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Hello and welcome back to Safeguarding Soundbites! If you’re new around here, this is the small but mighty podcast that brings our listeners up to speed on the safeguarding news you need to help keep the children and young people in your life stay safer online.

I hope you all have enjoyed your half-term break, we’ve lots to catch up on so let’s take a look at what’s been hitting the headlines.

This week, we published a safeguarding alert after reports of explicit sexualised content ad recently broadcast on popular livestreaming platform, Twitch. Although this form of content is banned from the platform, there are concerns about how effective the platform’s safety measures are in safeguarding against inappropriate and harmful content. Due to the potential risks, we advise you to visit our website and read more about this safeguarding alert and explicit content on Twitch.

Next week across the UK is Anti-Bullying Week and according to Ofcom, 4 in 10 children in the UK between the ages of 8-17 have experienced bullying either online or offline. We’ve put together a collection of our best online resources to help parents, carers, and teachers work through this difficult topic, both at home and in the classroom. You can find these resources by visiting our website!
Now in social media back in June, Instagram announced they would be introducing Yoti’s age verification technology to help verify the ages of their users. This week, it’s been rolled out to the U.K. and anyone who tries to edit their date of birth from under 18, to over 18, will be asked to verify their age. They will be required to upload any ID that shows your name and recent photo, such as a driving licence or national ID card. Users also have the option to record a video selfie that is shared with Yoti, which uses its AI technology to analyse facial features and share your age estimation with Instagram.
Age verification has always been a major safeguarding concern – how can companies effectively verify the age of their users to ensure they only view age-appropriate content and interactions? Social media companies in particular have often come under scrutiny for lacklustre attempts at verifying users’ ages. You can read more about Yoti and age verification by searching our website.

The Department for Education has been reprimanded by the U.K’s data protection watchdog for allowing gambling companies to access a database holding children’s learning records. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said poor due diligence resulted in unauthorised access of up to 28 million children and young people’s records, including their full name, date of birth and learning achievements.
The records were used to check whether people opening online gambling accounts were 18 or over which, as this was not the intended purpose of the records, broke data protection laws. The ICO has reprimanded the Department for Education but waived the £10 million fine to avoid the major loss of funds to a public sector body.
In Scotland, teachers at Bannerman High School in Glasglow are planning to hold a 12-day strike over violent and abusive pupil behaviour. The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) instructed their staff to refuse to teach pupils who are known to be threatening or abusive.
A source close to the school said this issue relates to a small number of pupils, but that the behaviour included physical violence, threats, swearing, and intimidation from pupils.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has urged the UK government to get back on track with passing the Online Safety Bill, after finding their current watch list of URLs containing child abuse imagery has almost doubled since last year. The Bill aims to reduce or prevent damage and harm to people, including children, when they are using the internet. It has now been delayed several times and is currently waiting to return to Parliament. The Internet Watch Foundation’s URL watch list currently stands at nearly 25,000 – higher than ever before. You can read more about the Bill on our website by searching for the ‘Online Safety Bill’.

A survey has found that 50% of schools in England are faced with considering cutting the numbers of teachers or teaching hours due to rising costs. The survey by the National Association of Head Teachers was one of the largest surveys in recent times and found thousands of school leaders are drawing up plans to make staff redundant because of the funding crisis. Almost half of schools also said they could be faced to cut back on mental health support, such as counselling and therapy services.

That’s all from me this week, make sure to share this episode with your friends, family and colleagues so we can all work together to help keep the children and young people in our care safer online. You can follow us our social media to keep up to date with what we’re up to, just search ‘Ineqe Safeguarding Group’ on all your favourite socials. Speak to you next week and stay safe.

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