Recent issues and trends that we would like to draw to parents' and carers' attention:
- Date 19/09/2018-We have been made aware of a new app which is going viral among many (primary and secondary) school age pupils. The app is called Doki Doki (Literature Club) game, which is advertised as a school dating app and does not require parental checks to download. It is a free app and although users should be 13+ years children can easily agree to be over the age. Once downloaded, children have ready access to their own account. The app begins as a colourful and light-hearted game but takes a sinister turn within an hour of children playing where their online friend starts to talk about depression and eventually commits suicide. Although we have not come across the use of this app in our school, it is important to pass this information on to our parents in order to safeguard the children within our school.
- Date 29/06/2017 - We have been asked to raise awareness to parents about a feature on the app Snapchat that allows people to see your exact location. A recent update means this feature is automatically enabled and tracks your location in real time unless you disable it. Anyone that you are linked to on Snapchat can locate exactly where you are, which building you are in and exact whereabouts within the building. Safety concerns have been expressed about this feature. To disable this ‘tracker’ - pinch the screen, your location will be shown. To disable this you then click on the settings button (the cog) whilst on this screen and tick the option 'ghost mode'. This will then be disabled.
- Date 05/06/2017 - We have been advised to raise awareness of an app called ‘Monkey’. Whilst the app is rated suitable for children 12+, concerns have been expressed that it has the potential to enable users to have FaceTime with random strangers. Once you register for the Monkey app, you verify your phone number, age, Snapchat name and whether you are male or female – it then asks you to allow access to your contacts. Once this is done, ‘Monkey’ will try to connect you with people from across the world of a similar age. Once connected both users have to ‘add time’ to continue with the FaceTime, otherwise the chat will disconnect. However, when FaceTime has been enabled there’s an option onscreen to add the person as a friend on Snapchat.
- Date 05/04/2017 - We have been made aware of an on-line game that is spreading through social media called ‘Blue Whale’. This game encourages young people to be involved in a ‘challenge and dare’ game and has led to incidents of self harming and suicide attempts amongst young people on the Continent – this worrying trend has recently been mentioned at a school in another part of the country.
- Date 31/01/2017 - We have been advised by the Local Authority to raise awareness regarding the app MyLOL. The site advertises itself as a teen dating site where members are encouraged to update profiles and share pictures - concerns have been raised that it is being used by sexual predators. If your child has accessed this app it is strongly advised that you talk to your child about this and the advice is to delete the app and block the website.