Reading Time: 2.8 mins

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.

Call for School Governors across Northern Ireland

  • A campaign by the Department of Education (DE) and the Education Authority (EA) has been launched to encourage applications for the role of school governor.
  • Education Permanent Secretary Dr Mark Browne reported that the role is an opportunity to “promote the education of children and young people and contribute to your local community”.
  • Sara Long, Chief Executive of the EA reported that “Governor’s focus on making a genuine difference to the outcomes of children and young people in their schools”.
  • The DE and EA encourages applications from all sectors of the community and previous experience, or formal qualifications are not required.
  • For more, please visit the Department of Education website.