Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Police and schools issue warning over SimSimi app

The PSNI has joined with schools across the district to issue a warning over an app which is being linked to cyberbullying.

The anonymous app called SimSimi has been removed in the Republic of Ireland after concerns were raised that it provides a platform for anonymous online bullying. It is still available to download in Northern Ireland however.

St Paul’s, Bessbrook was among the first schools to highlight the dangers of the app after students there brought it to the attention of teachers.

According to principal Jarlath Burns, parents have also phoned the school about the issue and after seeing first hand the potential for online bullying, the school decided to post a warning on its Facebook page advising parents to tell their children to delete the App. Mr Burns believes that as a result of the warning, and the efforts of parents, students and teachers, the App has been “eradicated.”

The app, which stems from south Korea, can be “taught” responses by any user when certain names or words are typed in.

It means that users are getting abusive replies when they type their own names into the app.

The PSNI Newry and Mourne also issued a warning on their Facebook page over the explicit nature of the App and said they got “quite the surprise” after using it for only 2 minutes.

Other schools across Northern Ireland are alerting parents to the concerns surrounding the app and asking them to check their children’s phones.