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mercoledì 29 marzo 2017

App banned due to sexually explicit language

ONE of the most downloaded smartphone apps in Ireland is being used for cyberbullying and is riddled with sexually explicit language, parents have been warned.

The SimSimi app is an automated chat bot that allows users teach it questions and answers so it can respond when asked by someone who downloads it.
The app, aimed at youngsters, has been banned in a number of Dublin primary and secondary schools with principals sending out letters to parents claiming that it being used for bullying.
The Irish Sun downloaded the app yesterday and within ten minutes was hit with a barrage of abusive terms including extremely sexually explicit language and requests.
Users can teach SimSimi how to respond when asked questions using specific phrases which is leading to some students being abused anonymously.
For example, when our reporter typed in the name of a friend that app wrote back claiming he was a “low life self-centred bastard who picks on people because he has nothing better to do.”
When a user spots something like this and wants to get their name removed from the system’s algorithm they must pay three coins which can be bought for $2.99 per 300.
When asked simple questions such as “What should I say?” or “How are you?” the app replied with hyper sexual demands that are too explicit to write.
The app has an age recommendation of 12 but has nothing in place to stop youngsters below that age from accessing it.
Speaking to the Irish Sun, National Childline Manager with the ISPCC Margie Row said the app is extremely dangerous and warned parents to monitor their kids’ phone use in order to make sure they are safe online.
Speaking to the Irish Sun, she said: “This app started to come up for us over the past week. We’ve been getting a number of calls from children as well as from concerned parents and teachers.
“One young girl in particular called and said when she put in her name and people were talking negatively about her appearance and obviously she was quite upset.
“Primary school teachers have also been contacting us saying that all of their classes from around 4th class up are using the app which is far too young and they are very vulnerable at that age.
“I’d advise parents to familiarise themselves with the app on websites like webwise.ie which has great information about all social media and apps.
“If they see the logo on their phone they need to talk to their children about it and express their concerns and make sure they are using it safely and not being bullied.
“It’s important not to over react with these things as well because that can cause children to be afraid to come forward with problems when they do arise.”
The SimSimi chat bot was banned in Thailand after it sparked protests when it began to respond with profanities and criticisms when asked about the country’s political leaders.
The South Korean company that developed the app did not respond to requests for comment when contacted by the Irish Sun yesterday.
Childline provides a 24-hour listening service for all children up to the age of 18 on 1800 666 666 or a free text service by texting TALK to 50101 or free online chat at www.childline.ie.
App banned in Irish schools due to cyberbullying and sexually explicit language Adam Higgins 28th March 2017

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