Children warned over ‘unsafe’ app
9:12am Wednesday 30th January 2013 in News
A WARNING has been issued about a Facebook application being used by schoolchildren in Bolton.
The Video Chat Round app has been described as “unsafe” by the local authority, which said it contained “inappropriate images” and allowed young people contact with adults.
A circular has been issued to primary and secondary schools by education bosses which has been passed on to parents.
It states: “It has been brought to our attention that many pupils are visiting a site called Video Chat Round which is downloaded through an app on Facebook.
“We are concerned about this and the impact it has on the safety and well-being of our children.” The app is created by a company in Israel which calls it a place to hang out and “meet someone new today”.
It reads: “Rounds is an awesome app where you can hang out, video chat, play games, take funny snapshots and watch videos with friends and new people. The platform unites video chat, social apps and games, allowing friends and people of interest to share experiences and consume entertainment together.”
A Bolton Council spokesman said parents raised concerns about the app with their children’s schools, which then contacted the local education authority. He said: “The video chatting app is not designed specifically for children, and adults also use it.
“It is open to all app users and not just Facebook friends.
“The company producing the software claims that safeguards are in place to ensure that users can only chat with others of a similar age group.
“However, we would advise parents to understand what websites their children are using and who they are communicating with, and to educate their children about how to stay safe online.”
He added that the council keeps abreast of the latest information from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and other networks to ensure that any concerns about online safety are passed on to schools and parents on a regular basis.
A Facebook spokesman said: “In such cases the onus is on the app developer to manage their content and reporting mechanisms. We have control over whether they can connect to the Facebook platform and if there is evidence that the developer is not being a good custodian we may act on this.
“We have contacted the developer and given them the opportunity to make certain improvements.”