Group video chat app Houseparty is shutting down

  • Epic Games is shutting down group video chat app Houseparty.
  • The app will be removed immediately from app stores but people who currently have the app will still be able to use it until the service fully shuts down.
  • The shutdown is planned for October, with Houseparty’s integration with Fortnite also remaining operational until then.
  • The app was released in 2016 and gained popularity during the pandemic due to its trivia and games.
  • Epic Games revealed plans for new social features in the works for games like Fortnite and Rocket League.
  • Until Houseparty’s shutdown in October, refer to our safety card for tips on using the app safely.
  • Full story, here.

Twitter is beginning to test labels for bot accounts

  • Twitter is beginning to roll out labels for automated accounts (or bot accounts) on Twitter.
  • Examples of automated accounts include bots that help users find vaccine appointments or natural disaster warning systems.
  • A small number of developers will be invited to add ‘Automated’ labels to their accounts that will appear on profile pictures above the bio and on tweets made by the bot accounts.
  • Twitter plans to let all developers use the labels by the end of the year.
  • This test feature is rolling out later than its initial July timeframe and Twitter announced it’s also working on a label to memorialise user profiles who have passed away.
  • Full story, here.

Commission to protect children from gangs and crime launched

  • Anne Longfield, the former children’s commissioner for England, has launched her independent commission to prevent children becoming involved in gangs and crime.
  • The ‘Commission on Young Lives’ will focus on preventing young people falling victim to gang county lines drug distribution networks.
  • Experts from across police and crime prevention charities will be involved and the commission is set to run for a year.
  • It aims to develop a national system to provide opportunities to divert vulnerable children away from criminal activity by working directly with families and schools and providing mental health support.
  • The commission was launched due to concerns that the Covid-19 pandemic has heightened the risk of exploitation for vulnerable children, especially with the rising rates of domestic violence, parental mental health, and addiction.
  • Check out our blog on child criminal exploitation, here.
  • Full story, here.

Update on review into peer-on-peer sexual harassment in Welsh educational settings

  • Inspectors will visit schools in Wales, stating in late September and early October, with a report to be published in December 2021.
  • The review was requested by the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, in June 2021.
  • Estyn, the education, and training inspectorate for Wales, was asked to review the incidence of peer-on-peer sexual harassment and how culture and processes in schools encourage and empower pupils to report all forms of sexual harassment.
  • Inspectors from Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) are also due to contribute to the visits to independent schools.
  • The review will be based on school visits, pupil questionnaires and interviews with agencies that work with children, young people and support schools. A comprehensive review of research, guidance and toolkits available to support victims, perpetrators and school staff will be undertaken.
  • Full story, here.