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January 8, 2024

A sexual assault in the metaverse has investigators questioning the future of virtual crime prosecution 

  • Last week, a young person aged under 16 in the UK has claimed that her avatar was gang-raped in an immersive virtual-reality game, and the case is being investigated by UK authorities.
  • Authorities are considering whether such an act in the metaverse can be criminally charged.
  • Although she was not physically injured, a senior police officer familiar with the case reported that she had experienced trauma similar to real-life assault.
  • A spokesperson for Meta stated: “The kind of behaviour described has no place on our platform, which is why for all users, we have an automatic protection called personal boundary, which keeps people you don’t know a few feet away from you.”
  • Katherine Cross, who researches online harassment at the University of Washington, reported: “If it’s real enough to be marketable in a unique way, it’s real enough for there to be social consequences and psychological consequences when something goes wrong.”
  • For more, please visit the Yahoo News website.

One in three parents believe pandemic showed children do not need to go to school every day, poll finds 

  • A poll, conducted by YouGov for the Centre of Social Justice (CSJ), found that almost one in three parents believe that the Covid-19 pandemic showed it is not essential for children to attend school every day.
  • 28% of parents felt this way, and only 70% are confident that their child’s needs are being met.
  • The CSJ chief executive Andy Cook reported that there is “fundamental work to be done in rebuilding the contract between families and schools.”
  • He continued: “Parents have legitimate expectations of schools which government must help them to deliver, but as parents, we need to take responsibility for getting our kids ready for school, at school, and for keeping them engaged in school.”
  • The report of the findings titled ‘The Missing Link: Restoring The Bond Between Schools And Families’, the CSJ sets out a seven-point plan to “focus on parental engagement and whole family support.”
  • The plan includes calls for mental health support and the roll out of attendance mentors as well as recommending a review of the effectiveness of fines and prosecutions for absences.
  • For more, please visit the Sky News website.

Irish language integrated school planned for east Belfast 

  • NI’s first integrated Irish medium primary school is hoping to open in east Belfast later this year.
  • Naíscoil na Seolta has been running as an integrated Irish language pre-school since 2021 but is now trying to attract pupils for its first primary one intake in September 2024.
  • Gearóidín Monroe, one of the teachers at the pre-school, said she enjoyed helping young children’s vocabularies expand: “We concentrate initially on nouns and suddenly the children realise that each word has an alternative word, so the children experience the richness of language in both English and Irish.”
  • Language activist Linda Ervine, who helped set up the pre-school, is working with the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) on a development plan.
  • NICIE said it was advising Naíscoil na Seolta about what was needed to apply for government funding through the development proposal process: “We are currently preparing a proposal for them and the group members are conducting a campaign to collect expressions of interest from parents to demonstrate demand for an Integrated Irish Medium setting,” said a spokesperson.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.