It is no surprise, horrendous as it is, to see this type of video on TikTok. Spend any time on any social media platform and you will find inappropriate/harmful content, it isn’t just TikTok. Over the last few weeks, I was commissioned by the NSPCC to re-risk-assess all the apps and games on their Net Aware website and whilst I was familiar with most of the apps previously, spending lots of time on the apps exposes you to all sorts of content and conduct.
Whatever the rhetoric you hear from these tech companies, you, me and parents cannot ever rely on technology to mitigate risk
You can read more about the TikTok investigation HERE.
As the holidays approach, many children will be spending more time online and many will be having fun gaming and chatting to their friends online. As a professional, remember one of the key principles of children and gaming: the majority of children use gaming for socialisation over and above the actual game. It’s one of the reasons Fortnite, COD, PUBG and other games are so popular.
CEOP released a YouTube video back in August that might be useful for some of your parents. It’s only 38 seconds long so if you use social media in your school (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) share the link, or you could link to it from your school website where there is other useful information for them.
The YouTube video is HERE.
With the new gaming consoles at the top of many wish lists this year (including mine!) this is a timely guide from Andy Robertson (GeekDadGamer) which includes how to set up a parent account and child accounts. You can either send the link out to parents or add the link to your website and direct parents to it.
Setting up the Playstation 5 for your family – click HERE
Staying on the gaming theme, Internet Matters has a new article for parents showing some of the top child-friendly games for children aged 3 upwards.
Click HERE to read the article.
Impact of Covid-19 on Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (Interpol)
A recently published report by Interpol found shifts in environmental, social and economic factors that have combined to create an increased risk of sexual exploitation both
online and offline. These factors include:
the closure of schools and subsequent movement to virtual learning environments; the increased time children spend online for entertainment, social and educational purposes;
the restriction of international travel and the repatriation of foreign nationals; confinement measures leading to the increased time spent at home;
limited access to community support services, child care and educational personnel who often play a key role in detecting and reporting cases of child sexual exploitation
During lockdown the technology providers had fewer people reviewing issues and there was an increase reliance on Artificial Intelligence. Darknet offenders had noticed a reduced response time from platforms in taking down child abuse materials and capitalised on their networks to ‘create and distribute’ new material.
With increased time being spent online by the general population, and often in more private settings than in the work environment, the illegal consumption of child sexual exploitation material has increased. Offenders with the technical expertise to administrate and create forums had more time to create new forums.
Whilst there were significant increases in the use of online gaming platforms during lockdown measures introduced across the world, Interpol member countries reported no significant changes in the number of children being targeted by sexual offenders on these platforms. However, gaming platforms continue to be used for the distribution of child sexual abuse material and as a means for offenders to make contact with children.
You can read the full report here: https://www.interpol.int/en/News-and-Events/News/2020/INTERPOL-report-highlights-impact-of-COVID-19-on-child-sexual-abuse
Black Friday Sale!
No not mine! This is a reminder that the ‘Black Friday’ periods see the highest number of emails flying across the ether than at any other time of year. The means that not only are there millions of legitimate emails, but the scammers also send out their flurries too.
We are all vulnerable, but children, perhaps teenagers especially might be ‘secretly’ buying presents online for the first time. Reminders about safe buying online would be very timely.
The National Cybersecurity Centre has a Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) where you can send emails you are concerned about.
The message might be from a company you don’t normally receive communications from, or someone you do not know. You may just have a hunch. If you are suspicious, you should report it. Your report of a phishing email will help us to act quickly, protecting many more people from being affected.
Just forward the email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find more advice about online security here:
A hugely popular new game is now doing the rounds. Called Among Us it has a PEGI rating of 7 and, as with many new games, it has multi-player collaborative features built-in with up to 10 player able to play together, as well as public and private gaming modes.
I don’t think it’s going to be a new Fortnite, but it’s worth being aware of just so that you know what students are talking about. Click HERE for an excellent write-up from Internet Matters.
27 May 2020
Zoom is a service that allows you to virtually meet other people online through video or audio-only calls. You can join these calls via laptops, tablets and mobile phones. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that ways of connecting online are more important than ever, with Zoom being an increasingly popular option for many young people.
In this blog we will cover:
MediaSmart UK have come up with an excellent new, free resource for KS3 students.
With piracy at an all-time-high (1 in 4 12 year olds has illegally downloaded a movie in the last 3 months) this is a very timely resource, quote our new resources include a short film with TV presenter, content creator and YouTuber, Luke Franks, and TV presenter and producer, Jacqueline Shepherd, who help explain what piracy and copyright means and why it matters to young people unquote.
This guide features what children do online, the threat of online strangers and how to ensure a healthy balance between Internet use, your children’s online privacy, digital security, and more on online safety to mention.
A new Parent Info article explores how Tik Tok works, the parental controls available, and how they can help their child to stay safer on the platform.
In response to the lockdown, Catch22 has produced a video aimed directly at children and young people, given that we know they will be spending many hours a day on their devices and they are coming into contact with fewer adults who might otherwise have the opportunity to help safeguard them. You may already have seen the video (attached) as it has been shared with commissioners, across Catch22 social media nationally and a copy was even requested by the Met Police.
You will see that the messages are in the form of abbreviations and emojis which will be familiar to many young people but perhaps less so to parents and professionals.
One of my favourite online safety videos is called ‘Where’s Klaus?’*, in which the boy’s mother keeps opening the door to various unsuitable people from ‘The Internet’. It’s nearly ten years old now, but the message is still very relevant today.
A new campaign from the New Zealand Government has just launched and four videos have been created to get the message home, illustrating the different challenges for parents online.
The videos can be found here:
Online Bullying: https://www.keepitrealonline.govt.nz/online-bullying/
Online Grooming: https://www.keepitrealonline.govt.nz/online-grooming/
Inappropriate Content: https://www.keepitrealonline.govt.nz/controls-and-settings/
More information here: You can find the videos and resources here: https://www.keepitrealonline.govt.nz/
*Where’s Klaus can be found on YouTube here: