Instagram to introduce ‘take a break’ feature and ‘nudge’ teens away from harmful content

  • Facebook will be introducing features to urge teen users to ‘take a break’ and to ‘nudge’ them away from harmful content
  • Instagram will be prompting teens to ‘take a break’ when using Instagram for long periods.
  • It will also be “nudging” young people if they repeatedly look at the same content that could harm their well-being.
  • This follows the hand-over of internal Facebook documents to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealing Instagram’s negative impact on mental health and the pause of the ‘Instagram Kids’ project.
  • Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistle-blower, is due to give evidence to the UK Parliament later this month about the need for regulation to protect children online.
  • Critics claim that the plan lacks important details and are sceptical about the features’ effectiveness.
  • Some of these features were announced in September, but no specific date has been given for their release.
  • Full story, here.

Unicef publishes The State of the World’s Children 2021 report

  • Unicef has published a report examining child, adolescent, and caregiver mental health around the world.
  • More than 13% of adolescents aged 10 to 19-years old live with a diagnosed mental disorder.
  • This represents approximately 86 million adolescents aged 15 to 19-years old and 80 million adolescents aged 10-14.
  • Anxiety and depression make up around 40% of these diagnosed mental disorders.
  • Suicide is the fifth most prevalent cause of death for boys and girls aged 10 to 19 and fourth for those aged 15 to 19.
  • Schools and learning environments can provide opportunities to support mental health but can also expose children and young people to risks, including bullying and excessive exam pressure.
  • You can access our Mental Health Awareness, CPD Accredited Course via your Safer Schools app.
  • Read the full report, here.

Number of teenagers in care proceedings in England doubles

  • According to Nuffield Family Justice Observatory data, the number of older children in care proceedings in England has almost doubled in the last decade.
  • The number of 10 to 17-year-olds subject to care proceedings rose by 95% between 2011/12 and 2019/20 (from 3,081 to 6,013 children).
  • This is rising faster than for any other group of children, with the number of 15-year-olds growing by 150% and 16-year-olds by 285% between 2011 and 2020.
  • Researchers examined case files of individual 10-17-year-olds in four local authorities in England and Wales and in the East London Family Court.
  • This revealed concerns about parents struggling with entrenched poverty and longstanding effects of substance misuse, mental health needs and domestic abuse.
  • Children in care proceedings had often faced long-term neglect and trauma at home and external issues like criminal or sexual exploitation.
  • The report can be found here.
  • Full story, here.

Girls in the Children and Young People’s Secure Estate

  • The Centre for Mental Health has published a review of girls in the Children and Young People Secure Estate (CYPSE).
  • CYPSE provides placements for children aged between 10 and 17, either for a young person’s welfare or through the youth justice system.
  • NHS England and NHS Improvement commissioned the review in partnership with the Youth Custody Service.
  • The review showed that girls entering the CYPSE are highly likely to have complex trauma resulting from experiences of abuse and adversity.
  • Girls from racialised communities are overrepresented throughout the youth justice system but are less likely to have their mental health needs recognized.
  • Incidents of serious self-harm are more common among girls than boys in the CYPSE, especially in single-gender settings.
  • Self-harming was the most common reason for the use of force or restraint with girls, which can be traumatic and can decrease trust in staff.
  • The report calls for gender-responsive and trauma-informed approaches to care and highlights the crucial need for earlier interventions and more community-based alternatives to the CYPSE.
  • Read the full report, here.
  • Full story, here.