News – Technology more.

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.

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”.

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.

Times Education Supplement

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