ONLINE ABUSE OF GIRL GAMERS
UK charity The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) has released a report into the online abuse of young women who play video games online.
The report was produced by a collective of academics and women gamers who gave evidence of their personal experiences of online gaming.
All women who offered testimony said that they had changed their behaviour in online games for fear of abuse from male players, for example by playing without a headset, playing a different game or ceasing to play online altogether.
Some women had experienced sexual harassment while playing online games, while others had received threats of rape by other players.
The report also cites a study by market research group Bryter, which suggests that 31% of female gamers refuse to reveal their gender when playing online, while 33% refuse to speak while playing online games.
The report has been submitted to MPs on the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Video Games and E Sports.
“With the rise of online gaming, levels of online abuse have sadly risen too, and it’s particularly bad if you’re female,” said Dehenna Davison MP, a member of the APPG on Video Games and E Sports. “We all need to get better at tackling this and calling out any abusive behaviour to make sure everyone feels safe whilst gaming.”
STUDY FINDS EARLY INDICATORS OF SELF HARM
An academic study has identified warning signs of self-harm in children that can appear up to a decade before self-harming behaviour is reported.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge found two distinct profiles of adolescents who self-harm. One group consisted of children who suffer from “early and persistent emotional difficulties and bullying” with these risk factors sometimes evident in children as young as 5. A second group exhibited risk factors later in childhood, evidenced by risk-taking behaviour, lack of social support and difficulties with peer friendships, described by the researchers as the “adolescent risky behaviour” pathway.
Of the children in the study, roughly one in six said they had self-harmed by the age of 14.
The report has raised hopes that self-harm behaviours – which can sometimes lead to suicide – can be identified much sooner and better treatment can be found well in advance of those behaviours developing.
“We typically wait for problems to escalate and then intervene to see if we can do anything,” Dr Duncan Astle told the BBC. “We really need to shift to a preventative, proactive model.”
The report makes a number of recommendations on preventative measures to stop self-harming, including anti-bullying education, help with emotional regulation and programmes to improve children’s self-esteem. It also recommends extra training for teachers, who are often the first to become aware of a child’s self-harming behaviour. The study found that sleep problems were frequently linked to self-harm behaviour and suggested that sleep training was an area which might merit further consideration,
DRUG GANGS RECRUIT CHILDREN ONLINE
Gangs are using social media to recruit children to drug dealing operations, an investigation by LBC has found.
Social media apps including WhatsApp and Snapchat are being used as part of the activity, which targets children around the age of 13-14 — but some as young as 8 have also been targeted.
In many cases, children are being coerced into sending explicit pictures, which are then used by gang members to blackmail them into dealing drugs. Children are also exposed to social media messages advertising different strains of drugs as a means to entice them into dealing.
“This young person thinks they are their friend, but before they know it they’re in debt, and they’re owing drug dealers and gang members and they have to pay it back somehow.” youth worker Alan Walsh told LBC News. “They get offered trainers, brand new bikes, like they’re part of a friendship group, riches they could never dream of.”
APPLE APP-TRACKING TRANSPARENCY NOW AVAILABLE
Apple’s iOS 14.5.1 update is now available for installation. The update takes roughly 8 minutes to download and install.
The update allows users to monitor which apps are tracking their activity across other apps and websites. This means that apps such as Facebook, which can track which websites you visit using your web browser in order to provide targeted adverts, are no longer able to do this without your express consent. Once installed, users can monitor or disable the tracking features used by different apps on their device by going to Settings > Privacy > Tracking > Disable “Allow Apps to Request to Track”.
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