Latest iOS beta blurs nude images for children using Messages app

  • iOS 15.2’s latest beta will add an Apple Communication Safety feature to the Messages app.
  • The opt-in feature is designed to protect children from inappropriate imagery by scanning incoming and outgoing pictures for “sexually explicit” material.
  • Any images identified as containing sexually explicit material will be blurred and children will be notified about its content and told it’s okay not to view it.
  • The feature is tied into Apple’s existing Family Sharing system but has one crucial difference from when it was originally announced in August.
  • Parents will no longer be notified if a child decides to view a sexually explicit image.
  • This was originally criticised because it could ‘out’ LGBTQ+ children to their parents without their consent.
  • Children will instead have the choice of whether to alert someone they trust about a flagged photo.
  • Full story, here.

Twitch is now on the Nintendo Switch

  • The streaming platform, Twitch, is now available as a free download from the Nintendo Switch eShop.
  • The app features a ‘Home’ tab with recommended streams to watch.
  • It also has a ‘Browse’ tab for streams organised by game or category and the ability to search.
  • The Twitch experience is slightly more limited than when used on the web or app, with chat not being visible when watching a stream.
  • Although, users can access the chat on their phone by scanning a QR code.
  • Other streaming options on the Switch include YouTube and Hulu.
  • For more information on Twitch, check out our blog.
  • Full story, here.

Facebook bans ads targeting race, sexual orientation, and religion

  • Facebook and Instagram are preventing advertisers from targeting users based on sexual orientation, religion, and political beliefs.
  • Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, said it is removing targeting options that let advertisers seek users based on their interactions with causes, organisations, or public figures.
  • These changes will come into effect in January 2022.
  • Meta acknowledged that this may impact political groups and campaigning organisers, who might use Facebook for fundraising purposes.
  • This follows scrutiny of Meta over its record of user safety issues raised by whistle-blower Frances Haugen, who has released thousands of internal company documents referred to as the ‘Facebook Files’.
  • Full story, here.

 Majority of NI schools yet to request CO2 monitors

  • The Education Authority (EA) has reported that 400 carbon dioxide monitors have been requested out of an initial supply of 1,150.
  • Only about fifty schools in Northern Ireland have requested CO2 monitors.
  • The EA notified more than 1,000 schools that monitors were available for request in mid-October.
  • Teacher’s union NASUWT calls for “a proper plan” to ensure monitors are placed in schools and that “a strategy should be put in place for classrooms which are identified as unsafe”.
  • The union has also urged its members to request CO2 monitors for their schools.
  • The EA encourages schools to collaborate with the Department of Education (DE) to identify how monitors should be best deployed.
  • Full story, here.

No religious mix in ‘nearly a third of schools’

  • Department of Education (DE) school census carried out by the Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) shows no religious mix in nearly a third of schools.
  • Only 143 out of about 1,000 schools in Northern Ireland have at least 10% of pupils from a Protestant background and 10% from a Catholic background.
  • NICIE’s analysis also shows that 70% of pupils attend schools where there is less than a one in 20 chance of meeting a pupil from the opposite religious background.
  • Assembly members at Stormont are hearing evidence on a proposed Integrated Education Bill.
  • This bill would increase the number of integrated school places and set targets for the number of children being educated in integrated schools.
  • Several schools have formally changed their status to integrated but only around 7% of pupils in Northern Ireland are taught in integrated schools.
  • The Education Committee is currently debating the clauses of the draft bill.
  • Full story, here.