Last Updated on 8th March 2022

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Hello and welcome to Safeguarding Soundbites, the bite-sized podcast that brings you straight-to-the-point updates on the latest online safeguarding news, as well as a weekly round-up from our safeguarding experts.

How much do you know about the Metaverse? Recent statistics show that around 33% of adults in the U.K. aren’t sure what it is – which is why we’ve published our guide to the Metaverse. Metaverse has faced serious criticisms, including by England’s Children’s Commissioner after concerning reports by the BBC that children as young as 13 have been accessing virtual strip clubs in which sexual acts were being simulated. Find out more about the potential risks for young people and discover tips for how to navigate those risks on our guide available at saferschoolsni.co.uk

This week is eating disorders week so our online safety experts have been looking into how popular social media and influencer content about diet, weight and exercise can affect young people who are struggling with eating disorders. Learn more on saferschoolsni.co.uk

EU law enforcement agency Europol has announced this week that a joint operation targeting online child abuse has led to the safeguarding of 146 children globally. The investigation was launched in 2019 after an online service provider reported a large number of offenders were using their platform to exchange disturbing child abuse imagery. 46 individuals have been arrested and more than 100 other suspects identified.

The Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis has called for an end to school segregation in Northern Ireland. Recent figures show that only 7% of schools officially offer integrated education. Ministers are launching a campaign to combat religious segregation in education across NI.

The use of apps that help prevent self-harm has increased by 76% since the beginning of the pandemic. Many young people are now turning to technology or online peer support for help with their mental health. Visit our website to read more about how this type of support works and why young people are choosing it over traditional support services

TikTok is being investigated after a number of state attorney generals in America have joined forces to look into how the platform affects children and young people’s mental and physical health. The investigation will focus on the methods and techniques TikTok uses to boost engagement and increase the duration of time young people are spending on the app.

That’s all for this week’s Safeguarding Soundbites – join me again next week and in the meantime, get in touch to let us know what you think and keep up-to-date through our website saferschoolsni.co.uk

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