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November 14, 2023

Teens are trying unregulated ‘legal steroids’ that influencers are promoting on TikTok – and it comes with serious risk

  • A report from the UK based non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate, found that millions of teenagers and young adults are being introduced to dangerous, steroid-like fitness substances via TikTok.
  • Researchers noted that the content of some videos encouraged the use of drugs while downplaying the health risks.
  • Some of the videos appear to promote chemicals that are not approved for human use but can be sold online through a legal loophole.
  • One popular product being sold is known as SARMs (selective androgen receptor modulators) which are a synthetic drug marketed for muscle gain and fat loss.
  • The report found that TikTok influencers increased the reach of companies selling the unregulated products – 540 times more viewers than they would have on their own accounts.
  • Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, urged the tech company to enforce stronger policies cracking down on drug promotion, and called for policymakers to close loopholes that permit the online sale of the substances.
  • Content selling SARMs, depicting or instructing in their use, or use of any drug by young people is currently a violation of TikTok’s community guidelines and will be removed from the app when detected, according to the spokesperson.
  • For more, please visit the Insider website.

Children working as riders for food delivery apps – BBC investigation 

  • A black-market trade in delivery app accounts allows underage teenagers to sign up as riders, the BBC has found.
  • The family of a 17-year-old who died while working as a rider (despite the minimum age of the company being 18), says the company is “unaccountable”.
  • The Home Office is urging Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats to reform its policies that let riders lend accounts to others, known as “substitution”.
  • Riders who sign up for the delivery apps must verify their age, have no convictions and be allowed to work in the UK, but once verified, they can lend their account to another person to work.
  • Home Office Minister Robert Jenrick told the BBC that the policy of substitution was “perpetuating and enabling illegal work in our country”.
  • The Home Office have been carrying out checks on riders, and reported that so far this year, 381 across the UK who do not have the right to work in the country have been arrested.
  • The companies have responded, with Uber Eats reporting they will work “closely with the government and want to find a solution”.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

The following stories may be regionalised:

Schools facing “frightening” financial situation, governors warn

  • Governors have raised concerns about the financial situation facing schools across Wales, warning that some are operating “hand to mouth”.
  • Since 2010/11, schools have only received a 1.1% real terms increase in funding.
  • Dr Martin Price, chair of Vale of Glamorgan school governors’ association, warned that many of the schools in Wales are “running on empty or effectively, in private sector terms, are bankrupt”.
  • He also emphasised the potentially legal implications of the financial pressures, stating that “Not enough money is going into many – if not most – schools in Wales in order to deliver what their legal requirements are in terms of education”.
  • David Blackwell, headteacher of St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, also raised concerns about the recruitment and retention crisis, and reported that the average reading age of a child entering secondary school is two years lower than it was five years ago.
  • The Welsh Government Association (WLGA) has warned that schools are facing inflationary pressures of £177m and £114m in 2023-24 and 2024-25, respectively.
  • For more, please visit the Caerphilly Observer website.

Children in wealthy areas more likely to be diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD

  • An analysis of 4.5 million children in state primary schools by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) found that just over 16% had special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
  • Those living in more affluent areas, were more likely to be diagnosed with more precisely defined conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD.
  • As a result of the precise diagnosis, they are more likely to receive a tailored care plan and support funded by the local authority.
  • The findings have been described as “key evidence” that there is a “rationing” of support and an unmet need in poorer locations.
  • Dr Tammy Campbell, a Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE, said: “Until the wider primary education system is made significantly more inclusive, cuts to EHCPs are likely only to worsen unmet need,” she said. “This may further damage children’s experiences and is likely to hit those in deprived areas particularly hard.”
  • For more, please visit the Telegraph website.