Child safety online: Risks for children in NI ‘need more research’

  • Not enough is known about how much children and young people are at risk online in Northern Ireland.
  • That is according to a new online safety strategy for young people published by the Northern Ireland Executive.
  • It said more research and data collection was needed to understand the scale of the problem.
  • The strategy also said that a lot of restrictions on online access for children were “outdated”.
  • For the full story, select here
  • If you would like to learn more, sign up for our online training course: ‘Staying Safe Online – Advanced’ on the 23rd of February here

Instagram algorithms will not recommend Reels recycled from TikTok 

  • Instagram wants people to stop posting recycled TikToks to Reels
  • Instagram says it’s making changes to its algorithm and how it recommends Reels to users
  • Along with that, it’s issuing new best practices on its @creators account to give Instagram users tips on how to make content that’s likely to be seen and promoted
  • The team now recommends that Reels users post vertical videos that use music found in Instagram’s library or sounds that they find on Reels
  • They also suggest “starting a trend” that others can participate in, like dance crazes, as well as “entertaining” and “fun” content
  • Reels that are mostly covered by text, are blurry, have a watermark or logo, or have a border around it won’t be recommended as frequently.
  • For the full story, select here

Romance fraud on rise during lockdown 

  • Romance fraud – scamming someone out of money by pretending to want a relationship – has been on the rise during lockdown
  • According to UK Finance, there was a 20% increase in bank transfer fraud linked to romance scams in 2020 compared to 2019
  • £68m was lost to these  scams in 2020, said the UK’s Action Fraud – another increase on the previous year
  • Organisations warned people to be vigilant ahead of Valentine’s Day
  • For the full story, select here

1 in 10 teenagers have tried hard drugs

  • Among 17-year-olds in the UK, one in 10 will have used hard drugs, such as ketamine and cocaine, a study suggests
  • The University College London research also showed nearly a third of 17-year-olds had tried cannabis and more than half admitted to binge-drinking alcohol
  • Almost 20,000 young people, born between 2000 and 2002, were surveyed as part of the Millennium Cohort Study
  • Drug-use rates were higher among white teens than black teens
  • A quarter of 17-year-olds also said they had assaulted someone, including shoving, slapping or punching another person over the previous 12 months
  • For the full story, select here

Mother speaks out about dangers of ‘county lines’ gangs

  • A mother has spoken of how her son disappeared after getting caught up in a “county lines” drugs trade amid threats to his life
  • The mother has urged parents to look out for signs that their child could be being groomed by criminal gangs during lockdown
  • Jenny, not her real name, from London, said she wished she had known what to look for, as her son got involved in “county lines” drug dealing
  • Jenny said her son was exploited by organised criminals, initially to shoplift, but later to carry drugs, during which he was arrested and faced trial for supplying Class A drugs
  • For the full story, select here
  • If you would like to learn, sign up for our training course: ‘An Introduction to County Lines (Criminal Exploitation)’ on the 4th of March here