Recent issues and trends that we would like to draw to parents' and carers' attention:
- We have been made aware of an app called 'Omega' and website, called 'Omegle', which states “Chat with random strangers online – it’s fun, it’s a new experience every time.” Please be aware that this app and website allows anyone who uses it to talk to anyone else, who they are paired with randomly, without having to register their details, or provide evidence of an age / identity etc. Clearly this is concerning, as an individual could use this to pretend to be another child, or to pretend to be an adult, and we are aware of some unsolicited inappropriate communication being received by children, whilst using 'Omega' and 'Omegle'. Please do check your child’s phone / devices to ensure that they are not using 'Omega' and 'Omegle'.
- We have been made aware of a disturbing and controversial film called “Megan is missing” that is currently being widely circulated on TikTok. The film is a fictional story about Internet predators and child abduction and depicts scenes of extreme violence.
- We have been made aware of the game called ‘Cunch Line Chronicles’- it is essentially simulated County Lines Running, there are some worrying comments about it from young people already and it could be a cause for concern- many practitioners are already warning about it.
- We have been made aware of a video on TikTok of a gentleman live streaming his suicide. This is obviously a distressing video, and TikTok have stated they are doing their best to remove the video. However, it is now being listed under other captions that do not mention suicide. Therefore, users wouldn’t know that the video is about to show. We recommend exercising caution in allowing your child to use TikTok at this time. For further information please click on this link: TikTok Alert.
- We have been made aware of an 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.
- 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.