TikTok Writes to Rivals to do more to Take Down Suicidal and Self Harm Content

Government Seeking the Public’s Opinion of Loot Boxes

  • The government is asking for the public’s opinion about the impact of loot boxes in video games in an eight-week consultation
  • Loot boxes are a controversial feature of many video games – both console and mobile, which allows users to purchase a box without knowing it’s contents
  • The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport wants to hear from players, and the parents and guardians of young players, as well as research carried out by academics and video games companies
  • Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture, said the addition of tools such as time limits, set up via parental controls, was helpful but needed to “fully examine and understand any evidence of the harm or links to problem gambling they can cause, so we can decide if action is needed.”
  • For more information on loot boxes, check out our recent blog here, where we explore whether gaming promotes gambling

Government must Publish Tracking Data 

  • A leading health charity is demanding details about how England and Wales’ contact-tracing app fared in tests
  • The app is due to launch on Thursday
  • It has been trialled in the London Borough of Newham as well as the Isle of Wight, but data from from the pilots has not been made public
  • The Health Foundation said it was particularly concerned the technology could exacerbate existing inequalities, leaving some people at greater risk of being infected
  • The government has responded saying: “We have spoken with groups with protected characteristics, such as age, ethnicity and disability, those experiencing health inequalities and those groups particularly impacted by coronavirus.”

 Number of Schools Sending Children Home Due to COVID 19 Quadruples 

  • The number of schools in England sending home groups of pupils because of  COVID-19 incidents has quadrupled in a week, according to the latest official figures
  • Based on attendance last Thursday, they show 4% of schools not fully open because of confirmed or suspected cases – up from 1% the previous week
  • This could mean about 900 schools sending home pupils
  • Overall attendance has also dipped slightly from 88% to 87%.
  • This means over a million children were off school that day, whether from COVID-related or other reasons, with more pupils missing from secondary schools than primary
  • The fall in attendance should “ring alarm bells” for the government, said Paul Whiteman, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, who said “clearly the failure of COVID testing sits at the heart of this. The inability of staff and families to successfully get tested when they display symptoms means that schools are struggling with staffing, children are missing school, and ultimately that children’s education is being needlessly disrupted,” said Mr. Whiteman