Tech companies urged to reveal number of children on platforms  

  • The Children’s Commissioner and the Culture and Education Secretaries has urged companies reveal how many children use their platforms. 
  • Companies included Meta (owner of Facebook and Instagram)TikTok, Snapchat and Twitter, alongside Google and Apple. 
  • All these platforms require a minimum age of 13 for their users. 
  • This follows the warning to tech companies to expect tougher regulation under the Online Safety Bill and the Facebook whistle-blower, Frances Haugen, stating that the platform could make a ‘huge dent’ in the number of underage users but chooses not to. 
  • Full story, here.

Demand for Deepfake Porn and ‘nudifiying Images’ to be made sex crimes    

  • Maria Miller, an MP, will speak in Commons about banning the making and sharing of image-based sexual abuse under the Online Safety Bill.  
  • This would include Deepfakes and nudifying’ images of someone. 
  • Miller has called on the government to place laws that recognise technology and AI being used to inflict sexual attacks and violence on women and girls. 
  • Read our Beginner’s Guide to Deepfakes, here. 
  • Full story, here.

Rise in number of children arrested for far-right terrorism offences   

  • Counter-terror police have warned parents to be vigilant a rise in the number of children being arrested for offences linked to far-right terrorism.  
  • In the year ending June 2021, children under the age of 18 made up 13% of all terrorism arrests, up 5% the previous year. 
  • Vicky Washington, Counter Terrorism Policing’s national co-ordinator for Prevent, has stated that the COVID-19 lockdowns created the ‘perfect storm’ for the potentially radicalisation of children in online spaces.
  • Washington reports that social media being used to radicalise children and young people by members of the far-right has been reported in video games. 
  • Full story, here.

School pupils told to prepare for ‘part-time’ education over absences  

  • Pupils and parents have been warned to prepare for part-time education in the new academic year as schools struggle to cope with staff shortages due to COVID-related absences.  
  • The principal of a Co Down post-primary school has said that the current staffing crisis is now a serious ‘health and safety’ matter.
  • NASUWT, the Teacher’s Union, has said that a circuit break closure before Christmas should be a possibility.  
  • The Department of Education has stated that there are no plans to close schools early for the Christmas period and referred to the Departmental guidance requiring schools to implement a range of mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission.  
  • Full story, here.