Hello and welcome to Safeguarding Soundbites! As always, I’ll be bringing you this week’s safeguarding news and the latest from INEQE Safeguarding Group’s online safeguarding experts. My name’s Colin Stitt, Head of Safer Schools NI – let’s get started!
Well, the school holidays are finally upon us! And while as parents, we might be daydreaming of family days at the beach and picnics in the park, for many young people, their summer bucket list might consist more of moving up the ranks in Rocket League or getting more engagement on Instagram. So, to help strike the balance between sunshine and screentime, check out our healthy habits screentime pack, with practical advice and guidance. Visit our website at saferschoolsni.co.uk to find that.
And if you don’t know your Rocket League from Reddit, we have just the thing for you! We’ve created guides to both the top 15 apps and the top 15 games that the young people in your life may be engaged with. You can find those on our website and on our social media in an easily shareable format. So make sure to check those out and share with your friends, family and followers and keep them up-to-speed.
Hopefully you’ve something nice planned for the start of the school summer holidays and for lots of people, those plans will involve tuning in to the latest part of Stranger Things, the hit science fiction TV series on Netflix. It’s part of the horror genre, the teenage characters explore mysteries of the supernatural and government conspiracies. But despite the age of the characters and a TV-14 rating, many have been concerned that the content could be disturbing for younger children. We took a look into the programme and how you can support the children and young people in your care when it comes to viewing content from the horror genre. Find that on saferschoolsni.co.uk or again, in your Safer Schools NI App.
In the news, the government is facing calls to ‘slim down’ its Online Safety Bill, over concerns on its potential impact on people’s freedoms and privacy. The legislation will require platforms to protect users from harmful content online and aims to make the UK the ‘safest place in the world for our children to go online’. For more information on the bill, search our website for our guide to the online safety bill.
Ofcom wants more young people to report harmful online content, after their recent research found that only one in six young people report potential harms they encounter online. They’ve launched a campaign with TikTok influencer Lewis Leigh to encourage people to report harmful content – you can find our recent article exploring why young people don’t report online abuse and inappropriate content, on our website or in your Safer Schools NI App.
80% of TikTok users said the app hindered their eating disorder recovery, according to a recent survey by ITV. Although content that promotes disordered eating and dangerous weight loss is supposedly banned on TikTok, research indicates that it can still be found, mostly hidden using code words. 82% of respondents to the survey also said that TikTok had a negative impact on their mental health.
Here in Northern Ireland, the number of children being home schooled has tripled over the last five years. The latest figures from the department of Education shows that there’s been an increase of 175% in the number of children being educated at home, although the true figure could be higher as parents are not legally required to register with the Education Authority if they want to educate their child at home.
The number of at-risk children missing from care has risen and is at its highest since 2018. A total of 37 young people at risk of child sexual exploitation went missing in 2021 to 2022. The PSNI has expanded its ‘Make Safe’ campaign by speaking to businesses and members of the public to educate them on the signs that a child is at risk of child sexual exploitation.
That’s everything from me this week – over the summer holidays we’ll be bringing you a special monthly Safeguarding Soundbites packed full of the news and safeguarding updates.
In the meantime, we’ll still be bringing you weekly articles with all the information you need to know to help keep the children and young people in your care safer online. Including our article next week on Yoti, the app that’s partnering up with social media platforms Instagram and Yubo to provide better age verification. You can also follow us on social media to get all the latest Safer Schools NI news and alerts. As always thanks for listening, and on behalf of everyone here at INEQE Safeguarding Group and Safer Schools have a great summer and stay safe.
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