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June 1, 2023

Cost of living crisis raises fears of surge in online child exploitation this summer

  • A Barnardos poll of 1,191 parents and carers across the UK found that almost half will struggle to find money for days out or family holidays.
  • Just over a quarter (26%) said they cannot pay for activities like childcare and holiday clubs.
  • In its survey of 729 children aged between 11 and 17 years old, 71% said they will spend more time online during the holidays than term time.
  • 8% said they will meet up with people they have met online this summer.
  • 13% say they have already communicated with people they have met online but don’t know in person.
  • Barnardos’ Chief Executive, Lynn Perry has said that whilst any child can be at risk of exploitation, some are at a heightened risk due to families not being able to afford supervised activities.
  • For more, please visit the Sky News website.

While parents worry, teens are bullying Snapchat AI

  • TechCrunch has reported that while parents worry over Snapchat’s My AI ‘corrupting’ their children, Snapchat users have been bullying the platform’s AI chatbot.
  • Gaslighting and bullying My AI has become its own TikTok trend, with many users sharing images and videos of the strange and sometimes cruel conversations.
  • The chatbot has managed to shut down some inappropriate conversations and will respond by saying “Sorry, we’re not speaking right now”.
  • For more, please visit the Tech Crunch website.

Bereaved parents whose children took own lives demand more access to content they were exposed to online

  • Parents of children who took their own lives want authorities to take online histories into account when determining their cause of death.
  • The mother of Archie Battersbee, who died in August 2022, joined other families who have demanded more access to online content their children were exposed to.
  • Ian Russell also campaigned to access his daughter Molly’s social media history after she was found dead in November 2017, after it was found she viewed mass content related to suicide, depression and anxiety.
  • Christoforos Nicolaou, 15, joined an online forum where he was encouraged to do dangerous challenges, with threats being sent to his parents if he did not complete the challenges as instructed. He took his own life in 2022.
  • Christoforos’ parents have now launched the Christoforos Charity Foundation in his memory, and hope that working with other families to raise awareness of online harms will ensure his legacy reaches further.
  • The families’ meeting came as the government’s Online Safety Bill moves through Parliament.
  • The proposed law aims to regulate internet content to keep users safe and make companies responsible for the material.
  • For more, please visit the Sky News website.

Principal calls on parents to speak out against ‘draconian budget cuts’

  • The principal of a Primary school in Newry is encouraging parents to speak out against “draconian budget cuts” that will have a devastating impact on children’s education.
  • Kevin Donaghy, principal of St Ronan’s primary school in Newry, has written to parents to explain why teachers have been forced to take strike action in the coming weeks and asked for support in calling for more funding.
  • Mr Donaghy highlights that schools have had their budgets reduced for the last ten years but the latest will harm the ability for schools to deliver high quality education.
  • 96% of the schools budget this year will go on staffing costs and of the remaining 4%, more than half will be allocated to heating.
  • For more, please visit the Belfast Live website.