Anti-vaccine TikTok videos are being viewed by children as young as nine

  • False information and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 have amassed millions of views on TikTok.
  • An investigation by NewsGuard was published in June 2021.
  • The findings were sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) and to the UK government, but the content remained on the platform.
  • The investigation found TikTok accounts with thousands of followers discouraged vaccination and spread misinformation.
  • NewsGuard claimed that children as young as nine had been able to access the content despite TikTok’s policy that only those aged 13 and over can use the app.
  • Three participants in the organisation’s research who were under 13 were able to create accounts on the app by entering fake dates of birth.
  • For tips on identifying misinformation, check out our blog post.
  • Full story, here.

Hundreds of children referred over fears of criminal, sexual and labour exploitation

  • Hundreds of children across Greater Manchester have been referred to experts during the pandemic.
  • Referrals occurred over fears they are being exploited as victims of criminal, sexual and labour trafficking.
  • 363 children in the Greater Manchester Police force area were reported via the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) between January 2020 to June 2021.
  • While an exact number is unknown, government statistics show that nationally, referrals over ‘county lines’ almost doubled (up by 49%) from January 2020 to June 2021.
  • For more information on county lines, check out our blog post.
  • Full story, here.

Schools urge parents not to let children watch Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’

  • Schools have issued warnings to parents over the violent hit Netflix show ‘Squid Game’.
  • ‘Squid Game’ is a south Korean series that sees debt-ridden people compete for money in playground games with a violent twist, where losers are killed off.
  • A school in Ilford has issued a letter to parents outlining its concerns that children who have watched the programme are re-enacting the games on the show.
  • The concerns outlined by schools highlight that some children are playing the games at break time, pretending to shoot one another.
  • Schools have warned parents of the risk that children are watching the show that contains high levels of gore, death, violence, murder, and sexual assault.
  • Check out our recent safeguarding update on ‘Squid Game’ here.
  • Full story, here.

 Periods and low confidence put some girls off sport

  • Data from the Youth Sport Trust shows that periods, low confidence and being watched by others prevent about a third of girls from enjoying sport.
  • The survey asked 27,867 school-aged girls in England about their biggest concerns about participating in PE and sport.
  • A total of 37% said periods stopped them from getting active in school last year, up from 27% in 2018-19.
  • Youth Sport Trust’s charity is campaigning to give girls a greater say in PE at school.
  • The charity’s Girls Active programme empowers girls in schools to help each other and support teachers to remove barriers to education.
  • Around 33% said they were not confident to get active in school and 33% said that having others watch put them off playing.
  • Full story, here.