Teens, tech and mental health: Oxford study finds no link

  • There remains “little association” between technology use and mental-health problems, a study of more than 430,000 10 to 15-year-olds suggests.
  • The Oxford Internet Institute compared TV viewing, social-media and device use with feelings of depression, suicidal tendencies and behavioural problems.
  • It found a small drop in association between depression and social-media use and TV viewing, from 1991 to 2019,
  • There was a small rise between emotional issues and social-media use.
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Instagram introduces caption for stories

  • Instagram now has a captions sticker for Stories, which will automatically transcribe speech in videos.
  • The sticker will be available only in “English and English-speaking countries” for now but will eventually roll out to other languages and countries.
  • Instagram says it will also start testing automated captions in Reels soon.
  • Captions have been available in IGTV and the Threads app and Instagram says it’s adding them to Stories and Reels to make them more efficient and inclusive to watch.
  • The feature should be a welcome addition for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, are not native English speakers, or just generally watch videos without sound.
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Child marriage ‘thriving in UK’ due to legal loophole, warn rights groups

  • A legal loophole that allows 16- and 17-year-olds in England and Wales to marry with parental consent is being exploited and used to coerce young people into child marriage, campaigners have warned.
  • More than 20 organisations have signed a letter to the prime minister insisting current forced marriage law does not go far enough in protecting young people.
  • Furthermore, there is no legal provision across the UK to prevent religious or customary child marriages from taking place – at any age.
  • In a letter to Boris Johnson, four co-chairs of the Girls Not Brides UK partnership wrote: “Child marriage is often viewed as a ‘developing world issue’ and one that exclusively takes place overseas. The reality is that child marriage is an invisible but thriving issue in the UK today.”
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Children will suffer, Unicef warns as UK funding cut by 60%

  • The UK government is to cut 60% of its funding to Unicef, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund, as part of its move to reduce spending on foreign aid.
  • It means the UN agency, which distributes humanitarian aid to children around the world, will get £16m this year, down from £40m.
  • Unicef warned of “serious consequences” for children, particularly those affected by Covid-19.
  • The Foreign Office said the pandemic has forced it to make tough decisions.
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    Criticised West Lane Hospital reopens as Acklam Road Hospital

    • A children’s mental health unit which closed following the deaths of two girls is re-opening under a new name.
    • West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough was shut by inspectors in 2019 after the deaths of Christie Harnett and Nadia Sharif, who were both 17.
    • It has been renamed Acklam Road Hospital and opens on 10 May.
    • Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear NHS Trust has taken over the hospital from Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust.
    • Casey Tremain, Christie’s grandmother, said: “We’re really pleased it’s reopening because they’re much-needed beds”
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