Below is a summary of useful research and information for parents/carers relating to a range of topics including online safety, emotional well being, mental health, abuse and neglect, exploitation, stress, relationships and more.
UNICEF has put together a report called ‘The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World’, exploring how the internet is both hindering and helping children’s learning and life chances. Many children have grown up within a world of digital technology and life would be unimaginable without it but for so many who are unconnected to this world, it can be a huge disadvantage. 346 million young people are not connected to the internet and three out of five youth in Africa are not online, compared to one in 25 in Europe. Looking at minimizing the risks but maximizing the benefits of the internet, the report argues for quicker action, focused investment and more cooperation to protect children from the harms of a more connected world while maximising the opportunities of the digital age to benefit every child. To see the full report, click here: www.unicef.org/sowc2017/
The National Crime Agency (NCA) and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC)
The National Crime Agency (NCA) and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) have launched a campaign called ‘Who is Sam?’ encouraging parents to talk to their child about the behaviours that could put them at risk on live streaming platforms. The campaign features a short video demonstrating how offenders are able to build relationships with young people online. Find out more: http://ow.ly/Cjau30j60pM
Following CHILDWISE’s Monitor Report 2018, the Guardian examines children’s purchasing habits, social issues and media consumption. Surveys were completed by 2,000 children in the UK and these showed that:
– 79% said they felt stressed by school work
– 72% experienced feelings of worry or anxiety
– 58% had fears they were not good enough
-57% felt they did not look good enough
The number of children worrying about war, terrorism and global events has increased with one in three children aged 9-16 saying they were more worried about conflict in the world than anything else.
This research stresses the importance of giving children the opportunity to talk, telling them the truth, being open with them, listening to them and answering their questions honestly. Often talking to children about sensitive topics such as current affairs will help to alleviate many of the anxieties children currently face. To read more about this topic visit: http://ow.ly/Ehgj30ihjCu orhttp://ow.ly/Wkbv30ihjBv
Six months after a change in the law to make it a criminal offence for an adult to send explicit communications to a child, the NSPCC found that more than 1,300 cases of this had in fact been recorded. The NSPCC calls for social media organisations and the government to use technology to set up anti-grooming alerts for young people/moderators and identify grooming behaviour, in addition to bringing in a mandatory social network code that all must follow and fines for those that don’t abide by it. More information can be found here: http://ow.ly/mHBf30ifG3F
The NSPCC have also been working with the London Grid for Learning to create a pupil online safety survey. The findings of the surveys will be invaluable in understanding the risks young people face online and provide a better understanding of attitudes that will contribute to educational resources. For further information, please follow this link: http://ow.ly/fw5330ifG4s
Research carried out by Barnados has highlighted concerns in relation to a new app coming soon – the Facebook messenger kids app. The app will allow children as young as 6 years old to communicate with others, individually or as part of group, with video calls and photos. This raises particular concerns for children’s safety. Barnado’s commissioned a YouGov survey of 997 parents; 90% of parents said that they were concerned about their children using the new app. 61% said they were worried that strangers would be able to pose as their children’s friends on the app. To read more on this, please see here: http://ow.ly/s1UM30iOlqh
Children’s Commissioner Report
Whilst most social media platforms have an age limit of 13, it seems children younger than this are accessing and using the platforms. In October and November last year, eight focus groups were set up with 32 children between the ages of 8 to 12 to understand how social media is impacting the wellbeing of this age group. Read the report’s findings here: http://ow.ly/Fsyi30hSgPw
The Association of School and College Leaders
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) have released findings looking at the impact of pupils’ social media use over the last year in connection with mental health. An online survey was conducted of 460 secondary head teachers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Findings show that 95% felt that their student’s use of social media was damaging their mental health and wellbeing. Read more here: http://ow.ly/ZYAe30j5Zrr
The Department for Education (DfE)
The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a new phase in the campaign to tackle child abuse and neglect in England, aiming to improve people’s confidence in seeing signs of abuse or neglect. This is with the support of the Local Government Association and local councils, as well as police forces, community organisations and the voluntary sector. You can read more here: http://ow.ly/AOh730j5ZOT
Band Runner, a new online game for 8 to 10 years olds is soon going to be released. The game is fun and informative, with key safety messages and questions about staying safe online. Children can read guides on the website on topics like ‘chatting’, ‘gaming’ and ‘sharing’ and there’s information on how to access help and support if they need it. Within a ‘Grown Ups zone’, parent/carers can also find guidance on how to best use the website and game with children.
Take a look at the Thinkuknow website which provides education about sexual abuse and sexual exploitation for parents, carers, professionals and young people, with the aim of keeping children safe. In addition to the Thinkuknow website, the programme provides a range of educational resources, including lesson plans, films and cartoons, to help professionals raise young people’s awareness: www.thinkuknow.co.uk
Take a look at the Young Minds website which provides information and guidance for adults, young people and children on targeting and improving emotional wellbeing and mental health: https://youngminds.org.uk
Lives Not Knives
The LNK charity helps young people to develop their skills and capabilities with the objective of strengthening their employment and education opportunities. The LNK team work with the young people and a number of local organisations, forging relationships between them and helping the individuals become responsible and independent individuals within society: http://livesnotknives.org/
Childline is a free and confidential service offering support and advice to anyone in the UK aged 19 and under on anything from bullying, exam stress, relationships and more. Available any time day or night, trained counsellors will be on hand to offer support. Just call 0800 1111.
The FRANK service provides high quality, impartial information on the effects and harms of drugs to anyone, whatever their age, along with advice and support if they, their children or someone they know is at risk of drug misuse.
No Knives, Better Lives
Did you know that possession of a knife, even if not used, can carry a prison sentence of up to 5 years? No Knives, Better Lives aims to raise awareness of the consequences of carrying a knife and provides information on opportunities for young people: http://ow.ly/fggz30hJuRu
Seen and Heard
Please follow the link to complete a free online learning course put together by Seen and Heard about sexual abuse. The training is comprised of narrations from young people who’ve been exploited, will help to build your awareness of exploitation and abuse and tells us how we can help support people so they feel they can open up to us. It will take just under an hour to complete and the course is certified: http://ow.ly/OPlN30hIbbc
Zero Suicide Alliance
Zero Suicide Alliance have put together free suicide prevention training that will only take 20 minutes of your time and provide you with essential life skills to identify when someone may be having suicidal thoughts and where to direct them for appropriate support. Zero Suicide Alliance is a partnership between National Health Service Trusts, organisations and individuals who are all committed to suicide prevention in the UK and beyond. The alliance aims to improve support for people contemplating suicide by raising awareness of and promoting free suicide prevention training for all. To take the training, follow this link: http://ow.ly/6NIU30hFmW0