Police investigating Northern Ireland TikTok ‘rate my teacher’ trend

  • Police are investigating the ‘rate my teacher’ trend following a series of complaints from schools.
  • Teachers in Northern Ireland are in distress after being targeted by pupil-generated videos on TikTok using staff pictures from school websites.
  • Some videos are published from fake school accounts and some subject teachers to offensive comments, defamatory remarks, abuse, and unfounded allegations.
  • A PSNI spokesperson said that some posts were reported as containing potentially criminally offensive content.
  • This follows an announcement from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) saying it has requested an urgent meeting with TikTok to discuss why videos and accounts haven’t been taken down.
  • The ASCL has approached the Northern Ireland government about the issue too.
  • Check out our blog post for more information and advice.
  • Full story, here.

Instagram’s ‘Take a Break’ feature encourages app limits

  • Instagram is testing a wellbeing option called ‘Take A Break’ to encourage users to limit time spent on the app.
  • The ‘Take a Break’ feature enables users to set reminders for breaks after either 10, 20 or 30 minutes.
  • Users will be prompted to activate the feature from their feed and asked to select a time limit and will suggest alternative activities for the user to do during their break.
  • Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri announced that Instagram aims to launch the feature in December of this year.
  • This builds on existing time limit reminders on Facebook and Instagram and Facebook’s own ‘Quiet Mode’ option which mutes notifications.
  • This feature was mentioned by Meta last month following the recent ‘Facebook Files’ leak and the publication of research detailing Instagram’s negative impact on young people’s self-esteem.
  • Full story, here.

YouTube hides dislike counts on videos

  • YouTube has announced that public dislike counts on videos will be hidden from now on.
  • The change aims to keep smaller creators from being targeted by ‘dislike attacks’ and harassment and to promote “respectful” interactions between viewers and creators.
  • The dislike button will still be functional but will serve as private feedback for creators who will still be able to see them for their own videos.
  • This will help creators gauge feedback and still allows dislikes to tune the algorithm’s video recommendation.
  • During testing, YouTube found that people were less likely to click on a video just for the purpose of disliking it and adding to the count in ‘dislike attacks’.
  • Facebook and Instagram have a similar function where creators can hide ‘like counts’ on posts to avoid potential social pressures and comparisons.
  • Full story, here.

Online sexual offences against children in Northern Ireland rise by 80% in 3 years

  • PSNI figures reveal 308 online child sexual abuse offences happened between 2020-2021.
  • This figure is an 80% increase in three years (from 171 between 2017-2018).
  • These offences include sexual assault, rape or sexual communication with a child where any element of the offence was committed online.
  • NSPCC Northern Ireland urges the NI Executive to implement the Online Safety Strategy and Action Plan “without delay”.
  • For tips on staying safe online, check out Our Safety Centre.
  • Full story, here.