Last Updated on 21st February 2022

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Hello and welcome back to Safeguarding Soundbites, your mini podcast with me, Colin Stitt, Head of Safer Schools at Ineqe Safeguarding Group.
In this week’s episode, we’re discussing young people and dating apps, random acts of kindness day, Instagram and all the latest in safeguarding news. Let’s get started!

Valentine’s Day has been and gone and before you ask, yes Mrs Stitt did get a card and some red roses this year! However, for young people left feeling lonely or isolated, they may have taken to dating apps hoping cupid will strike in time for next year. Despite most apps being for those aged 18 and up, younger people could be using them due to ineffective age verification measures. This comes with risk – something our online safety experts explored in this week’s article on young people and dating apps, which you can find in our online safety section on our website www.ineqe.com

This week saw Random Acts of Kindness Day – a great opportunity to stop and think about how kind we are and how we behave in general online. From cyberbullying to trolling and online arguments, the online sphere can be a hostile place. This is especially true for young people, which is why we created a shareable to help you inspire young people to be kinder online. You can find it in our online safety section, alongside all our resources about online kindness and behaviour.
So join us and together let’s get #Kindness trending

This week in digital news, Instagram have rolled out several new features, including a ‘Take a Break’ feature that reminds users to take some time out after a pre-agreed amount of time, and sensitive content control settings that limits the type of content you can be exposed to on the app. Find out all the details on the new features on our online safety section.

In safeguarding news this week, the BBC reported that the global gaming platform Roblox had a sex problem. User generated games on this popular platform were found to contain inappropriate and sexual content. Known as ‘condos’, users including children can access conversations about sex and characters that simulate having sex online with other users. A spokesperson for Roblox stated that they are aware of the problem with condo games being live for a short time before being taken down using manual and automated systems. You can read the full story on the BBC’s website For more information on protecting your child or young person on Roblox check out our latest Roblox guide on our website.

Also in the news… there’s been significant progression of a bill that promises to tackle child sexual exploitation. The Justice (Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims) Bill will strengthen laws around sexual offences against children and improve services for victims of trafficking in Northern Ireland. So-called ‘up-skirting’ and ‘down-blousing’ would also become criminal offenses. The Bill is now in the consideration stage in the Assembly, with Justice Minister Naomi Long hoping to see the bill enacted before the May elections.

Thank you for listening and, again, we love to hear your feedback so please get in touch via our website, email or social media. Have a great week and stay safe!

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