Online video game players warned of rise in fraud

  • Players of online video games such as Roblox, Fortnite and FIFA are being warned to watch out for scammers amid concerns that gangs are targeting the platforms.
  • Multiplayer games boomed during the pandemic lockdowns as a way to socialize.
  • Research conducted by the UK bank Lloyds found that a fifth of online gamers had been victims of a gaming-related scam, while only a third were aware of how to spot one.
  • The research revealed that the average player spent 14 hours a week on screen and spent more time and money in-game than before.
  • Gaming-related scams vary in complexity, ranging from scams where people order consoles that they never receive or downloading malware onto their devices.
  • These can occur through advertising of ‘add-ons’ to a game at lower prices or phishing, where players are persuaded to divulge valuable personal details.
  • Full story, here.


Facial recognition cameras arrive in Scotland’s school canteens

  • Facial recognition technology has begun scanning the faces of thousands of pupils in school canteens.
  • Nine schools in North Ayrshire started taking payments for school lunches by scanning pupils’ faces last week.
  • This new system is meant to speed up queues and be more COVID-19 secure than card payments and biometric fingerprint scanners used previously.
  • Privacy campaigners have expressed concern, and facial recognition practices have caused controversy in the past after being used for security and attendance monitoring.
  • North Ayrshire council claimed that 97% of children or their parents had consented to the new system, although some parents reported that they were unsure that children had been given enough information.
  • The Department for Education (DoE) has shared guidance on regulating facial recognition, but schools can decide whether to use the system.
  • Full story, here.

Most schools’ teaching affected by COVID-19

  • Headteachers have warned that COVID-19 is causing “educational havoc” this term.
  • A survey by the Association of School and College Leaders showed that 95% of school leaders reported that teaching and learning has been affected by staff and pupil absence rates due to COVID-19.
  • The survey involved 567 headteachers and principals of schools and colleges in England.
  • Approximately 31% of those surveyed reported that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was severe.
  • COVID-related pupil absence is above 10% in 93 schools, and staff absence is above 10% in 63 schools.
  • The school leaders’ union warns that more than four in 10 schools are not scheduled for vaccinations before the target date of the October half-term break.
  • Full story, here.

Psychosis cases soar in England as pandemic hits mental health

  • Cases of psychosis have grown over the past two years in England.
  • There has been an increasing number of people experiencing hallucinations and delusional thinking amid the stresses of the pandemic.
  • NHS data shows a 75% increase in the number of people referred to mental health services for their first suspected episode of psychosis between April 2019- April 2021.
  • This rise continued in July 2021, with 12,655 people referred, up 53% from July 2019.
  • A study published earlier this month showed that anxiety and depression rates around the world increased in 2020, with women and young people being disproportionately affected.
  • Data collected by the charity Rethink Mental Illness found that more than 13,000 referrals were made in May 2021 after the first national lockdown.
  • The charity urges the government to invest more in early intervention for psychosis to prevent further deterioration in people’s mental health.
  • Full story, here.