Have you heard of SimSimi?

SimSimi is a ‘chatbot’ that allows you to talk to people from all over the world anonymously.

When you download the app, it automatically takes you to the chat page where you can start your conversations. Users can “teach” the chatbot to respond to questions by suggesting responses to send back to the chatbot. It recognises frequent responses to certain comments and names.

Some of our Net Aware users raised concerns about talking to strangers on this app and found it to be used as a ‘cyberbullying tool’. SimSimi has received news coverage about the high risk of bullying on the site and The Republic of Ireland has suspended SimSimi due to the link to bullying. 

SimSimi includes a filter for ‘bad expressions’ which you can choose to have ‘almost never’ or ‘rarely’. The recently developed ‘Name Protect Tool (Beta)’ allows you to reduce the risk of cyberbullying by typing in up to three different names that you would like to block from being ‘taught’ responses to. These safety features are only available on Android phones. 

What you need to know about SimSimi

Here’s some more information on SimSimi and things you can do to help keep your child safe when using it:

  • SimSimi is rated by PEGI as an 18+ application.  
  • According to SimSimi’s Terms and Conditions, you have to be at least 13 to use this app (correct as of April 2017).
  • The comments SimSimi posts are generated by all of their users’ inputs.
  • Net Aware user reviews have demonstrated that inappropriate language is used. 
  • There aren’t any parental controls available, as the app isn’t aimed at children.
  • You can report a ‘bad word’ by clicking on the speech bubble. A ‘bad word’ will be deleted after two reports from different devices.

If your child is using SimSimi, it’s important to talk to them regularly about the app, including the potential risks and how they can keep themselves safe while using it. Let them know they can come to you or another trusted adult if they’re feeling worried or upset by anything they have seen. We’ve got some great conversation starters that may help.

If you would like more information on SimSimi, an expert advisor at our free O2 NSPCC Online Safety Helpline will be happy to talk you on 0808 800 5002 - they can help with any queries you have about social networks or online safety in general. You can also visit an O2 Guru in store, even if you’re not an O2 customer. Book your appointment here