Friday 21st May 2021

Huge rise in viewing harmful content online triggers warning 

  • Parents are concerned about the increased risks of online harm after increased screen time during the coronavirus pandemic, child safety campaigners have suggested. 
  • According to a new report by child protection non-profit Internet Matters, while more than half (56%) of 2,000 parents surveyed by the group said they believed their children’s internet use had had a positive effect on them since the beginning of the pandemic, 53% agreed their child had become too reliant on online technology.  
  • Parents have reported a 42% rise in viewing content promoting either self-harm or suicide, alongside a 39% increase in sharing of sexual images since January 2020.
  • Parental were also more concerned about cyberbullying (24% increase compared to pre-pandemic).
  • For the full story, select here 

Facebook blames technical issue for failure to take down child sex abuse content

  • According to the Telegraph, Facebook revealed that its failure in blocking the huge number of child abuse images and videos, which have been broadcasting on its website over the past six months, was due to a technical glitch. 
  • Notably, the company failed to block the material as two separate bugs were running, one of which is still ongoing. 
  • Statistics showed that 5 million pieces of child nudity and exploitation content were caught by Facebook in the first quarter of 2021, while the last quarter of 2020 recorded 5.4 million, down from the revelation of 12.4 million pieces of content in the third quarter of 2020. 
  • Facebook claims to have fixed the first “media matching” issue by relating its systems scan against a database of illegal images, but there are chances of missing some data on which the company is still working.
  • For the full story, select here

Twitter releases new process to verify users  

  • Twitter has today announced that it’s re-opening public applications for profile verification, meaning that users can try to get a blue checkmark for your profile.
  • Twitter stated that “we’ve been working to bring clarity to the verification eligibility criteria, and launched a new policy shaped by public feedback. We also started enforcing that policy by automatically removing the verified badge from accounts that no longer meet the updated criteria for verification, such as those that are inactive or incomplete.
  • The updated criteria consist of 6 categories: Government, Companies/brands/Non-profits, News, Entertainment, Sports and Activists. 
  • For the full story, select here

Women jailed for grooming vulnerable boy 

  • A woman who secretly groomed a vulnerable boy with love letters and later had sex with him has been jailed. 
  • The offender started talking to the boy online before inviting him to her family home and also taking him to a hotel for a night. 
  • Police said she had pretended to be a positive influence on the child during coronavirus restrictions in 2020. 
  • The 27-year-old of Reddish, Stockport, was jailed for six years at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court. 
  • She admitted four charges of sexual activity with a child, harassment of a child and using an illicit mobile phone in prison.
  • For the full story, select here

    Parents say council ‘covered up’ teacher’s abuse 

    • The parents of vulnerable children with severe learning difficulties have accused a council of “covering up” a catalogue of violent classroom attacks. 
    • The teacher was last week found guilty at Selkirk Sheriff Court of assaulting five pupils between August 2016 and October 2017. 
    • The youngsters are autistic, non-verbal and were aged between five and seven years old at the time. 
    • The law prevents the publication of any information which may identify them. 
    • Five parents of the pupils involved have told BBC Scotland of the “life-changing trauma” inflicted on their families. 
    • For the full story, select here.