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May 11, 2023

Online data shows the UK is ‘online child abuse capital of Europe’

  • Official data has shown that UK police were passed a record number of 316,900 online child abuse reports to investigate last year, an increase of 225% from the year prior.
  • Most of the reports related to Meta’s social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
  • Experts have linked the increase to improved detection and reporting of abuse by tech companies, with Google in particular reporting 2.2 million cases of child abuse.
  • This is alongside a genuine rise in online child abuse.
  • It is believed that the disproportionate numbers of reports in the UK could be linked with higher numbers of children having access to the internet and their own devices.
  • Former head of child safety online policy at the NSPCC, Andy Burrows has stated that this worrying rise in reports illustrates the need for the Government to introduce the Online Safety Bill as soon as possible.
  • For more, please visit the Telegraph’s website.

Mother of teen who took her own life joins call for key change to Online Safety Bill

  • A Scottish mother who lost her 13-year-old daughter to suicide supports the call to give children a voice in online safety regulation.
  • Another mother whose daughter took her own life has joined other bereaved parents and campaigners who support the demand for the Online Safety Bill to include an independent advocacy body to protect children’s interests.
  • The NSPCC believe the amendment would give a voice to the youngest internet users and ensure an early warning system.
  • For more on this story, please visit the Yahoo News website.

‘Creepy’ WhatsApp update sparks fears users are being listened to through their phone

  • There have been reports that WhatsApp appears to be attempting to access the microphone on users’ phones whilst they sleep.
  • WhatsApp have stated that the issue is a ‘bug’ within Android, and that the app would not access their microphones without permission of the user.
  • Foad Dabiri, a Twitter engineer, highlighted the problem, when he shared a tweet which included screenshots that showed when WhatsApp had accessed his microphone, including when he was asleep.
  • Elon Musk has also responded to the tweet, claiming that “WhatsApp cannot be trusted”.
  • Users on other forums have raised concerns over the same issue, as well as reporting that WhatsApp has been accessing their camera.
  • The screen has been found within Google’s “Privacy Dashboard” and collects information about how apps use personal data.
  • This dashboard can turn off the microphone but could cause voice notes and calls to stop working on WhatsApp.
  • For more, please visit the Independent website.

Phones should be banned in schools to tackle damage by pornography – MPs told

  • Campaigners have told the Commons Women and Equalities Committee, that schools should remove phones to reduce exposure to pornography and “upskirting” of other pupils.
  • Lucy Marsh, from the Family Education Trust charity, stated until the fact that children are watching pornography is addressed, the problem of violence against women can never be solved.
  • Ms Marsh’s comments were derived from the Children’s Commissioner for England, who has called for robust measures to protect children online, after its research found that sexual violence found in pornography were ‘referenced in half of police interview transcripts of child-on-child sex abuse cases’.
  • Dame Rachel de Souza, reported direct links between pornography and harmful sexual behaviours.
  • She reported that schools are failing to address the harm that watching pornography does to children in being able to form healthy relationships in adulthood.
  • In March, Rishi Sunak stated that the Government would review the Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) curriculum in schools, which Ms Marsh claims does not do enough to tackle misogyny and female directed violence.
  • The review came after MP Miriam Cates, claimed that pupils have been subjected to sex education classes and relationships which are age inappropriate, extreme, inaccurate and sexualising.
  • For more, please visit the Yahoo News website.