to use of new chat app

Warning: Parents have been asked to talk to their children about use of the app
Warning: Parents have been asked to talk to their children about use of the app

Schools advised parents to be aware of the risks caused by a new anonymous chat app that was becoming increasingly popular among Irish kids and it appears that the company listened and suspended their service in Ireland last night.

The Irish Times reported that a number of schools have asked parents to discuss the use of the SimSimi app with their children.

The app is a chatbot, using artificial intelligence to hold a conversation with users. Users are encouraged to respond, teaching it new language and phrases that it can then use in other conversations.

As a result, much of the content on the app contains offensive language.

It is this function that was causing concern among schools and parents, as people are able to view anonymous responses about themselves when they type their name into the app.

However, it appears that the service was suspended in Ireland on Wednesday and user are now greeted with a message saying “I do not talk in Ireland for a while.”

It is unclear if this is a temporary measure or if the company made the move following widespread criticism over how the use of its product was been abused by some children.

Webwise, the internet safety awareness site for school children in Ireland, advise that although SimSimi can be fun to use, it can be used as a platform for bullying. Conversations on the app can be easily shared on other social networks. 

If your child is using the app, caution should be taken. Users should also ensure the bad words function is switched on to help minimise risk of encountering upsetting or offensive content.



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