PORNOGRAPHY NORMALISING SEXUAL VIOLENCE
We reported last week on various responses to the revelations of the Everyone’s Invited website and the suggestion that the ready availability of pornography to children online could be part of the problem. A study published in the British Journal of Criminology, appears to confirm this view.
It analysed over 130,000 titles describing available content on the home pages of the most popular online porn sites in the UK. These titles are easily and freely accessible to first time users and potentially to children. It found that “sexual violence in pornography is mainstream”, comprising one in eight (12%) of home page titles. These included descriptions of forced sexual activity, incest, so-called revenge porn and many references to “teens” and sometimes words suggesting much younger children.
The report concluded that because such content is not only common, but also presented in ways that suggest such behaviour is permissible, (sometimes mocking or belittling the harm), it risks normalising aberrant and criminal behaviour and this has “significant implications at a social level for understandings of the difference between sexual pleasure and sexual harm.”
It also warns that mainstream sites are not effectively enforcing their terms and conditions to prevent illegal material, despite having the ability to identify some of it using simple search terms, and users should be aware that accessing such material could leave them open to criminal prosecution.
Despite 80% of Brits having concerns about cyber security for themselves or their friends and family, it seems that many don’t take the most basic step of creating a strong password. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reveals that 15% use their pets’ names, 14% use a family member’s name, 13% pick a notable date and 6% use their favourite sports team or the word “password” as part or all of their password. Predictable passwords like these can easily be hacked by criminals. Instead, we are encouraged to use three random words to create a strong password and to use a separate password for each account and store it in our browers. Email accounts are the gateway to our other accounts and should always be protected with their own strong, separate password and ideally 2 factor authentication too.
OFSTED REVIEW OF SAFEGUARDING IN SCHOOLS
Ofsted plans to review whether schools need extra support to teach sex and relationships, and whether inspection regimes are robust enough around issues of sexual abuse, in light of the numerous reports by young people on the Everyone’s Invited website. It will also consider whether schools have appropriate processes to allow pupils to report concerns about sexual abuse freely. The terms of reference include a review of schools’ safeguarding knowledge, culture and effectiveness, (including their engagement with other safeguarding partners) and the adequacy of RSE/ RSHE/ PSHE curriculum and teaching.
MOBILES PHONES IN SCHOOLS
The Education Secretary this week announced support for schools which are struggling with poor discipline via a £10 million Behaviour Hub programme. He noted his support for a firm approach including action against the “scourge of ever-present mobile phones”. The programme aims to support 500 schools over three years.
FAKE REVIEWS ON FACEBOOK
Pressure on Facebook from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has led to the removal of a further 16,000 groups dealing in fake or misleading reviews on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook has also introduced system changes aimed at preventing such content in future, including bans and suspensions of offenders, automated detection, and modification of search tools to reduce access to fake accounts. The CMA welcomed the action but noted that it had taken over a year for Facebook to address the issue.
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