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May 17, 2023

YouTube’s recommendations leading children to gun videos

  • A new report by the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) has found that YouTube’s algorithm is “pushing boys interested in video games to scenes of school shootings, instructions on how to use and modify weapons” and other gun related content.
  • The researchers set up four YouTube accounts posing as two 9-year-old boys and two 14-year-old boys.
  • All accounts watched playlists of content about popular video games, like Roblox, Lego Star Wars, Halo and Grand Theft Auto.
  • The researchers continued to track the accounts’ recommendations for 30 days from November 2022.
  • The report notes that several of the videos recommended to the ‘child’ accounts appeared to violate YouTube’s own policies.
  • A spokesperson for YouTube has pointed to the YouTube Kids app and its in-app supervision tools which create a “safer experience” for children and young people on its platform.
  • For more, please visit Engadget’s website.

Autistic teenager attempted suicide after social media site refused to take down viral video

  • Barnoness Newlove told Westminister how a teenager with Autism tried to take his own life after a member of the public filmed him “when dysregulated and engaging in aggressive behaviour” in a fast food restaurant.
  • The video was shared thousands of times across many platforms.
  • The video was reported by the individual and his mother, but the sites would not remove it.
  • After attempting to take his own life, his mother contacted a voluntary-run service Report Harmful Content, which is run by the South West Grid for Learning.
  • After the service contacted the social media sites, and demonstrated the harm he was facing by the video and negative backlash, the social media sites removed the video.
  • The technology minister Viscount Camrose argued that the government remains confident that “service providers are best placed to deal with user complains as they will be able to take appropriate action promptly”.
  • He added that the Online Safety Bill includes “super-complaint provisions” to allow for systemic issues to be raised with Ofcom, however, it will not be able to investigate individual cases.
  • For more please see the MSN website.

Domestic abuse: School alert scheme extended across Northern Ireland

  • A scheme to support young people who witness domestic abuse at home has been extended across all Northern Ireland schools.
  • Operation Encompass will allow police to tell school staff if a pupil has been affected by domestic abuse.
  • Officers must inform the child’s school before 9am the following morning to share information with the safeguarding team in the school.
  • The partnership is between the Education Authority (EA), the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland.
  • The scheme was initially launched in County Down schools in 2021 and since has expanded.
  • Since the start of the 2021 school year officers attended 2,121 domestic incidents with 3,774 children affected.
  • 3,160 referrals were made by police to the schools’ designated teacher following incidents.
  • From Wednesday, the scheme will be rolled out to schools in 1,162 Northern Ireland.
  • For more on this story please visit the BBC News website.