New Guidance on Sexual Harassment, Review of Online Safety Bill & More



The Children’s Commissioner has launched a guide for parents and guardians to help them navigate conversations on online safety and sexual harassment with children.

The guide, which can be downloaded online, encourages parents to start conversations on these topics early, before children start using social media or have their own mobile phone.

It recommends that parents and guardians better familiarise themselves with new online technologies, while allowing children to “be the expert” when discussing them, in order to build mutual trust.

Insight from focus groups set up by the Children’s Commissioner show that many children want to share their experiences on online safety and sexual harassment with their parents but find it difficult to do so without the right environment.

“Talking to our children about this issue can be hard. Parents tell me they sometimes feel uncomfortable, not just because of the sexualised nature of the topic, but also because their children know more about technology than they do,” said Children’s Commissioner, Dame Rachel de Souza, DBE.

“It takes a lot of bravery for a child to share their experiences of abuse or harassment. Parents and carers are telling me they want to match that bravery in getting to grips with these issues.”


A parliamentary committee has published a review into the government’s draft Online Safety Bill. In their report, the Joint Committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill agreed with the Government that self-regulation by internet companies had failed and said the draft Bill was a “a key step forward for democratic societies to bring accountability and responsibility to the internet.”

However, the Committee identified a number of shortcomings in the draft legislation and set out a number of recommendations to help strengthen the Bill.

Outlawing cyberflashing, banning the sale of flashing imagery to sufferers of epilepsy and outlawing the posting of content promoting self-harm were among the Committee’s recommendations.

The Committee also argued that pornography sites should have a duty to protect young audiences from accessing their content, and that paid advertising should fall within the scope of the Bill.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is expected to present an updated version of the Online Safety Bill to parliament in March 2022.


The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has published a set of recommendations to help people stay safe online.

The government regulator says people should exercise caution when purchasing products online, in particular when the price of a product seems especially low or if the vendor demands payment by bank transfer.

The IPO has also advised that people check safety markings on goods bought online to ensure they’re not counterfeit or bad quality.

In a recent survey conducted by the IPO, 17% of participants were ‘knowing buyers’ of counterfeits, of which over half the demand (53%) was generated by ‘habitual buyers’.

“The growing trend toward online shopping has not gone unnoticed by criminals who deal in counterfeit goods and see reckless social media influencers as a major opportunity to sell dangerous and illegal fake products,” said Phil Lewis, Director General of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group.

“Almost all counterfeits contain toxins, dangerous mechanisms or additives, and consumers should always think about the dangers, before buying even the most innocuous-seeming fakes.”


Starling Bank has announced it will suspend advertising on Facebook and Instagram because of a lack of action by parent company Meta over the removal of scams on its platforms.

Starling CEO, Anne Boden, said the bank was waiting to hear from Meta as to how the company was going to address the numbers of scams on its platforms.

“We can no longer pay to advertise on a platform alongside scammers who are going after the savings of our customers,” she said.

Meta said the company was putting resources into tackling scams on its platforms.

The announcement comes amid signs of a growing proliferation of scammers online. An undercover investigation by the Daily Mail found that experienced scammers are providing online classes offering to teach others their techniques to steal customer bank details.

One scammer posted videos to TikTok offering to sell “The Fraud Bible”, a list of tips on defrauding top retail brands, according to the investigation, while another sold software that generated phishing texts to send to random mobile numbers.

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