WhatsApp criticised for plan to let messages disappear after 24 hours

  • WhatsApp is expanding its disappearing messages feature.
  • Previously, users could opt to delete chats by default after 7 days.
  • The new update will allow users to automatically delete messages after 24 hours or 90 days.
  • Children’s charities, namely the NSPCC, have criticised the change stating that it creates a ‘toxic cocktail of risk’ and makes detection of abuse more difficult.
  • Andy Burrows, head of child safety online policy states that the combination of WhatsApp’s disappearing messages and end-to-end encryption would not pass the risk assessment process in the UK Online Safety Bill.
  • Full story, here.

Hundreds of calls made to UK helpline about sexual abuse in schools

  • A national helpline has received more than 850 calls since its introduction.
  • It was set up after the Everyone’s Invited website revealed widespread sexism and misogyny in education.
  • The NSPCC, report that 150 of the calls have been referred to the police and other agencies for further investigation.
  • Incidents reported include sexual name calling, unwanted sexual touching, sexual assault, and rape, as well as online image-based abuse.
  • The helpline, launched in April, was only due to run until December. However, due to the magnitude of calls, the NSPCC has said that it will operate ‘for the foreseeable future.’
  • Full story, here.

Government action following murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

  • A major review into the circumstances leading up to the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes has been launched by the Government.
  • The aim of this review is to determine what improvements are needed by the agencies that had contact with him before he died.
  • Agencies tasked with protecting children at risk of abuse and neglect in Solihull will be subject to a Joint Targeted Area Inspection to consider effectiveness and advise on improvements to be made.
  • Watch our CEO Jim Gamble, discussing the case, here.
  • Full story, here.

No plans to close schools or for remote learning

  • The Department of Education has said there are no plans to close school early this term or to move to remote learning.
  • Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen, said that whilst she understood the concerns expressed by some teaching unions, classroom-based teaching remained the best option for all pupils.
  • The Department of Education have advised principals that they could move to remote learning for some pupils on a temporary basis in some circumstances.
  • These include if a class has been advised to self-isolate or there are not enough teachers and support staff for the school to operate.
  • If schools do move to remote learning in the above circumstances, they are ‘strongly encouraged’ to continue to allow vulnerable children and children with SEN to come to school.
  • Full story, here.