Parents in England told they may face police action

  • TikTok accounts set up by students targeting teachers with abusive and humiliating content have prompted a warning from schools for parents.
  • Numerous schools have issued written warnings to parents following complaints by teachers.
  • These warn that police would be involved in cases where pupils are found to have set up accounts identifying or pretending to belong to a teacher.
  • Officials at Department for Education (DfE) have said that they are engaging with TikTok about the videos.
  • Headteachers have reported that complaints made to TikTok about the abusive posts or accounts rarely received a response, with no action taken in most cases.
  • The DfE maintains that it is never acceptable for teachers or other staff to be harassed or intimidated using social media.
  • Check out our blog post for more information and advice.
  • Full story, here.


Fifteen times more child sexual abuse material found online than 10 years ago

  • Experts are finding fifteen times more child sexual abuse material online than 10 years ago.
  • Figures from online safety organisation, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) show more than 200,000 websites containing child sexual abuse material.
  • This is 15 times higher than in 2011, when there were just over 13,000 reports of abusive content.
  • The IWF urges the government to ensure that the online safety bill is used to protect children.
  • The minister in charge of the new law regulating behaviour online, Nadine Dorries, has warned social media companies that they should “remove harmful algorithms” or face criminal prosecution.
  • Dorries has been working alongside officials to make the proposed online safety bill tougher on tech firms.
  • Full story, here.

Instagram adds text-to-speech and voice effect options in reels

  • Instagram has added two new features to ‘Reels’ – a text-to-speech option and a voice changer.
  • These give Reel creators more options when creating content.
  • The text-to-speech option adds one of two artificial voice options to read any text overlays added to clips.
  • The ‘Voice Effects’ option allows users to change their recorded voice, for example as a robot or at a higher pitch.
  • These are like features already available on TikTok, which Instagram Reels have been inspired by.
  • Full story, here.


Anti-Asian hate speech surged by 1,662% during the pandemic

  • Reports analysing racism online during the pandemic have shown an increase of 1,662% in anti-Asian hate speech during 2020.
  • There were over 23 million references to violent threats aimed at people of Asian ethnicity in the UK and US between 2019 and mid-2021.
  • The report led by youth charity Ditch the Label analysed 263 million online conversations.
  • There were new online posts about race or ethnicity-based hate speech every 1.7 seconds on average.
  • Many of the racist slurs aimed at people of Asian ethnicity did not exist two years ago, before the pandemic.
  • Police data had previously shown increased hate crimes against Chinese people in the UK over the pandemic.
  • The report “shines a vital and sobering light on the very real and devastating experiences of millions worldwide”.
  • Full story, here.


Children with caring responsibilities left unsupported

  • A BBC News analysis has shown that nearly 180,000 children in England who care for a relative may be missing out on support.
  • Analysis by the BBC suggests that 75% of young carers are not known to councils.
  • Local authorities must identify, assess, and support children who provide a caring role.
  • A young carer is someone under 18, who cares for a family member or friend with a physical or mental health illness or disability.
  • If young carers are known to their local council, they can access young carers clubs and activities, help at home or one-to-one support.
  • Freedom of Information requests have shown that local authorities were aware of just over 58,000 young carers in 2019-20.
  • The number of young carers reported by councils varied dramatically across England, with no councils reflecting the estimated number of young carers in their figures.
  • Full story, here.