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June 8, 2023

Meta taskforce to combat trade of child sex abuse materials after damning report

  • The Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) have issued a report detailing a web of social media accounts which appear to be operated by young people, advertising self-generated child sexual abuse material (SG-CSAM).
  • The SIO report followed a tip from the Wall Street Journal.
  • In response, Meta has set up a taskforce to investigate claims that Instagram is hosting the distribution and sale of SG-CSAM, with the platform’s algorithms helping advertise the illegal content.
  • The SIO reported that Instagram has allowed users to search for terms that its own algorithms know could be linked to SG-SCAM.
  • Users would see pop-up screen warning that results “may contain images of child sexual abuse” the screen gives users the option to “see results anyway”.
  • After being contacted by the Journal, Instagram has since removed the option for users to view this content.
  • The report noted that SG-CSAM can overlap with non-consensual intimate imagery or be generated through coercion.
  • For more, please visit the Guardian’s website.

14-year-old boy died after ‘school bullies put him in a chokehold’, family claims

  • A 14-year-old boy in Scotland, Hamdan has died at a school in Scotland on Tuesday this week.
  • Sources with knowledge of the investigation have reported that it appeared the boy died in a “tragic accident”.
  • However, a grieving family member has claimed the boy died after being put in a “chokehold” by bullies.
  • Several parents, some of whom said their children were witnesses have claimed that Hamdan died after taking part in a game called “tap out”, which involves the restriction of air supply until they almost pass out.
  • Hamdan is said to have suffered a seizure, causing pupils to alert teachers who then phoned 999.
  • The relative concerned stated that Hamdan was “being bullied for being different” and that the boy bullying him “put him in a chokehold and wouldn’t let go.”
  • Official sources have said that “the police are not treating it as a criminal case” and state it could have been a “silly game gone wrong”.
  • For more, please visit the Telegraph website.

The following stories may be regionalised.

Children’s attention span ‘shorter than ever’ since Covid crisis, say teachers in England

  • Online subject resource Kapow Primary’s survey of teachers in England has found that more than 70% of teachers surveyed, stated pupils’ behaviour in the classroom had declined.
  • 84% agreed that children’s attention span was “shorter than ever” post-Covid, with nearly 69% noticing an increase in inattention and daydreaming.
  • The survey also found teachers were adapting lessons to accommodate shorter attention spans, with one in five reporting they spent less than 10 minutes on an average single activity.
  • 85% thought the “ever-swiping nature of social media” negatively affected pupils.
  • A Department for Education spokesperson stated they have updated their “behaviour in schools’ guidance” to provide advice on creating and maintaining high standards.
  • For more, please visit The Guardian website.

Effects of smartphones and social media on children ‘needs urgent research’

  • Conservative MP Miriam Cates, has stated there is an urgent requirement to assess the impact of devices and apps, such as Instagram and TikTok, on children’s mental health.
  • She stated that smartphones are “as addictive as cigarettes”.
  • The “Safe Screens for Teens” campaign wants smartphone use to be prohibited in schools, and the online safety curriculum to include education on addictive smartphone behaviour.
  • Ms Cates also expressed concerns about children encountering “violent pornography”, suicide and eating disorder content.
  • She argued that the Online Safety Bill will deal with some issue but urged ministers to accept further measures, such as strengthening age-verification measures.
  • Ms Cates added “the more hours that children spend on social media, there seems to be a relationship with worse mental health”.
  • The Government’s Health Minister, Neil O’Brien, reported that “improving mental health is an absolutely top priority…in the past, it was not given the priority it deserves…and thankfully, we are changing that”.
  • For more, please visit the Wales Online website.