19 Jul News – Online Safety
27/09/2020: Molly Russell social media material ‘too difficult to look at’
Instagram has passed thousands of pages of “pretty dreadful” material from the account of Molly Russell to her family’s legal team, a court heard. The 14-year-old killed herself in 2017 after viewing graphic images of self harm and suicide on the platform. A pre-inquest hearing on Friday was told not all the material had been studied yet as it was too difficult for lawyers and police to look at for long. A date for the inquest itself is yet to be set. The inquest will look at how algorithms used by social media giants to keep users on the platform may have contributed to her death.
25/09/2020: ‘Vital ally’ joins fight against online child sexual abuse
“Over lockdown, children have been online even more and they are all on devices. It is important they know what is going on, and about the possible dangers.” A “vital ally” has joined the fight to keep child sexual abuse material off the internet. The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has welcomed online learning provider Natterhub on board as a new member. Natterhub is “a safe, gated educational social media platform for primary schools, with weekly interactive lessons on all aspects of online safety for Years 1-6”. The partnership will help the IWF in its mission to find and remove videos and images of children suffering sexual abuse from the internet.
Source: Internet Watch Foundation
23/09/2020: Video game loot boxes: another form of gambling?
The government is asking for the public’s opinion about the impact of loot boxes in video games, in an eight-week consultation. Loot boxes are a controversial feature of many video games – both console and mobile. When a player purchases a loot box, they only find out what is inside it once they have paid. It may contain a digital prize that’s valuable within the game, but equally it may contain nothing useful.
23/09/2020: Dark web drugs raid leads to 179 arrests
Police forces around the world have seized more than $6.5m (£5m) in cash and virtual currencies, as well as drugs and guns in a co-ordinated raid on dark web marketplaces. Some 179 people were arrested across Europe and the US, and 500kg (1,102lb) of drugs and 64 guns confiscated. It ends the “golden age” of these underground marketplaces, Europol said. “The hidden internet is no longer hidden”, said Edvardas Sileris, head of Europol’s cyber-crime centre.
21/09/2020: Cyber threat to disrupt start of university term
Universities and colleges are being warned by the UK’s cyber-security agency that rising numbers of cyber-attacks are threatening to disrupt the start of term. The National Cyber Security Centre has issued an alert after a recent spike in attacks on educational institutions. These have been “ransomware” incidents which block access to computer systems.
18/09/2020: Lockdown ‘sexting’ blackmail concerns for young people sharing images
“He’s threatened to share those pictures with my friends unless I send him more.” Mia, 13, was duped into sending sexual photographs to someone she met online, who she has now found out is an adult posing as someone else. Charities including the NSPCC and Meic – a helpline for younger people in Wales – are concerned more young people are sharing naked images of themselves.
17/09/2020: ‘Anxiety app helped me at my new school’ says Essex pupil
An 11-year-old girl has spoken about how a new app funded by the NHS helped her cope with anxious thoughts as she started a new school. Maisie said she sometimes struggled to get out of bed after developing anxiety a couple of years ago. The app, called Lumi Nova, uses exposure therapy to recreate scenarios that young people may struggle with, and is being trialled at Maisie’s new school in Essex.
17/09/2020: Revenge Porn Helpline: The Busiest Year on Record
The Revenge Porn Helpline says the number of reports of revenge porn has gone “through the roof” during lockdown. They are now concerned that this increase in reports has not slowed down, with new figures showing reports continued to surge through the summer. The helpline is now in the midst of its busiest year on record, raising fears the increased level of reports could be the “new normal”.
Source: South West Grid for Learning
10/09/2020: Scouts to tackle fake news as part of UK badge relaunch
Scouts wanting to fill up their sweater with badges need to work on a new skill: spotting fake news. Alongside more traditional awards for angling, cycling and orienteering, the ability to root out online lies is now to be included in a relaunched digital citizen badge, after Covid-19 unleashed a torrent of fakery.
07/09/2020: Most teachers ‘fear for pupils’ safety online’
Six out of 10 teachers say they are worried about their pupils’ safety online after many became dependent on the internet to continue learning amid lockdown, according to a survey. And, of 1,004 teachers surveyed, 67 per cent said technology is now more important than textbooks for learning, while 96 per cent think it is important children have access to a connected device.
Source: Times Education Supplement
03/09/2020: Record number of online child abuse logged by police
The number of online child sex abuse cases logged by police has hit a record high, figures suggest. More than 10,000 offences were recorded between April 2019 and March 2020, an 16% increase on the previous year, according to an analysis by the NSPCC. Police forces in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands responded to the charity’s Freedom of Information request. The NSPCC is concerned the real figure may be higher.
02/09/2020: Apps for children must offer privacy by default
Apps, social media platforms and online games that are specifically targeted at children will now have to put privacy at the heart of their design. A code of practice outlining how children’s data should be protected has come into force and firms have 12 months to comply with the new rules. If they do not, they could face huge fines imposed by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Some questioned whether the code would bring about real change.
11/08/2020: What is Hate Speech? (Podcast)
The term hate speech conjures up all kinds of thoughts that can be very different and personal to the individual, depending on their experiences. In our latest podcast, Gareth and Andrew try to explain this rather complicated area and discuss some of the strategies project SELMA provides. These resources are there to help empower young people to hack online hate.
Source: South West Grid for Learning
07/08/2020: Third of youth workers ‘not trained’ to deal with online harms, new study warns
More than a third of frontline youth workers do not feel sufficiently trained to deal with the increasing risk of online harms to young people, new research shows. The results of an Online Harms Survey, compiled by social enterprise Catch 22, shows that 38 per cent of frontline youth workers asked said they did not feel confident in supporting young people dealing with problems online.
Source: Children and Young People Now
27/07/2020: Are we creating a generation of problem gamblers?
Children as young as 11 are becoming problem gamblers as apps and websites make betting easier than ever. Journalist Jenny Kleeman investigates how it has been allowed to happen. Jack Ritchie was still at school when he had his first big gambling win. It was the start of an addiction to betting that would cause devastation to his family. As Jenny Kleeman tells Anushka Asthana, problem gambling among children is rife in Britain and is causing untold harm.
16/07/2020: Huge rise in reports of online child abuse images
Reports of child abuse images online increased by almost 50% during lockdown, according to the Internet Watch Foundation. In the 11 weeks from 23 March, its hotline logged 44,809 reports of images compared with 29,698 last year. The increase follows months in which both adults and children, many of whom who are working at home, have spent significantly more time online.
16/07/2020: College students’ tips for staying safe online (Video)
Many adults and children have spent significantly more time online in recent months and young people’s charities are concerned that the risks of harm have also increased. The government has promised to draw up legislation to reduce online harm. Students from Callywith College in Cornwall have been helping devise an online digital resilience tool for teachers and education staff across the county. Three of them shared their advice for children on protecting themselves online.
13/07/2020: Wilfried Zaha demands ‘action’ on racist abuse as arrested boy, 12, is released under investigation
The Crystal Palace star says “we need action, we need education, things need to change” after he was sent racist messages. Footballer Wilfried Zaha says that “things need to change” after he received racist abuse on social media, as a 12-year-old boy arrested over the incident was released under investigation.
11/07/2020: My son was shaking, trying not to go online’: how the gambling industry got its claws into children
As the NHS opens its first clinic for child addicts, families are counting the cost of Britain’s high-stakes betting problem. In Jack Ritchie’s first term of sixth form, when he was 17, he started to spend his lunch breaks at the bookies down the road from his school in Sheffield, staking his dinner money at the fixed-odds betting terminals. It became a regular thing. No one ever asked for any proof of age.
02/07/2020: Video game loot boxes ‘are gambling and should be regulated’, says House of Lords
Purchasing loot boxes in video games is equivalent to gambling, according to a House of Lords committee, which recommends that the controversial products be regulated under the Gambling Act. Loot boxes can be purchased in many games – including those popular with younger players such as FIFA – and offer randomised rewards, some of which would be worth far more than the cost of the purchase itself.