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Published: Wednesday, 27th March 2019

Online Safety Update

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 explicitly states that Online Safety in schools is the responsibility of the Designated Safeguarding Lead and makes reference to Sexting and Online Bullying contributing to peer on peer abuse. Rebecca Avery of Kent County Council has produced an excellent document about KCSIE2018 in relation to the online world.

Adult TV & Films/Netflix.  Areas of risk that have increased this year are around very young children accessing adult TV and films inadvertently through Netflix and other media streaming platforms. There are  concerns around the exploration of random video connection apps and dating apps in upper primary schools, particularly by groups of girls at sleepovers. The Internet Watch Foundation’s report “Online Child Sexual Exploitation: Examining the Distribution of Captures of Live-streamed Child Sexual Abuse” shows that we are right to be concerned about this age group.

Skin Gambling.  There has been some national concern raised around gambling through or allied to online gaming (Parentzone Skin Gambling). This research began because one young person told Parent Zone he thought skin gambling was a problem. It turned out he was not alone. Two in five young people who know about it agree.  Their investigation has uncovered a complicated ecosystem of games, sites and services that knowingly and unknowingly facilitate gambling with virtual currencies. With the help of young gamers, they have learnt that in-game purchases and rewards can easily be used to gamble, and that young people have enterprising ways to fund gambling activity

Dark Web:  There are also a growing number of young people who access the “Dark Web” for legal and illegal reasons.  In many ways, the risks of the Dark Web are the same as those that may be encountered in the Open Web. Young people in both environments may access pornography, indecent images of children, or sites selling drugs and weapons.  Young people are also at risk of exploitation and abuse by sex offenders who use all parts of the internet to target victims. However there is evidence to show that offenders are more likely to interact with victims on the Open Web than on the Dark Web. The Dark Web is more commonly used by sex offenders to openly discuss ‘tactics’ to exploit young people and share material generated as a result of their offending. It is also harder for law enforcement to investigate online abuse that takes place in the anonymous parts of the internet.(ThinkYouKnow)

Materials for parents for whom English is an additional language:  Work is being done by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety Education for a Connected World around producing materials for parents for whom English is an additional language, which can be read here.

Safeguarding Young People Online - A Question of Ethics?   If any schools have being contacted by companies selling online safety products, services and training of non- proven quality some even purporting to have national accreditation, then please read the guidance here by South West Grid for Learning.   They have produced guidance on responding to approaches, however, the RLSCB urge organisations to check that they are not paying additionally for information and services that can be obtained free at the point of use in Rotherham or indeed free of charge nationally.