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October 25, 2023

Instagram sued over harm to young people’s mental health

  • Meta has been accused of misleading the public about the risks of using social media and contributing to a mental health crisis among young people.
  • Dozens of US states have made claims against the parent company of Instagram and Facebook. They claim that the company uses addictive features to trap users whilst concealing its harmful nature.
  • The lawsuit also states that Meta collected data on children under the age of 13, going against its obligations under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
  • The claim that Instagram is harmful to young peoples’ mental health has been contested by Meta.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

‘Failure to act’ on suicide website linked to 50 UK deaths

  • The BBC has found that UK authorities failed to act on multiple official warnings about a website promoting suicide that has been connected to at least 50 UK deaths.
  • The BBC is not naming the forum but has detailed that it is easily accessible to anyone on the open web, including children.
  • The BBC’s investigation has identified multiple warnings to the government by coroners and numeral police investigations, but the forum remains active.
  • Families of those deceased are demanding an inquiry.
  • The government was first warned of this forum in 2019, when a young autistic girl named Callie in Scotland who struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts accessed the forum.
  • She researched a new suicide method on the forum and bought materials which she later used to end her life.
  • At least six coroners have written to government departments demanding action to shut the forum down.
  • For more, please see the BBC News website.

Teacher ‘searched teenage porn’ on work laptop

  • A former teacher at a primary school in Norwich who searched for teenage pornography on a school laptop is allowed to remain in the profession, a misconduct hearing has ruled.
  • He admitted to searching an explicit term while working at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • He stated that he used a private browser on his work laptop as he had “forgotten” to use his personal device.
  • A Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) misconduct panel concluded that the “isolated incident” caused “no harm or risk of harm to pupils” and that banning him was “not proportionate”.
  • The police found no evidence of material relating to children and the panel accepted his explanation of the categorisation of pornography.
  • He no longer works at his former school.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

The following stories may be regionalised:

Parents have right to see sex education, says minister

  • Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has told English schools that parents have a right to see the sex education material their children are being taught.
  • She has sent a letter to debunk the myth that copyright will prevent parents from seeing this information.
  • It comes as the government is due to launch a public consultation into the Relationship, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) curriculum.
  • Geoff Barton, from the Association of School and College Leaders said that sending this letter during half-term break is “slightly odd”.
  • However, others have welcomed the idea, such as Lucy Emmerson, chief executive of the Sex Education Forum said it championed “meaningful engagement between schools and parents”.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

School attendance: Thousands more to be classed as absent

  • Thousands more children will be classed as “persistently” absent from school as part of Welsh government plans to tackle an attendance “crisis”.
  • Being “persistently absent” means that children have missed at least 20% of half-day school sessions, the equivalent of 30 school days.
  • While supporting families to get children in class, fines will be brought in as a “last resort”.
  • Mental health issues and cost of living pressures have caused absence levels to almost double what they were pre-pandemic.
  • Education Minister Jeremy Miles said addressing it was his “number one priority”.
  • The Association of School and College Leaders Cymru said schools do not have enough money to tackle the problem.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.