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Unsafe Social Media Games and Apps

St. Peter's has recently been informed by Cheshire Police of various social media games and apps that young children have been playing, which are unsafe. Please see the information below regarding each game or app, and ways to prevent or control access.

Parental Control:

All modern gaming devices offer parental controls to help you manage how your child uses their device, but these do need to be set up in order for them to be operational. Click here for more information.

You can prevent a child or young person from accessing games and apps on their device or smart phone if you preset age restrictions and limit in-app purchases.

In a poll commissioned by Digital Awareness UK and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, a third of children said they have to tell their parents to stop looking at their phone. (24/04/17)

Blue WhaleThis is a dangerous game that has originated in Russia. It is played online and spread through social media. Children are encouraged to tattoo a Blue Whale somewhere on their body, with players then being encouraged to self-harm, and worse. Children are encouraged to film and share these actions through social media. This game is spoken about by children in Cheshire, but is widely believed to be a hoaxWe will kepp you updated if we receive further information about this game.

SimSimi - A chat app where a user types a message and a chatbot (a computer programme that simulates human conversation) replies. SimSimi has a 'Words Management' feature which allows users to teach the chatbot words and terms, which the chatbot can then use to reply to particular questions. Users can therefore "teach" SimSimi inappropriate, sexually explicit and offensive language. This can cause young people who use this app to receive abusive replies when typing their own name. While some cases may be targeted at a specific young person, in reality, the same response can appear for anyone with the same or similair name.

What safety tools does it have?

  • There is an option to turn off bad words so that they don't appear in the app, although this may not be 100% accurate.
  • Responses can be marked as being 'not interesting', 'sexually explicit', 'vulgar or violent' or 'other'. At this moment, it is unclear what happens once content has been reported, as there is very little information available on the apps website about its terms of us. The app does state: 'Harass, abuse, defame or otherwise infringe on any other party, you may be subject to civil or criminal penalties.'