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December 18, 2023

Dowden gives clearest signal yet on social media ban for under 16s 

  • Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden did not deny reports that the government was actively looking at social media restrictions for those under 16.
  • It is understood that the Online Safety Act took so long to be passed, because a new review of potential harms to teenagers from social media was necessary.
  • However, this provision did not make its way into the final act.
  • Mr Dowden stated that there was “a real worry from parents about how they can protect their children from the harms of social media.”
  • Critics argue that banning certain age groups is a blunt tool but hope the threat could push bigger tech companies into bulking up their online security tools.
  • Mr Dowden explained today that banning seemed “unconservative”, but that they needed to “look at how we can protect children online and I think any reasonable government should do that.”
  • For more, please visit the Sky News website.

NSPCC urges people to Walk for Children this Christmas 

  • The NSPCC are calling on the public to rally friends and family together to take part in a 5km Walk for Children to raise vital funds for the charity and its Childline services.
  • Lanmark buildings across Wales and the UK are set to light up green on the longest night of the year in support of the NSPCC.
  • Emma Brennan, supporter fundraising manager at NPSCC Cymru reported: “Our Childline service is expecting a child to contact them every 45 seconds this Christmas, and while it’s free for them to contact the service over the phone or internet, every counselling session costs the charity around £4.”
  • Last Christmas, Childline delivered more than 1,000 high-risk counselling sessions, with 64% of high-risk calls and web chats coming in after dark.
  • To find out more or sign up for this year’s Walk for Children, you can go to and search ‘WALK FOR CHILDREN.’
  • For more, please visit the Yahoo News website.

The following story may be regionalised:

Scottish pupils say wellbeing has improved since school mobile classroom ban 

  • Pupils from a Scottish school have said their wellbeing has improved since a mobile phone ban was introduced in their classrooms.
  • Gordonstoun School in Elgin, Moray, made the decision to ban phones in the classroom three months ago, and have reported that it has led to significant changes in culture among pupils.
  • Students were told in September to leave their phones in their boarding houses during the school day and hand them to staff overnight.
  • Sixth year pupils are exempt from the rule and may keep their phones at all times, however, they are required to switch them off in class.
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa)’s latest figures showed around one third of pupils admit their phones distract them while in class.
  • Lisa Kerr, principal of Gordonstoun, stated that students are spending more quality time with each other, mealtimes have become more sociable, and now have happier students with better wellbeing.
  • For more, please visit the Shropshire Star website.