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Two major factors have brought the issue of internet safety to a critical point in the past year.
Schools have been forced to move much of their learning online, leading to a huge increase in pupils’ internet use at a time when professionals’ face-to-face contact with them – and therefore their ability to pick up on signals of concern – has been severely curtailed. Research during the pandemic indicates that abusers are taking advantage in a variety of ways, from an increase in traffic on child abuse sites to a rise in concern about ‘fake news’ which may play on vulnerabilities such as eating disorders and self-harm.
The Government has published its long-awaited Online Harms Bill, which proposes strict new guidelines governing removal of illegal content such as child sexual abuse, terrorist material and the promotion of suicide. Sites must obey new rules or face being blocked in the UK. The move has sparked debate on the role of internet and social media companies in promoting safer internet use for children and young people – what level of anonymity should be afforded to those hosting online forums, for instance, and what should be the tests for blocking those posting inappropriate content?
The Education Media Centre is hosting a series of free webinars for school leaders, with sessions from high- profile expert speakers who can offer unique insight and advice to those on the front line. The first three sessions are:
Online harms and the campaign for transparency
For more information visit EMCTalks.org
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