Last Updated on 9th December 2022

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Hello and welcome back to Safeguarding Soundbites – the podcast that sums up the week’s safeguarding news. This week, we’re  talking about social media news, shocking new research figures and more.  


In the news this week, Twitter continues to make headlines with questions over how the platform is moderating content.  

The Centre for Countering Digital Hate has reported that hate speech on Twitter has reportedly increased since Elon Musk’s takeover. After reports of mass layoffs at the social media platform, Twitter appears to be relying more on artificial intelligence for moderation, rather than human review.  


Although AI has come a long way, it is not fool proof. Not only is it possible for mistakes to be made, but time and time again we’ve seen scammers, predators and trolls find ways to get around tech restrictions. Twitter was recently inundated for several hours with adult spam content. This was reportedly done in an attempt to obscure news about protests in China, but the incident highlights how weaknesses in content moderation can be manipulated – and how that can then leave young people exposed to inappropriate or harmful content.  


Also in social media news, Meta have announced that they will be implementing face scanning to verify a users age on Facebook Dating. If the platform suspects a user is under the age of 18, the user will be prompted to verify their age, either by showing a copy of their ID or by uploading a short video of their face.  


Facebook Dating is Meta’s dating feature that allows users of their app to create profiles and find potential matches. It appears for now that the age verification process will only apply to users Meta suspect are underage, rather than for all users.  

Meta will be teaming with age verification company Yoti on this feature and if you’d like to learn more about Yoti and age verification, head over to our website saferschoolsni.co.uk and search our online safety section.  


As the spread of Strep A continues to be a concern, the schools minister has said that preventative antibiotics could be given to children at affected schools. The statement came after a rise in strep A infections across the U.K. that have resulted in the deaths of nine children at the time of recording, including a five-year-old girl from west Belfast. Pharmacists here in Northern Ireland have warned they are experiencing a severe shortage of antibiotics and the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children have put elective surgeries on pause.  

Parents have been warned to look out for symptoms of the infection, including sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches. To find out the full list of symptoms and get more information, visit the NHS website.


More than one in ten young people have been exposed to online sexual abuse materials, according to new research by the Internet Watch Foundation. 14% of 18-24-year-olds reported coming into contact with websites that show child sexual abuse images or videos, while 6% of the adult population in Britain have also been exposed. The Internet Watch Foundation asks anyone who sees these materials to report the websites to them via their anonymous online report form on their website.  


And if Santa’s bringing your child or young person tech this year, make sure you tune in next week to hear our top tips on how you can gift devices safer while building cyber resilience.  


That’s all for this week. Thanks for listening to this week’s Safeguarding Soundbites with me. If you enjoyed this episode, we’d love for you to share it with friends, family and colleagues. Remember you can download the Safer Schools NI app for free, right now, through your device’s app store!  We’ll be back next week with a special Christmas episode – it’s going to be a cracker so make sure you tune in! Stay safe and We’ll speak to you next time.  

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