OFSTED RELEASES SEXUAL ABUSE REPORT
Education regulator Ofsted has released a report into child sexual abuse following its investigation into the prevalence and severity of sexual harassment and sexual violence facing children online and in schools.
The report finds that sexual abuse is widespread in schools, and for some children, incidents are so commonplace that they have become normalised, and they see no point in reporting them.
Almost 90% of girls and almost half of boys said that receiving unsolicited explicit pictures happened regularly to them or their peers, according to the report.
Other behaviours which the vast majority of girls reported happening “a lot” or “sometimes” among their peers included sexist name-calling, rumours about their sexual activity, being pressured to provide sexual images of themselves, and private pictures or videos being shared without their consent.
Some teachers were either unaware of the extent of the problem or failed to identify sexual harassment and sexualised language as problematic and professionals consistently underestimated the prevalence of online sexual abuse. As a result, the report recommends that even without specific evidence, they should act on the assumption that sexual harassment and online sexual abuse are problems for children and young people.
The report found that relationships, sex, and health education was generally regarded as ‘too little, too late’ by children, with many feeling that it did not equip them with advice that was useful to their own experiences.
Many children expressed reluctance to report incidences of sexual abuse and harassment, due to fear of reprimand and social ostracisation by their friends, and a sense that nothing would be done, or they might not be believed by their school.
The report recommends high quality training for RSHE teachers and training for all school staff to allow them better to understand the definitions of sexual harassment and sexual violence including online sexual abuse and to identify the early signs of peer-on-peer sexual abuse.
Over 900 children in 32 schools and colleges were interviewed as part of the investigation which was commissioned by the government in April after a spate of anonymous reports of sexual abuse made to the website Everyone’s Invited.
MOST CHILDREN HAVE NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES ONLINE
In September 2020, children aged 7-8 averaged nearly three hours a day online and those aged 15 to 16 averaged nearly five hours, according to a new Online Nation 2021 report by Ofcom, the government communications regulator.
The report revealed that 55% of 12-15 year olds experienced negative types of online or mobile activity. On mobile phones, the most common potential harm was being contacted by someone they don’t know asking to be their friend (30%), while 17% said they had seen something of a sexual nature that made them feel uncomfortable.
6% of children said they had felt under pressure to send pictures or personal information online, while 20% had accidentally spent money online they didn’t mean to.
The majority of children in the survey aged 12-25 said they would tell someone if they encountered something worrying or nasty online. However, only 1 in 7 said they had ever reported such an incident.
WHATSAPP SCAM GROWS
A WhatsApp scam in which users’ accounts are hijacked is continuing to spread, according to a BBC report.
As part of the scam, hackers posing as friends on WhatsApp ask for security verification codes while claiming that the codes had been sent to the wrong number by mistake. If the user falls for the scam and sends the codes, scammers can then access their accounts.
Once inside a WhatsApp user’s account, a scammer can obtain access to their personal information and can then repeat the scam using their WhatsApp contacts.
WhatsApp have urged users never to disclose passwords or security codes to other users, including friends and family members.
APPLE UNVEILS PRIVACY FEATURE
Technology giant Apple has unveiled a new “app privacy report” feature on its iOS devices as part of its drive to improve user privacy on its platform.
The new feature allows users to view what personal data and hardware is being used on each of the apps installed on their devices, including use of their camera and microphone and access to their photo library.
Users will also be able to find out if an app has contacted or sent data to third party sites and domains while it has been running. In addition to the report, iOS users will be able to prevent third parties from accessing their IP address, while the Apple Mail app will also hide its IP address to prevent tracking by mail senders.
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