Internet grooming levels reach record high

  • New figures from the NSPCC show that online grooming crimes have increased nearly 70% in three years. 
  • The figures obtained from 42 police forces across England and Wales showed the number of recorded offences involving sexual communication with a child had increased by 69% since 2018.  
  • NSPCC warns that offenders are exploiting design flaws on social media platforms, enabling younger users to be targeted.   
  • 5,441 online grooming offences were recorded between April 2020 and March 2021.  
  • This calls for the Government’s plans for internet regulation in the upcoming Online Safety Bill to be strengthened.  
  • Full story, here 

£20m to provide more early help for vulnerable families 

  • Thousands of vulnerable or low-income families in England will benefit from a multi-million-pound investment to improve access to early education, health and care services. 
  • Delivering on a manifesto commitment, the Government has set out plans to elevate its Family Hubs programme.  
  • Family Hubs will offer families, children, and young people somewhere to access a range of support services.  
  • These services include early education and childcare, mental health support, meetings with health visitors or attending parenting classes, counselling, or advice for victims of domestic abuse.  
  • The Hubs can be delivered in person and virtually through online services.  
  • Full story, here

Instagram is retiring the swipe up 

  • Instagram is retiring the swipe-up feature on Stories that allows people to visit external webpages by ‘swiping up’.  
  • The feature will no longer be available from the 30th of August. 
  • This function will be replaced by link stickers: tappable stickers in stories that take people to external websites. 
  • Only users with the swipe-up feature will be given access to link stickers initially.  
  • Currently, users must be verified or have at least 10,000 followers to gain access to the ‘swipe-up’ feature.   
  • However, Instagram is evaluating the decision to extend link stickers to more users on the platform. 
  • Full story, here 

EA is opening the patents for some of its accessibility tech in games  

  • Electronic Arts is pledging to open its patents for some of its accessibility-related features across various games. 
  • These games include Apex Legends, FIFA and Madden. 
  • EA hopes that allowing open-source coding will help address current issues in games with brightness, contrast, and colour-blindness.   
  • This comes after the success of Apex Legends’ ‘ping system’ that allows players to engage in team-play without hearing or speaking.  
  • For tips on helping children stay safe while gaming, check out our blog post 
  • Full story, here