Current Concerns

26/02/2019 ‘Momo Game’

We would like to bring to your attention that we have been made aware of the ‘Momo Challenge’ experience on the internet. This has been interrupting innocent programs that children are using including YouTube Kids. It starts by telling them to play ‘hide and seek’, telling them they are being watched, telling them to take their parent’s pills, and much worse; this has left children traumatised.

Please check the security measures on your home computers/tablets to prevent your child experiencing such things. For further advice, please consult this PDF with information from National Online Safety.

12/02/2019 – ‘SlagOffSesh’

We have recently had a number of issues surrounding a current trend on social media known as ‘SlagOffSesh’. This act of cyberbullying primarily happens on the Instagram app or on websites linked from Instagram profiles.

When being used, a person will ‘nominate’ a person they know and write something abusive about them. They will then say either ‘C’, which stands for ‘cover’ and allows these comments to be made anonymously, or ‘S’, which stands for ‘show’ meaning that the victim of the abuse will know who made the comments. A screenshot of the abusive comments will then be posted on a ‘story’, a collection of images posted by an Instagram user that disappear after 24 hours.

This behaviour allows students:

  • availability for anonymous abuse
  • potential contact with adults posing as their peers, possibly leading to the early stages of grooming
  • to exchange toxic and damaging content
  • to use the internet in a way that is not responsible
  • potential contact with radicalisation groups
  • vulnerability to mental illness

We advise parents/carers to:

  • abide by Instagram’s terms and conditions and not allow children under the age of 13 to have their own accounts
  • monitor your child’s usage of the app, including their posts and messages
  • ensure your child’s account is private, so that only approved individuals can see their posts
  • encourage your child to tell you about any abusive content they have seen, as well as blocking and reporting the perpetrators
  • monitor your child’s browsing history to ensure they are not visiting inappropriate websites

Thank you for your assistance in keeping our students safe.

15/06/2018 – Doki Doki Game

A concern has recently been brought to our attention regarding the use by young people of the online game ‘Doki Doki’ also known as ‘Doki Doki Literature Club’.  This is a psychological horror game with suicide as a main feature.  A concern has been expressed that the game may trigger suicidal thoughts in young people who may be emotionally vulnerable.

Below is a statement from DI Gladwin in Bury. In researching this, DI Gladwin has liased with the NSPCC  online safety officers.

Doki Doki also known as Doki Doki Literature Club. Developed in 2017. It does warn it is not suitable for children however the graphics etc are clearly aimed at young people.  This is the first game produced by Salvato and has won a number of awards since it was launched in August 2017.  It was downloaded over 2 million times in the first 4 months.

In essence the story plot seems to be that a male character joins a literature club and interacts with female members. There are alternative endings depending on choices made during the course of the game.  The story plot uncovers suicidal thoughts the members have.  The multiple outcomes follow things such as mental health issues (voices in their head), self-harming, suicide and violent scenes such as one of the player’s neck snapping.  All of this then links the reader back to an outcome whereby you are made to think the PC has taken over your computer and you have to continue playing.  Some outcomes lead you to consider what you could have done to prevent one of the characters deaths.  One even shows you messages from the players who have passed away saying “ now you can all be happy I am gone”.  This is a psychological horror game with suicide as a main feature.

This game is free of charge but an upgraded version can be purchased for $10 to unlock extra content.

Prior to our contact the NSPCC Online Safety team had had no calls with regards to this game but they are now alerted to its existence.

As a result they reviewed information from their Childline Counsellor Facts notes since April 2017.  Two counselling sessions had made notes with regards to Doki Doki – these were in November 2017 and January 2018.  One talked about a friend playing the game.  It was noted the game can trigger emotional responses. The other session noted the young person had been playing it and their favourite character had committed suicide – the young person was thinking about ending their life the same way.”

We ask parents to be vigilant and ensure that children are not downloading or playing the game.

If you have concerns for the welfare of any young person who may be using this game advice can be sought from:

  • Shuttleworth College Safeguarding Team
  • The Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0161 253 5678.
  • Concerned parents can go to ‘Safe Online’, a dedicated O2 NSPCC website (https://www.o2.co.uk/help/nspcc) or call the online safety team on 0808 800 5002.