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January 11, 2024

Pornography review to canvass public’s view on issue 

  • The public, adult performers and law enforcement are being invited to answer a questionnaire on the impact of pornography.
  • It will be used in a review of the industry that will make recommendations to government.
  • Questions in the survey will delve into the influence of pornography on relationships, mental health, and attitudes towards women and girls.
  • The review will investigate the evolving landscape of pornography production and consumption, particularly with regards to the impact of AI and virtual reality (VR), following concern about the ability for AI to generate child abuse material.
  • The new Online Safety Act already includes measures to prevent children from accessing online pornography, requiring platforms to implement age verification and age estimation tools for user age confirmation.
  • However, Baroness Bertin reported that the review would help “future proof the law” as technology evolved: “Extreme pornography can have a damaging impact – we owe it to our children and indeed to the whole of society to put the guard rails back in place.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Nearly 10 per cent of young girls took diet pills or laxatives in the past year 

  • Nearly 10% of girls used “very dangerous” diet pills in the past year, according to a global study of 604,552 children conducted by researchers from Deakin and Monash universities.
  • Over 5% of under-18 boys and girls took weight-loss aids without prescription for intentional weight loss.
  • They reported it was a “public health concern” and links use among girls to low self-esteem, parental influence, peer pressure, and media-driven beauty standards.
  • Researchers emphasise the ineffectiveness and dangers of these drugs, associating them with unhealthy weight gain and increased eating disorder risk.
  • In 2023, UK authorities seized 369 fake Ozempic weight-loss drugs, while DNP, an active ingredient in some pills was reclassified as “poison” by the government.
  • Doug Shipsey, whose daughter Bethany died in 2017 after consuming the chemical, had campaigned highlighting DNP’s role in deaths.
  • Tom Quinn of Beat called for “stricter laws to ensure that weight-loss products are never sold to people with or vulnerable to an eating disorder.”
  • For more, please visit the Yahoo News website.

The following story may be regionalised:

Homeschooling: Merthyr girl says it helps her mental health 

  • A girl, 11, who was taken out of school due to her anxiety said being homeschooled helps her “live and be happy.”
  • The Welsh government acknowledges the right of parents to teach their own children, but generally emphasises that children were best served by attending school.
  • The girl has recently been referred by a GP for ADHD investigations and struggled concentrating in a large, loud classroom.
  • Her mother reported: “Home is a safe environment for her – she can fidget all she likes and as long as she’s learning then I’m happy.”
  • Latest figures show that, from September 2022 to August 2023, 5,330 children were registered as being homeschooled in Wales, compared to 2,626 five years ago.
  • Victoria Williams, director of Smart Education Wales, a tuition centre based in Bridgend and Newport, said Covid was one of the main reasons behind the rise.
  • A Welsh government spokesman assures collaborative efforts with local authorities to ensure suitable educational provisions for each child.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Childcare putting Welsh parents in debt, Senedd told 

  • Parents are going into debt – especially single mothers – due to the high cost of childcare, Senedd members were told.
  • The Welsh government has reduced funding for a childcare scheme, aiming to allocate more resources to essential frontline public services.
  • It included a cut of £16.1m to the childcare offer which provides 30-hours of care a week for three and four-year-olds.
  • Another £11.2m will be taken out of the policy next year, again based on the latest forecasts, with the government saying it will have “no anticipated direct impact to delivery.”
  • Jessica Laimann of the Women’s Equality Network (WEN) charity, stated that “High childcare costs are compounding the financial pressures for families, pushing parents – especially single mothers – into debt and poverty.”
  • A Welsh government spokesperson said: The childcare offer is a demand-led programme and support is made available for all eligible parents that apply,” and “have prioritised communications across Wales to increase awareness and encourage take-up among eligible parents, and we will continue with this in 2024-25.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.