New data analysis reveals a rise in online child abuse fueled by the pandemic

  • The coronavirus pandemic is “fuelling long-term changes” to the threat posed by online sexual abusers, with children now facing “significant new risks”, according to the country’s leading children’s charity
  • The warning from the NSPCC comes as analysis of the latest crime trends shows a 17% rise in online sex crimes against children in the months after the first COVID-19 lockdown
  • Home Office data reveals that there was 17,699 online child sex offences recorded by police in England and Wales between April and September last year 
  • This is an increase from 15,183 during the same period in 2019.
  • It includes more than 14,500 Obscene Publication offences – up almost a fifth on 2019
  • Most of those offences are believed to involve the trade in child sexual abuse images
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Online bullying increasing during the lockdown 

  • 19-year-old Pheobe Jameson told the BBC that “I have nearly 10,000 accounts blocked” because she received a tidal wave of death threats and abusive comments after posting a body-positive photo on social media 
  • Phoebe has been reporting abusive posts and blocking accounts that were sharing them
  • Half of all women and non-binary people polled by online abuse charity Glitch and the End Violence Against Women Coalition say they’ve experienced online abuse since the pandemic began
  • A poll of 2,000 people for the National Children’s Bureau, which was published in November 2020, suggests that more people were experiencing and reporting online abuse as bullying in schools decreased – because most people were learning from home
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  • For more information regarding online bullying, and ways to help, read our recent article here

FCA warns users about trading tips on TikTok 

  • TikTok creators have been offering “risky” trading tips in the wake of the GameStop shares frenzy, a UK regulator has warned
  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said people should be wary of users “promising high-return investments”
  • Many videos contain financial advice without disclaimers about the risks involved
  • TikTok said it removed content that “deceives people to gain an unlawful financial advantage”
  • The BBC found several popular video-makers on TikTok encouraging people to buy shares in GameStop, BlackBerry and AMC
  • The share price of these companies saw a boost at the end of January, as people on a Reddit message board encouraged one another to invest
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Chinese users flock to new app: Clubhouse

  • Audio-only social network iPhone app Clubhouse has seen an explosion of new users in the last week, including Chinese people discussing politics
  • According to mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower, the app was downloaded 2.3 million times by 31 January
  • The chat app is free, but is currently invite-only
  • Chinese users are paying up to $77 (£56) for invitations from e-commerce sites, according to the FT
  • Clubhouse was launched in May and valued at almost $100m
  • The app allows users to join and participate in pop-up public or private audio chatrooms and because conversations are not recorded, it appears private
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Scores of refugee children illegally detained after crossing Channel

  • Scores of child refugees were illegally detained in the UK after crossing the Channel in small boats last summer, figures reveal
  • Ministers have been accused of putting child welfare “gravely at risk” as data revealed that 80 unaccompanied minors – one in five who completed the dangerous journey from northern France – were locked for more than 24 hours in a processing centre between April and September 2020
  • The figures, obtained by the Children’s Commissioner, show that one child was held for about 65 hours – during which time they had no proper sleeping facilities or access to fresh air
  • Detention of a child for more than 24 hours is banned under the Immigration Act 2014
  • Longer detention is permitted only in “exceptional circumstances” and requires the authorisation of the Home Secretary
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Serious case review into teenagers death asks local council why he was not enrolled in school for 2 years

  • A 16 year old was found dead in his bedroom in April 2019 after he was groomed and plunged into a world of drug trafficking by so-called “county lines” gangs
  • Major failures by the authorities in Oxfordshire have recently been exposed, including the fact that he had not been enrolled in a school or provided any type of education for 21 months during which time he fell into a life of crime
  • This absence played a “significant role” in leaving him “highly vulnerable” to being criminally exploited, a damning serious case review concluded
  • Oxfordshire County Council admitted “more should have been done” but has so far refused to answer further questions on the matter.
  • The Conservative-run council’s leader Ian Hudspeth and cabinet members for children’s services and education – Councillors Steve Harrod and Lorraine Lindsay-Gale – have also declined to comment
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