Online Safety – News

18/03/2019: Children must be protected from ‘online Wild West’ – MPs

Addiction to social media should potentially be classed as a disease, according to a group of MPs. In a new report looking at the impact of social media on mental health, MPs said social media firms need strict regulation to protect children and companies should have a duty of care towards their users.

Source: Sky

13/03/2019: What parents need to know about the online blackmail known as ‘sextortion’

Here CEOP explains how some offenders may demand money using indecent images as online blackmail, how you can talk to your child about the risks, and where to go for further information and support. As with all forms of sexual abuse, it’s important parents and carers know the risks and how to protect their child online.

Source: Parent Info

13/03/2019: GCSE coursework lost in cyber attack on Bridport school

Hackers have used ransomware to encrypt files at a Dorset school causing it to lose some students’ GCSE coursework. The Sir John Colfox Academy, Bridport, said a member of staff mistakenly opened an email containing a virus. The email claimed to be from a colleague at another Dorset school and infected the school’s computer network.

Source: BBC

13/03/2019: Animated series to warn four-year-olds about online grooming

A series of animations has been launched to teach children as young as four about the dangers of online grooming. The National Crime Agency (NCA) has expanded its ThinkUKnow education programme to include four-to-seven-year-olds using an animated series called Jessie and Friends.

Source: Sky

12/03/2019: Fighting popular misconceptions about criminal content online

Are you confident you can tell what is illegal content online? And that you can rightly tell the age of young people on images online? Do you think that child sexual abuse material online causes ongoing harm to the children featured? Do you think reporting makes a difference?

Source: Internet Watch Foundation

11/03/2019: Statement: On the ‘Regulating in a digital world’ report by the Select Committee on Communications of the House of Lords

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) welcomes today’s report from the House of Lords’ Communications Committee and the 10 principles it recommends to help shape the digital world of the future. Our CEO Susie Hargreaves OBE was asked to give evidence to the Inquiry last year and share with committee members insights from IWF’s experience and expertise. The IWF has long maintained that traditional approaches to regulation are hard to apply to the internet and that human rights and the needs of vulnerable children should play an important role in any regulatory approach. As part of the UK Safer Internet Centre, the IWF has been a proactive actor in the Government’s ambition to make the UK the safest place in the world to go online, and the best place to start a digital business.

Source: Internet Watch Foundation

08/03/2019: ‘Let’s talk about sexting, consent and online relationships’

The statistics paint a picture: one in 10 young people has been pressured by their boy/girlfriend to share a nude image; and a quarter have witnessed someone secretly taking a sexual image of someone and sharing it online. “Consent” is conspicuous by its absence, which is why it’s such a hot topic in relationships and sex education. Young people are being shamed into school and community exclusion, and we want to change that.

Source: Times Education Supplement

05/03/2019: Young people warned over buying drugs via apps

Social media apps are increasingly likely to be used by young people to buy illegal drugs, research suggests. The study, from Royal Holloway, University of London, says drug users valued the convenience and speed of buying drugs via apps like Snapchat. It warns that buyers are at risk in terms of personal safety and drug quality and that many have a “false security” of escaping law enforcement.

Source: BBC

05/03/2019: Gamers suggest ways to combat addiction

Gaming “addicts” have been talking to MPs about the dangers of spending too much time online. One told them that parents should set a three-hour-a-day limit on their children’s gaming. It is part of an inquiry into technology addiction, being held by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

Source: BBC

05/03/2019: Technology ideas sought to support young people’s mental health

A group of charities and health organisations are looking for ideas on how technology can help support the mental health needs of young people. The Create Open Health initiative is being led by Creative England with successful applications offered access to investment, technology expertise as well as marketing and sales support to develop their idea.

Source: Children and Young People Now

01/03/2019: Instagram biggest for child grooming online – NSPCC finds

Sex offenders are grooming children on Instagram more than on any other online platform, a charity has found. Police in England and Wales recorded 1,944 incidents of sexual communication with children in the six months to September 2018, the NSPCC said. Instagram was used in 32% of the 1,317 cases where a method was recorded, Facebook in 23% and Snapchat in 14%.

Source: BBC

01/03/2019: Over 5,000 online grooming offences recorded in 18 months

New figures obtained by us from Freedom of Information requests to every police force in England and Wales reveal a total of 5,161 crimes of sexual communication with a child recorded in 18 months, almost a 50% increase in offence in offences recorded in latest six months compared to same period in previous year

Source: NSPCC

28/02/2019: TikTok: Record fine for video sharing app over children’s data

Short-form video sharing app TikTok has been handed the largest ever fine for a US case involving children’s data privacy. The company has agreed to pay $5.7m (£4.3m) and implement new measures to handle users who say they are under 13. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said the app, which was later acquired and incorporated into TikTok, knowingly hosted content published by underage users.

Source: BBC

28/02/2019: Depression and self-harm is higher in teenagers of the Facebook Generation who grew up amid social media boom than those of a decade ago

Teenagers today drink less, take fewer drugs, and are less likely to be vandals or violent than their elders of just a decade before, a large-scale new study found. But instead they are more likely to suffer from depression or obesity, to sleep badly, or to engage in self-harm. The shift in the behaviour between two generations of 14-year-olds just ten years apart may illustrate the impact of social media – a major influence in the lives of the younger group, who were born in 2000 and 2001.

Source: Daily Mail

28/02/2019: Viral ‘Momo challenge’ is a malicious hoax, say charities

It is the most talked about viral scare story of the year so far, blamed for child suicides and violent attacks – but experts and charities have warned that the “Momo challenge” is nothing but a “moral panic” spread by adults. Warnings about the supposed Momo challenge suggest that children are being encouraged to kill themselves or commit violent acts after receiving messages on messaging service WhatsApp from users with a profile picture of a distorted image of woman with bulging eyes.

Source: Guardian

28/02/2019: YouTube bans comments on all videos of children

YouTube says it will switch off comments on almost all videos featuring under-18s, in an attempt to “better protect children and families”. Several brands stopped advertising on YouTube after discovering that paedophiles were leaving predatory comments on videos of children. YouTube had originally disabled comments on videos that were attracting predatory and obscene comments.

Source: BBC

28/02/2019: Tom Watson calls for crackdown on in-game gambling

Gambling-style features in computer games, which encourage players to pay for items such as loot boxes that may be worth very little, warrant stricter oversight by the Gambling Commission to prevent them becoming a “gateway” to betting addiction, Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, said. Speaking as he proposed much tighter controls on online gambling, including caps on the amount that consumers can gamble, Watson said not enough was being done to deal with gambling through games.

Source: Guardian

27/02/2019: Momo ‘challenge’: Police warn over horrifying picture that is adding people on WhatsApp in chilling attack

Police have warned over a chilling “Momo” behaviour on messaging apps that appears to be targeting children. The attack sees malicious people use a horrifying photo – of what appears to be a woman’s face attached to a bird’s body – which has been given the name Momo. Someone using the horrifying message will add affected children or even adults on messaging apps like WhatsApp, and once they accept use that contact to send a variety of horrifying messages. Police have drawn attention to instances where the contact appeared to encourage children to hold a knife to their throat and threatened their family.

Source: Independent

27/02/2019: Boy, 12, raped six-year-old sister ‘to recreate Grand Theft Auto scene’, court told

A 12-year-old boy raped his six-year-old sister because he wanted to re-enact a scene from the video game Grand Theft Auto, a court has heard. The boy is said to have attacked his victim on numerous occasions at their family home while adults were in another room or asleep, including on Christmas Day. One incident was apparently triggered after the child watched footage of a sexual act in the game, which has an 18-rating under the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) classification scheme.

Source: Independent

27/02/2019: The Momo challenge is nothing to be scared of – so why are these cyber hoaxes so popular?

Every once in a while, an internet phenomenon so bizarre, and so apparently dangerous, that it pushes parents and authorities into overdrive. Sometimes the threat is relatively real. “Extreme selfie” challenges, in which people put themselves in dangerous positions in order to get the perfect Instagram shot, are a pertinent example.

Source: Independent