An anonymous chat app linked to cyber bullying has been suspended in the Republic of Ireland, but children in Northern Ireland can still download it.
SimSimi temporarily removed access in the Republic this week, with a message: "I do not talk in Ireland for a atlanta chats. But schools in Northern Ireland are chhat parents about the app and asking them to check children's phones. And police in County Down have sent out an alert warning that messages can be both "abusive" and "explicit".
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St Paul's High School, Bessbrook, sent out a warning about the "potential dangers" linked to the app - the school said it had been tipped off by some responsible pupils. Principal Jarlath Burns said: "The school is concerned that the app is still available and is sad chat room in Northern Ireland, and would encourage the makers of the app to adopt the approach they have implemented in other parts of the island. Mr Burns said the school has used its social media networks to warn parents and ask them to orom their children's online behaviour.
Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch, also sent out a tweet urging pupils to remove the app from all devices for their own safety. It works by using both artificial intelligence and user-generated content - scanning conversations in its database and giving a response based on that. It was originally marketed as a "fun playful robot".
Catherine Flanagan, a secondary school teacher in Dublin, said the app "took of" within a matter of a xhat days. She was alerted by a student who was worried about her year-old sister.
What started as a bit of fun had quite quickly become something where students were being insulted about being too fat or too ugly and very personal things, things they might only know about each other. For one friend, at the beginning it was all fine and inside jokes, but within a couple of days every time he looked up his name, something mean was being said.
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It hurt him a lot and he became very down. The app allows users to type in people's names. They cbat get an anonymous, sometimes insulting and nasty message back.
It has asked parents to remove the app from their children's phones. The app stems from South Korea. Her son, Jake, 15, said the app quickly became "a massive hit" in school.
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The BBC asked the app developers in south Korea for a statement, but so far has had no reply. Related Topics.
NI education Social media.