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15th February 2024

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Images © Amazon Studios

In response to concerns within our Safer Schools community, we’re issuing this Safeguarding Update regarding the highly explicit nature of Saltburn. This is a trending movie on Amazon Prime Video with a 15+ rating which has garnered attention for its controversial content, spawning countless memes, challenges and reaction videos on social media.

To proactively navigate the potential safeguarding risks associated with Saltburn, parents, carers and safeguarding professionals are encouraged to stay informed, initiate open conversations, and utilise the practical advice and resources outlined below.

What is Saltburn?

The film itself combines elements of comedy, thriller, and drama with shockingly graphic and explicit scenes encompassing sexual and violent content. The storyline revolves around a university student who engages in inappropriate and manipulative sexual behaviour and orchestrates a series of murders. Two notably lurid scenes have dominated discussions and engagement on social media:

  • The Bath Scene: A character drinks bathwater in which another character has just committed a sexual act.
  • The Grave Scene: A character sexually engages with a grave.

What We Have Found

  • TikTok videos with up to 3.5 million views discussing and showing clips from the most graphic scenes.
  • Accessibility of these scenes on TikTok and YouTube even when logged into an account assigned to a 13-year-old.
  • Reaction videos and images shared across various platforms such as X, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
  • Engagement in viral challenges, such as dancing to ‘Murder on the Dance Floor,’ with some videos featuring children in school uniforms.
  • Availability of gaming adaptations on platforms such as Roblox.

What Are the Potential Risks of Saltburn?

The film contains scenes depicting nudity, sexual acts, and highly sexualised themes, posing a risk of exposure to harmful or age-inappropriate content for children.
Saltburn portrays themes of suicide, disordered eating, murder, and the enjoyment of others’ deaths, potentially normalising such behaviours for impressionable viewers and influencing their behaviour.
Scenes depicting smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug use, including cocaine, may encourage curiosity and experimentation.
Graphic scenes involving sudden violence, blood and gore have the potential to be distressing for viewers of any age.
The popularity of trending content directs interest towards the film and places pressure on children to engage with discussions and challenges, both online and in the playground.

Top Tips for Parents, Carers and Safeguarding Professionals

Avoid unnecessary panic; the children in your care might not be aware of Saltburn and directly asking about it by name might spark their curiosity.
If you notice a child in your care discussing or engaging with Saltburn related content, don’t assume they have watched the film. Ask them what they know about Saltburn and how they heard about it using open ended questions.
Explore our Online Safety Centre for practical guides on parental controls, privacy, and safety settings. Find step-by-step instructions on blocking, muting and reporting across popular online platforms, whenever you need them.
Ensure that children in your care know who they can talk to if they come across something that upsets or distresses them online.

Further Resources

  • For information on how to protect children and young people on a range of different video streaming sites, including the setting of pin codes, check out the Stream Safe section of our Online Safety Centre.
  • For more information on handling harmful content, check out our article here.
  • For more information about blocking and reporting refer to the relevant sections of our Online Safety Centre.
  • Learn to configure your safety settings on Google Family Link and other platforms by visiting our Online Safety Centre.
  • Start a conversation about the dangers of taking part in online trends by watching the first episode of the Online Safety Show and discussing the accompanying TREND poster.
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