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Hello and welcome to a week that holds many firsts – the first week of the year, the first week of a new term and the first week of my new Safeguarding Soundbites podcast!

I’m Colin Stitt, Head of Safer Schools at Ineqe Safeguarding Group and for the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you a very brief briefing on the latest in safeguarding news and updates, sharing advice from our team of online safeguarding experts and signposting to resources and articles that can help make sure that safeguarding doesn’t get lost as a priority in these challenging times.

As schools across the U.K. are warned to expect further disruptions due to staff shortages and pupil absences, many teachers, parents, and school staff will be making contingency plans for home learning. At this point, we may well all consider ourselves video conferencing experts but, as good as we may be at choosing amusing video backgrounds, it’s probably high time we all take a refresher at how we manage privacy and security on those calls. That’s why we’ve re-released our ABCs of online video conferencing, which you can find in our online safety section.

The Centre for Countering Digital Hate has reported a six-fold rise in UK web traffic to websites that promote ‘incel’ ideologies, with three of the largest sites now seeing over 638,000 per month. In December, the Law Commission recommended that the current hate crime legislation should be extended to include hatred on the ground of sex or gender. Our online safety experts previously took a look at incels and you’ll find further information and advice on our website.

We’ve been talking about our new year resolutions around the office – who’s giving up what and who’s splashed out on gym clothes that might never see the light of day from inside the wardrobe they’re stuffed in. However, as always, we’ll encourage each other along regardless! But this year, how about choosing some digital resolutions too? Our new article gives some great ideas for family resolutions that will not only keep you and your family safer online but also change the way you use the internet to embrace the fun and family-friendly side!

That’s my safeguarding news round-up finished for this week – I hope you enjoyed our new Safeguarding Soundbites – get in touch to let us know what you think, and I’ll be back next week with more of the week’s vital safeguarding news.

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