Social Media sites are failing to shield children from inappropriate and dangerous content

Four out of five children feel that social media companies aren’t doing enough to protect them from pornography, self-harm, bullying, and hatred on their sites, NSPCC and O2 research has found. The fi ndings were revealed in the latest Net Aware guide, a parents’ guide to 39 of the most popular social media sites, apps, and games used by young people, produced by the NSPCC in partnership with O2. When polled for the new Net Aware guide children rated ASKfm, Omegle, IMVU, and Facebook as some of the most risky sites, prompting the NSPCC and O2 to urge parents to look beyond the “big names” and fi nd out about the lesser known apps their children are using. A 15-year-old girl who reviewed IMVU said: “There are some people on the site who are very unstable and vulnerable who are taken advantage of.” Pokemon Go, Periscope, IMVU, and Live.ly are amongst the new apps to be featured on Net Aware, along with the more well-known sites including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Nina Bibby, Chief Marketing Offi cer at O2, said: “The Net Aware guide helps parents and guardians get up to speed, giving them the knowledge and advice they need to help their kids stay safe online. Technology provides a world of opportunities, and at O2 we want to make it as easy as possible for parents to help their children safely make the most of all it has to offer.”

Research strategy to improve attainment

Plans for a major research programme to strengthen Scottish education and close the poverty-related attainment gap have been announced. The new research strategy will provide robust evidence of what is working in schools to raise attainment, and to help teachers, schools and local authorities make the most of existing data. Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “This government is firmly committed to creating a world-class education system that helps all of our children to succeed. To drive improvement and close the poverty-related attainment gap, we need to know what is working in our schools. This research will give everyone involved in a child’s education – including parents, teachers, schools, local authorities and government – a more robust evidence base upon which to make decisions about how to support every young person in Scotland to reach their full potential.” 

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