Online Safety – News

23/05/2019: Students go online to report alleged sexual abuse

University students are posting allegations of sexual abuse online, as they do not feel their universities are listening, a National Union of Students (NUS) official has said. NUS women’s officer Sarah Lasoye said sexual assault was the “biggest issue facing female students at university”. During the past month, there have been more than 15,000 retweets of claims from students at seven UK universities.

Source: BBC

23/05/2019: ‘Alexa, read a bedtime story’: Parents swapping books for tech, new research warns

More than a quarter of parents are relying on Alexa and other apps to tell their children a bedtime story so they don’t have to, research suggests. Charity BookTrust surveyed 1,000 parents with children under-10 to find out whether late night reading was still a key part of the daily routine, and discovered that many are instead relying on technology to do the job.

Source: Sky

20/05/2019: Limiting screen use for one week may improve teenagers’ sleep – study

Sleep problems suffered by teenagers can be improved after just one week by limiting evening exposure to light-emitting screens on mobile phones, tablets and computers, a study suggests. The research indicates that by reducing their exposure to blue light-emitting devices in the evening, adolescents can improve their sleep quality and reduce symptoms of fatigue, lack of concentration and mood swings after seven days.

Source: Guardian

19/05/2019: Revenge porn laws ‘not working’, says victims group

Laws covering so-called revenge porn are not fit for purpose and police still need more training, experts say. Victims should receive anonymity and laws need to include threats to share images, according to Sophie Mortimer from the Revenge Porn helpline. Figures from 19 forces in England and Wales revealed police investigations have doubled in the last four years but the number of charges has fallen.

Source: BBC

19/05/2019: Revenge porn laws don’t work and need tightening up while police still need more training say victims

Revenge porn laws need to be reformed and police officers need more training in the area, a victims’ support group says. Campaigners, like Sophie Mortimer from Revenge Porn helpline, believe that victims should be granted anonymity in the same way sexual offence victims are.

Source: Daily Mail

15/05/2019: MPs ask Instagram chiefs about suicide poll

Instagram executives have said they are “heartbroken” over the reported suicide of a teenager in Malaysia who had posted a poll to its app. The 16-year-old is thought to have killed herself hours after asking other users whether she should die. But the technology company’s leaders said it was too soon to say if they would take any action against account holders who took part in the vote.

Source: BBC

15/05/2019: What to do if you see an Instagram post about suicide

Malaysian police say a 16-year-old girl killed herself earlier this week, after she asked her Instagram followers whether she should live or die. The Malaysian teenager had hosted a poll on her Instagram story, with the question: “Really Important, Help Me Choose D / L”, where D stood for death, while L stood for life, according to police.

Source: BBC

14/05/2019: Two-thirds of young people worry about online appearance

Many young people feel pressure to look their best online and 67 per cent regularly worry about the way they look, according to new research. The results of the research by youth charity YMCA, published in a report The Curate Escape, found that because of the pressure they feel to look good, two-thirds of the more than 2,000 11- to 24-years-old surveyed said they often edit photos of themselves before posting them on social media.

Source: Children and Young People Now

14/05/2019: No way to screen out under-13s or sex offenders on Facebook, inquiry told

Facebook does not know how many under-13s or sex offenders in the UK use its platforms, a senior executive has said at the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse. Answering a question about safety checks carried out on new accounts, Julie de Bailliencourt said the company had no way of verifying the age or criminal history of people signing up.

Source: Guardian

12/05/2019: ‘It’s people who do the bullying – but social media helps’

I taught in colleges for over a decade and, before that, secondary schools for six years. During that time I saw the rise of social media as one of the primary ways that students interact with each other. It was a tool, a way to facilitate communication, a way to stay in touch, a way to share, a way to joke.

Source: Times Education Supplement

11/05/2019: Social media boycott ‘may be only way to protect children’

A public boycott of social media may be the only way to force companies to protect children from abuse, the country’s leading child protection police officer has said. Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on child protection, said tech companies had abdicated their duty to safeguard children and were only paying attention due to fear of reputational damage.

Source: Guardian

29/04/2019: Apple defends removing parental control apps

Apple has defended its decision to remove a number of parental control apps from the App Store, citing security concerns. Several app-makers complained to the New York Times that Apple had taken their products off sale when it launched its own similar tools. But Apple said the apps were removed because they “put users’ privacy and security at risk”.

Source: BBC

27/04/2019: Technology cuts children off from adults, warns expert

One of the world’s foremost authorities on child mental health today warns that technology is threatening child development by disrupting the crucial learning relationship between adults and children. Peter Fonagy, professor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Developmental Science at UCL, who has published more than 500 scientific papers and 19 books, warns that the digital world is reducing contact time between the generations – a development with potentially damaging consequences.

Source: Guardian

24/04/2019: UK watchdog blocks record number of child abuse webpages

More than 100,000 webpages containing child sexual abuse imagery (CSAI) or videos were identified and blocked over the last year by the UK charity tasked with maintaining the nationwide blacklist, an increase of more than a third on the year before. The Internet Watch Foundation, the charity that does much of the groundwork required to populate the anti-CSAI filters operated by internet service providers such as BT and Sky, says that much of the increase was due to an improvement in the technology it uses to detect and assess criminal content.

Source: Guardian

24/04/2019: Olivia’s story – A survivor’s story

“I first saw Olivia when she was about three. She was a little girl with big green eyes and golden-brown hair. She was photographed and filmed in a domestic setting. Sadly, it may well have been her home and she was with someone she trusted. Olivia was in the hands of someone who should have looked after her, nurtured her. He betrayed her trust and in the most hideous way possible.”

Source: Internet Watch Foundation

21/04/2019: Messaging apps ‘expose teachers to aggression from parents’

The rapid spread of email and messaging apps has triggered a surge in parents sending aggressive queries to their children’s teachers and demanding immediate answers, according to a teaching union. Chris Keates, the general secretary of NASUWT, said her members had reported an increase in messages being sent via specialist school apps such as Class Dojo from parents. Often these message are sent as late as 1am and contain complaints about having to fill out forms or about the disciplining of their child.

Source: Guardian

20/04/2019: Over 70% of adults want social networks to face criminal sanctions

A new survey commissioned by the NSPCC, which surveyed more than 2,000 adults, reveals over three quarters of British adults agree that directors of tech companies should face criminal prosecution for gross breaches of child safety and 85% agree that social networks should face corporate prosecution for significant breaches.

Source: NSPCC

19/04/2019: UK’s porn age-verification rules can be circumvented in minutes

The first test of the UK’s new porn age-verification system can be circumvented in less than two minutes using a simple Google search, the Guardian has found, amid concerns the system is being implemented for political reasons before it is ready. Providers of legal pornography will be required to implement an age-verification system by 15 July, one of the first of its kind in the world, raising concerns from privacy campaigners.

Source: Guardian

17/04/2019: 4 in 5 Parents Concerned About Children’s Exposure to Pornography

Today we have released the third in our series of Young People, Internet Use and Wellbeing reports prepared by SWGfL research partner, Andy Phippen, Professor of Social Responsibility in IT at the University of Plymouth. With a focus on families, this report explores the use of technology in the home to manage concerns around online safety and interactions around digital technology use.

Source: South West Grid for Learning

17/04/2019: Digital Ghost Stories; Impact, Risks and Reasons

In February this year the “Momo Suicide Challenge” caused worry in homes and schools across the UK. Fuelled by sensationalist headlines and misinformation on social media, the hoax quickly escalated into a moral panic with parents fearing for the safety of their children. Every so often, in various forms, society experiences episodes of self-fuelled collective worry. These phenomena are not new, with well-known occurrences observed both before and after the advent of the internet.

Source: South West Grid for Learning