The JTM Blog

Find updates, news and features from JTM

Author: Sean Jones (page 1 of 4)

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – September 2020

Topics for this month:

What is ‘Grooming’?

Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.

Children and young people who are ‘groomed‘, can be sexually abused, exploited or trafficked. Before the groomer reaches the point of exploiting or abusing, they will spend time forming a relationship with the young person. They will usually want to make them feel safe and like they can trust them.

A groomer can be any gender, sexuality, profession, or relationship to their victim. It could be someone you know, even someone like a teacher, parent, or family friend. It could be a stranger who has befriended you either online or in person. It can be literally anyone who is misusing the trust they have built with you

What are the stages of grooming?

Stage 1: Targeting the victim

Stage 2: Gaining the victim’s trust

Stage 3: Filling a need

Stage 4: Isolation of the child or young person

Stage 5: Sexualizing the relationship

Signs of grooming

  • The person becomes withdrawn, or they may seem troubled by something but unwilling to talk about it.
  • You notice them using or wearing something new, that you didn’t buy for them or is out of character and different to their usual appearance.
  • Groomers often aim to isolate their targets from their family or friends.

Six common grooming behaviour’s:

  • Forming relationships, perpetrators seek to form relationships with children and young people
  • Testing boundaries, perpetrators will try to test the boundaries of a child or young person’s comfort levels
  • Touching
  • Intimidating
  • Sharing sexually explicit material
  • Communicating secretly

How to prevent online grooming

  1. Ask children or young people who they are talking to on these sites/platforms.
  2. Keep a look out for abnormal behaviour or changes in behaviour.
  3. Keep an eye out for potential gifts that may have been received.
  4. Ensure a child or young person knows that they should never meet up with strangers they meet online.

Grooming is never ok, exploitation and sexual abuse is never ok, being groomed, exploited or abused is never your fault. These are very important things to remember.  If you are uncomfortable with a relationship it is important to speak up or seek advice to make sure you are safe.

For more information please visit the website below. There is a free confidential helpline where you can call or text 116 000. You also can access chat live direct from the website.

Also, visit https://www.nwgnetwork.org/services/?location=north-west which focuses on tackling child sexual exploitation and lists a range of organisations that provide support.

Harassment and what you can do about it – Merseyside Police

Harassment is extremely unpleasant and malicious behaviour that causes upset and distress – and it’s something no one should put up with. Follow the advice below to minimise the chances of becoming a target and prevent people accessing your information and finding out about you and your routine. Remember, the police always available for advice, and if you feel you’re being harassed, report it.

Statistics:

  • Eighty per cent of victims who contact the National Stalking Helpline are female and the majority of their stalkers are male, according to ‘Out of Sight out of Mind’.
  • Victims can be stalked for years with the average case lasting 15 months. But many cases last longer – 30% of people who contact the helpline have experienced stalking for over two years and 13% have been stalked for over five years.

Online
In this age of digital communication and social media, your safety online is paramount. Here are some useful pieces of advice designed to help you protect yourself:

  • restrict your social media posts to your friends and not public
  • check privacy settings on social networking sites and limit the amount of information you supply
  • Google yourself frequently to check your digital footprint
  • don’t use the same password for everything
  • be aware of geolocation and tagging on social networking sites and ensure that it’s disabled on your smartphone
  • keep your antivirus software up to date
  • report stalking to website administrators
  • if you believe that your smartphone or computer has been hacked or compromised, stop using it immediately and take it to your mobile phone provider or computer repair experts for advice


Answering the phone

  • Don’t answer the phone with your address or phone number.
  • If the caller is not known to you, avoid answering questions about yourself, no matter how genuine they sound.
  • If you have an answering machine, it’s advisable not to include your name or number in the outgoing message.
  • The message should never tell people that you are out or away; try to give the impression that you are only temporarily unable to answer: e.g. ‘Sorry, I can’t get to the phone right now, so please leave your name and number and I’ll get right back to you.’
  • If you’re listed in any directories, you might want to give your initials and surname rather than your full name.
  • Never show anger or fear over the phone: just remain calm, confident and if necessary, assertive.

https://www.merseyside.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/harassment/af/Harassment/harassment/

Street crime – How to stay safe
Street crime is often opportunistic, so making yourself less of a target, moving with purpose and being aware of your surroundings will go a long way to keeping you safe. Here’s where you’ll discover more tips on how to stay safe and feel more confident when out and about.

  • Be prepared – Plan your route in advance. Carry a charged mobile phone and some cash, and tell someone where you’re going.
  • Be assertive – From the moment you step out onto the street in the morning, look assertive and act and walk with confidence. This will always make you appear in control and much less vulnerable.
  • Be aware – Using a mobile phone, whether making a call or texting, wearing a hood or listening to loud music, all affect your awareness of your surroundings.
  • Hide it – Keep your valuables including your mobile phone, other devices and jewellery, hidden. Remember, out of sight, out of mind.
  • Go against the flow – When walking on the pavement, always face oncoming traffic, as it will make it far more difficult for thieves on two wheelers to ride up from behind and snatch your property. But still also be aware of anyone approaching from ahead of you. 
  • Trust your instincts – Try to avoid walking alone at night in places such as parks and side streets or any unfamiliar environment. If you do have to walk, stick to busy places where there is a lot of activity CCTV and good lighting.
  • Make a plan – And stick to it. First off, discuss with friends what to do if something were to go wrong on your night out together, e.g. if one of you has too much to drink or you were to get separated. Agree on a backup plan and look out for one another.
  • Be vigilant – Alcohol and drugs will reduce reaction times and inhibitions, which makes it harder to assess risks and decide how to deal with them. So keep an eye on how much you drink and never let your glass or bottle out of your sight.
  • Safety in numbers – Try to travel with people you know and, where possible, stick to routes and forms of transport that others are using and avoid shortcuts in lonely places.

https://www.merseyside.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/violence/stay-safe/

County Lines – Manchester Police

County lines is the name given to drug dealing where organised criminal groups (OCGs) use phone lines to move and supply drugs, usually from cities into smaller towns and rural areas. They exploit vulnerable people, including children and those with mental health or addiction issues, by recruiting them to distribute the drugs, often referred to as ‘drug running’.

OCGs often use high levels of violence and intimidation to protect the ‘county line’ and control them. One of these forms of control exploits vulnerable people by using their home as a base for dealing drugs, a process known as cuckooing.

There are several signs to look out for that may indicate someone is involved in county lines:

  • repeatedly going missing from school or home and being found in other areas
  • having money, new clothes or electronic devices and they can’t explain how they paid for them
  • getting high numbers of texts or phone calls, being secretive about who they’re speaking to
  • decline in school or work performance
  • significant changes in emotional or physical well-being

Cuckooing

Dealers often convince the vulnerable person to let their home be used for drug dealing by giving them free drugs or offering to pay for food or utilities. Often OCGs target people who are lonely, isolated, or have addiction issues. It’s common for OCGs to use a property for a short amount of time, moving address frequently to reduce the chance of being caught.

Signs to look out for

There are several signs to look out for that may indicate someone is a victim of cuckooing:

  • frequent visitors at unsociable hours
  • changes in your neighbour’s daily routine
  • unusual smells coming from a property
  • suspicious or unfamiliar vehicles outside an address

Prevent in a pandemic – Nigel Lund, North West Prevent Lead

Risks from radicalisation in 2018/19 statistics:

  • The education sector in the North West made 37% of all Prevent referrals in 2018/19 
  • 66% of those that received Channel support were under the age of 20 
  • Overall Channel support – 37% were Islamist concerns and 45% were Extreme Right Wing 
  • Of those receiving Channel Support in the NW, the Education sector had the highest number of referrals (17%)

Vulnerabilities in ‘Channel’ cases before COVID-19 (Think about how these will have been accentuated during the pandemic)

  • Adverse childhood experiences 
  • Mental health 
  • Interest in firearms and/or weapons 
  • Racial or religious hatred 
  • Accessibility of social media 
  • Isolation/social isolation 
  • Child in care/family disruption 
  • Extremist media content 
  • Violent tendencies/ideas/behaviours 
  • Suicidal tendencies 


Post COVID considerations 

  • Mental health, domestic violence, relationship break up, debt 
  • Importance of an individual’s use of online space – gaming, gambling, exposure to extremist material and content 
  • Potential grievance and injustice, e.g. Black Lives Matter 
  • Protests and demos 
  • Conspiracy theories 
  • Security – different landscape of queues at shops, one-way systems etc. 
  • Ofsted inspections will focus on safeguarding and Prevent

How extremists are using COVID-19 to promote disinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories

During the pandemic, local authorities have seen a significant decline in Prevent referrals, raising concerns about the welfare of vulnerable children and young people who require support.

As education returns, it is important that settings are extra-vigilant to radicalisation concerns, particularly as children and young people may have been exposed to disinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories, sometimes called ‘fake news’, due to extremists exploiting COVID-19 to spread hateful narratives and increase division. 

What are the radicalisation risks related to the impact of COVID-19?

There are three main radicalisation risks for young people during this pandemic:

  • Exposed to misleading and hateful content: Young people may have been exposed to fake stories or conspiracy theories about COVID-19, which attribute blame to minority groups.
  • Engaged with extremist individuals: Young people may have become exposed to, or engaged with, extremist organisations or individuals, especially online.
  • Increased vulnerability to radicalisation: COVID-19 may have increased vulnerability to radicalisation as children and young people may feel isolated, anxious, frustrated and angry. This could increase the resonance of intolerant messaging and the appeal of extremist groups or individuals offering explanations for the crisis.

What have been the extremist themes during the pandemic?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, false and misleading narratives about the virus have been spread, particularly online, to force change or to place blame on ‘out-groups’ and minorities.

This can further incite hatred, justify violence, and divide communities. While some of this occurs on popular social media platforms, it can also be found on lesser known, less moderated platforms. These sites can include easily available extreme and conspiratorial content.

The Commission for Countering-Extremism (CCE) have highlighted some of the following prominent extremist narratives:

  • Antisemitism: Several conspiracies blame the Jewish community for spreading the virus, including claims that COVID-19 is a Jewish plot, either as a hoax or a deliberate creation, to remove civil liberties and impose totalitarian rule.
  • Anti-Muslim hatred: Claims that British Muslims have flouted social distancing rules and spread the virus have been promoted, particularly on social media. Whilst these have been disproven, high profile extreme right-wing influencers have blamed Muslims for the spread of the virus.
  • Anti-Chinese hatred: Hate crime and hate incidents towards Chinese people have risen. Reports have found a 300% increase in the use of ‘hashtags’ that encourage or incite violence against China and Chinese people online.
  • Islamist: Islamist extremists have used COVID-19 to support existing narratives to promote the need for a Caliphate over democratic society, claiming the pandemic is a divine punishment for the West’s ‘sinful’ behaviours.
  • Right-wing: Right-wing extremists have similarly exploited the pandemic to amplify the weakness and hypocrisy of democratic values like tolerance and freedom.

Wider conspiracy theories: Extremist individuals have exploited a number of prevalent non-extremist conspiracy theories, related to 5G, track and trace and anti-vax, which can be detrimental to public health messaging. In some cases, these have been linked to anti-Semitic or other hateful narratives.

7 Minute Briefings

Attached are informative 7 minute briefings focusing on:

Important Training Links

Prevent Awareness Online Training (Home Office): E-learning, developed by HM Government, is an introduction into the risks of radicalisation and the role that professionals and practitioners can play in supporting those at risk

https://www.elearning.prevent.homeoffice.gov.uk/la2/screen1.html

Channel Awareness (Home Office): A training package for anyone who may be asked to contribute to, sit on, or even run a Channel Panel. It is aimed at all levels, from a professional asked to input and attend for the first time, to a member of staff new to their role and organising a panel meeting.

https://www.elearning.prevent.homeoffice.gov.uk/channel_awareness/01-welcome.html

‘Side by Side’ Training for learners – A prevent resource with modules on:

  • Radicalisation and extremism
  • Staying safe online
  • Who can you trust?
  • British Values

https://www.etflearners.org.uk/login/index.php

Google ‘Expert Approved’ apps

Google have recently announced that they are helping parents find apps that are entertaining and enriching by adding an ‘Expert Approved’ badge, to give parents some comfort that an app has been reviewed as appropriate.

In order for an app to receive an ‘Expert Approved’ badge, it must meet quality standards that were developed in partnership between Google and children’s education and media specialists. Apps are rated on factors like age-appropriateness, design quality, appeal to children, and enrichment potential. The app listing includes information about why the app was rated highly to help parents determine if it is right for their child.

Whenever parents search the Google Play Store, they can look for the ‘Expert Approved’ badge to quickly see which apps have been reviewed and rated highly by educators.

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – August 2020

Topics for this month:

Returning to school after lockdown – Tips for parents

As schools reopen across the UK over the next few weeks, pupils will be dealing with new school rules, routines, classrooms, classmates, Teachers and, in some cases, even new schools.

Parentinfo have published some useful advice for parents of all school ages, offering simple tips to help make the transition easier:

Primary school: https://tinyurl.com/y59hcyw4

Secondary school: https://tinyurl.com/y5sejsyh

Online safety at home

As everyone will have experienced recently, online use in the home has rapidly become the main method of communication and social interaction. With this in mind, children and young people should have the opportunity to explore why they should keep their personal information secure and the steps they can take to do so.

Thinkuknowhow have launched an online safety at home campaign, with a focus on activities that can be carried out as a whole family.

Family activity sheet – viewing videos online: https://tinyurl.com/yyt4sdx5

This activity sheet focuses on watching videos online. With a choice of 3 conversation starters, 3 online safety actions and 2 fun family tasks, you can learn together about watching videos safely online.

Family activity sheet – cyber security: https://tinyurl.com/y3asceyc

This activity sheet focuses on cyber security, and has been developed in collaboration National Cyber Security Centre to help you and your family be more Cyber Aware. 

The Thinkuknowhow website also provides numerous parent and carer help sheets, providing key online safety advice, as well as information on support services. These can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/yxfxbmt3

Prevent video – Staff, learners, parents/carers and employers

Groomers of all kinds prey on feelings of stress and isolation to exploit vulnerable individuals, both online and offline. ‘Prevent’ protects individuals targeted by terrorist influences by providing local, multi-agency safeguarding support.

The 5 minute video below gives an introduction to how Prevent works on the ground, told by those who have come into contact with the programme.

For further information:

Right-wing terrorism

‘Right-wing’ terrorism or ‘far-right’ terrorism is terrorism that is motivated by a variety of different right-wing and far-right ideologies, most prominently by neo-Nazism, white separatism, ethno nationalism, religious nationalism, and anti-government citizen beliefs. They usually aim to prevent something from happening or to change legislation or domestic policy, but try to do so outside of the normal democratic process.

Right-wing terrorists aim to overthrow governments and replace them with nationalist and/or fascist regimes. They believe their actions will set in motion events that will ultimately create these authoritarian governments. Although they often take inspiration from Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany with some exceptions, right-wing terrorist groups frequently lack a rigid ideology.

Right-wing terrorists tend to target those they deem to be members of an alien community, though they may also target political opponents, such as left-wing groups and individuals.

The attacks of right-wing terrorists are not indiscriminate attacks seeking to simply kill people; their targets are carefully chosen. However, because their targets are often entire sections of the community, the victims are not targeted as individuals but rather as representatives of the group that the terrorists regard as allies.

Social media platforms have been one of the principal means by which right-wing extremist ideas and ‘hate speech’ have been shared and promulgated, leading to extensive debate about the limits of free speech and its impact on terrorist action and hate crimes.

In 2018, researchers identified the YouTube recommendation system as promoting a range of political positions from mainstream libertarianism and conservatism to overt white nationalism. Many other online discussion groups and forums are used for online right-wing radicalization.

Right Wing Symbolism

A symbol is a visual image or sign representing an idea and to express specific ideologies and social structures, as well as to represent aspects of culture. They have the ability to be extremely powerful as they can convey complex messages, ideologies and history in a compact, recognisable form.

As such, relatively simple symbols can be hugely significant to different cultures around the world. One can see this in the reverence held for national flags or religious symbols. As such, the defamation of a particular symbol has the potential to be hugely insulting to entire communities or even entire countries.

Please make yourself aware of the signs and symbols by looking at the poster attached and speak to the Safeguarding Team if you have any concerns.

Dealing with anger and frustration due to Covid-19

When dealing with anger and frustration through difficult times, try to remember the acronym ‘Rain’:

  • R – Recognise when you are angry and identify its presence in your body
  • A – Accept that anger is there and understand that it is ok to be angry
  • I – Investigate sensations within your body – what does it feel like to be angry?
  • N –Nurture the anger. It is important that we are kind to ourselves when we are angry. Don’t be self-critical or shame yourself for being angry. Be compassionate towards your emotion; it’s reminding you of your boundaries. If you become considerate with your anger, it will pass naturally.

Take a look at the article focusing on ‘conscious breathing’ and the steps that you can take to relax your mind: https://magazine.vitality.co.uk/conscious-breathing-take-a-breath/?_ga=2.74253392.396443122.1598264150-196264826.1561454550

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – July 2020

Topics for this month:

Tips for coping with mask/face covering anxiety – Mind Charity:

Some of us may find masks/face coverings very hard to cope with, especially if you have a mental health problem. You might not ever feel totally comfortable with masks, but here are some things that you could try to help:

  • Get some fresh air outside before and after you wear your mask/face covering
  • Do something to relax you before and after you wear a mask/covering
  • Choose a face covering that hangs down your neck rather than fitting around your jaw
  • Keep your body as cool as possible. For example, wear loose fitting clothes
  • Add a comfortable scent to your face covering. This might be a few drops of lavender oil, your own perfume/aftershave, or a smell that reminds you of someone else

You can also experiment with different fabric types:

  • You could try making a mask from an old t-shirt that doesn’t bother you to touch.
  • Experiment with different ways to secure your mask. Some fit behind the ears, some tie behind the head.

Anxiety around other people wearing masks:

If people in masks make you feel uneasy or afraid:

  • Try to pay extra attention to your non-human surroundings. This might be trees, traffic or the sounds and smells you notice. Balancing what you’re taking in with other things that are unchanged might help things to feel less abnormal.
  • Take a distraction out with you. For example, listen to music or podcasts through headphones, or call someone you enjoy chatting to.

Mask exceptions for mental health reasons:

  • Don’t assume that someone not wearing a mask is being ‘selfish’. Many people are exempt from wearing masks/coverings and it might not be immediately obvious why.
  • It can be difficult to judge if you’re unwell enough to have a reasonable excuse for not wearing a mask, but remember, you are the expert on your own experience. You might decide that you have a legitimate reason for being exempt.

For more information on mask exemptions for mental health reasons, please visit: www.mind.org.uk/masks

Depression during the pandemic – Mind Charity:

In the current crisis, many of us are experiencing depression for the first time, or having stronger symptoms. Everyone’s experience of depression will vary, but you might feel:

  • Isolated or unable to relate to other people
  • Down, upset or tearful
  • Difficulty taking pleasure in life, especially if you can’t do some of the activities you enjoy
  • Restless, bored or tired because your usual routines have had to change
  • Hopeless or despairing about coronavirus
  • A sense of unreality, especially if your life has changed significantly during the pandemic
  • Guilty, worthless and down on yourself
  • Empty or numb
  • Low self-confidence or self-esteem
  • Physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
  • Difficulty speaking, thinking clearly or making decisions
  • Suicidal

It is possible to recover from depression and many people do – especially after accessing support. Your symptoms may return sometimes, but when you’ve discovered self-care techniques and treatments work best for you, you’re more likely to feel confident in managing them.

For more information, please visit:

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/depression/about-depression/

Advice on coping with furlough and a mental health problem from the Mind Charity:

Have a routine and try to stick to it as much as possible. Some ideas/suggestions:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day
  • Eat healthily and drink regularly – it’s all too easy to eat too much or to skip meals whilst on lockdown. It can be helpful to limit caffeine as it can lead to manic symptoms
  • Stay in touch with people. It can feel easier to self-isolate when you’re struggling but checking in with a loved one could help to brighten your day, and theirs too!
  • Have a 5 minute dance anywhere in the house to your favourite music. You might feel silly to begin with but it will help to lift your mood and energy levels

Bereavement help and support

Cruse Bereavement Care is the largest national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Cruse offer face-to-face, group, free phone helpline, email and website support to people after someone close to them has passed away and works to enhance society’s care of bereaved people.

There are no set stages or phases of grief which everyone goes through, but some feelings are very common.

In the early days you may feel shocked and numb, or you may feel nothing at all. The pain can be overwhelming, and you may experience waves of intense feelings or mood swings. It is common to find yourself going over and over events.

You may find yourself searching for the person who has died. It is normal to see the person, feel their presence or talk to them. You may feel guilty about things which happened before the death, or about how you feel now. You may feel very angry with yourself or others, or with the person who has died. You may have trouble sleeping or need to sleep more than usual. You may feel sick or panicky. As time goes on you may have strong feelings of longing, sadness, loneliness and sometimes hopelessness and fear about the future.

It is therefore important to look after yourself if you are experiencing grief following a bereavement.

Treat yourself gently, take one day at a time and give yourself permission to grieve. Don’t feel guilty or weak if you are struggling to cope, or need help.

Talk to someone talking can be really helpful, often family or friends can help. You might also be able to talk to someone in your community, and talk to your GP if your health is suffering.

Diet and sleep is easier said than done in these circumstances, but try to eat properly and get enough rest (even if you can’t sleep). Routine can help eating, sleeping and connecting with others. Exercise even a short walk to get some fresh air can really help.

If you are struggling with bereavement and would like to talk to someone about how you are feeling, you can call the Cruse Freephone number on 0808 808 1677 and a specially trained bereavement counsellor will be able to help and assist you. The helpline is available Monday- Friday 9.30am-5pm and weekends 10am-2pm.

If you would rather get bereavement help online you can use Cruse Chat which is a free online service and live chat programme available Monday-Friday 9am-9pm to anyone over the age of 18. Cruse Chat is a third party service provided to Cruse by GriefChat.

Young people and children’s understanding of grief and their reactions will depend on their age. A very young child might not understand that death is permanent. An older child or teenager may use denial to help them cope.

A young person may seem to dip in and out of grief – this doesn’t mean they do not care.

You can best support a child or young person, by telling them what has happened using clear language. Check their understanding, and let them talk and ask questions.

Reassure them that they are still loved, and that it is ok to let them see that you are sad too. Let them join in with funerals and memorials, but be led by them. Talk to their school or College and make sure other adults involved in their care know what has happened.

Click here a leaflet on bereavement

To find out more about Cruse and the services they provide please access the websites using the links below.

Once you make contact with Cruse they will be able to assess what care and support you need, this may also include bereavement therapy treatment, referral specialist counselling and psychotherapy.

For more information visit:

www.cruse.org.uk/

https://www.griefchat.co.uk/

There is also a sister website for young people suffering bereavement under 18 www.hopeagain.org.uk

Smart Speaker Safety
Smart speakers have grown in popularity among many households in the UK, with just over 1-in-5 UK households currently estimated to have a smart speaker. A smart speaker is used for things such as listening to music, setting reminders as well as asking everyday questions.

As with a lot of internet-ready devices, there also comes concerns over privacy and how to stay safe when using smart speakers within the home.

For the three main smart speakers currently available, we have provided details of their parental restriction and safety settings:

Amazon Echo

  • You can turn off in-app voice purchasing, or set a code to stop children ordering things from Amazon.
  • You can easily restrict access via parental controls to inappropriate content, like songs with curse words by creating an age-appropriate account for your children.
  • Turn off or restrict ‘drop in’. This feature allows users to drop into a video call with someone else’s Echo.
  • Activate the ‘Do Not Disturb’ option. This would be most suitable for when your family is sleeping.
  • Alexa can be asked to delete everything that has been said today. If you want to delete data older than 1 day, simply do so via the App, where you can also adjust settings to automatically delete voice recordings every 3 or 18 months.

Google Nest 

  • Users can set up Family Link. This is done by setting up another account for your child. This will require another android device, but will be controlled from yours. Your child’s voice will be added to your Nest.
  • Make sure to use Google’s Digital Wellbeing tool. This allows users to set up filters for music, video and assistant queries.
  • You can turn off Google’s Pay Assistant to prevent any unwanted purchases.
  • You can ask to delete all voice recordings on the Nest via the Google Assistant app. You can also adjust settings to automatically delete voice recordings every 3 or 18 months.

Apple HomePod

  • You can stop your child from accessing explicit content.
  • Users might also want to lock personal requests. This is what Apple calls the ability to send and read texts, add reminders and create notes. This will prevent anyone sending messages from your Apple device.
  • You can prevent children from making in-app purchases
  • You can ask to delete all voice recordings on the HomePod. Apple will keep recordings from your Speaker for up to 2 years, but they will not be assigned to you as an individual, rather they are listed as random and are kept to help with developing Siri

SafeToNet app
The COVID-19 pandemic, the related lockdown and closure of schools has increased the amount of time children spend online. This time is often spent without immediate supervision, making children more vulnerable to increasing levels of predation and risk online.

As a response, the SafeToNet Foundation is making available 1 million copies of SafeToNet’s safeguarding software free for life to families of the United Kingdom. SafeToNet is an app for parents that helps safeguard their children from online risks like cyberbullying and sexting, whilst respecting the child’s rights to privacy. It also gives children wellbeing exercises to help deal with issues such as stress, fear and anxiety.

Features of the app

To Children:

  • Keeps them safer online whilst respecting their privacy
  • Parents never see what their child is typing
  • The keyboard blocks harmful outgoing messages before the damage is done
  • Gives real-time advice and guidance on cyber-safety topics
  • Provides breathing exercises when signs of anxiety and fear have been detected
  • Audio practices assist with issues of low-self-esteem, bullying, anxiety and more
  • Emotion diary helps children to articulate and analyse their feelings

To Parents:

  • Provides powerful insights into a child’s digital world without snooping or spying
  • Shows the typical moments in a day with the high-risk messages are sent
  • Provides a dynamic safety indicator that shows a child’s proximity to risk
  • A list of the top 5 apps in use by their child where levels of safety can be improved
  • Allows real-time diagnosis of online issues as they arise

Parents have until midnight on the 15th of September to register their details via the link below and until the 30th of September to activate the App on their smartphone or tablet.

https://register.safetonet.com/covid

Free online training courses:

A reminder to staff, learners and employers that there are a number of free online training courses to access – we have listed some below!

  • An introduction to Infection Prevention and Control
  • Infection Prevention and Control Resource Pack
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Resource Pack
  • Prepared to save a life
  • Understanding Young Minds
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Keep Them Safe: Protecting Children from Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Awareness of Forced Marriage
  • Awareness of Type 1 Diabetes
  • Get Moving, Get Healthy
  • Understanding Animal Welfare in Violent Homes

https://www.virtual-college.co.uk/resources/free-courses

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – June 2020

Topics for this month:

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an organized movement advocating for non-violent civil disobedience from the police against African-American people. In 2013, the movement began with the use of the #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmermanin and the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin in February 2012.

For many decades, black people have been treated unfairly compared with people of European descent. Often black people have not been given the same advantages for instance, not offered the same employment opportunity for jobs, been unfairly harassed and made to feel inferior.

Time and again, black people have protested this unfair treatment, while there have been some improved changes and accountability in policing, there continues to be many challenges.

On May 25 2020, a black man named George Floyd was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They were arresting him for a relatively minor alleged offense, he did not deserve the treatment he got and he did not deserve to die. The arrest was caught on video, everyone around the world saw the brutally unfair treatment of Floyd at the hands of the police. The four police officers who killed George Floyd were fired from their jobs and have been charged with murder in one case and for aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in the three other cases.

After Floyd’s death, as well as other recent racist incidents in the US and other countries many protests have took place. Hundreds of thousands of people have marched to raise awareness about racism against black people and the need to find a solution.

Racism or discrimination of any kind has no place in society. Equality and equity for all should not be a controversial issue, it is a human right regardless of the colour of a person’s skin. The value of black people’s lives is not dependent on how well they can assimilate into a society that was built to work against them. Ignorance of racism is a choice, yet many people of society still fail to act on this to fight against it.

This doesn’t just mean protesting, donating, signing petitions or posting hashtags. While these all play their own role in moving BLM in the right direction, the most important thing we can all do during this time is educate ourselves. Thinking about this gives hope that the next generation will be the driving force to create meaningful change and more acceptance and equal treatment to black people and that their lives matter.

In order to be true allies to black people and to the many ethnic minorities in this country that suffer oppression under systemic racism, we need to understand how to get there. There are various toolkits, campaigns and resources on the website below to help take action and support this change.

https://blacklivesmatter.com/

Reading Terrorist attack

A terrible terrorist attack took place on Saturday 20th June in the evening in Reading, during which three people tragically lost their lives. At this stage the incident appears to be a lone actor attack, and it is not believed that anyone else was involved, or that there is any further threat to the public now that the offender is in custody.

We understand that staff and learners may be feeling anxious or worried and this is completely fine. The Safeguarding Team are here to support you. We would like to share again the Run, Hide, Tell video (see link below) which provides simple but useful advice for anyone who unwittingly gets caught up in a terrorist incident or other emergency situation. We have also attached the Run, Hide, Tell leaflet for information.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/stay-safe-film

Managing feelings about lockdown easing – Mind Charity

Lockdown has been difficult for many people. But when we were in full lockdown across the UK, things might have felt more certain, as the rules were clearer. Now things might start feeling less clear, and there may be new challenges. It can feel stressful when things are changing fast.

What might I be feeling about lockdown easing?

You might feel relieved or excited when lockdown is eased where you live. But you might also find yourself feeling less positive about the changes. You may move through a range of difficult feelings and thoughts.

For example:

  • Stressed and unprepared for the changes that are coming.
  • Anxious, afraid or panicked that the changes may cause an increase in infections. Or that someone you care about may now be put at risk when they weren’t before. For example if your children might be asked to go back to school or nursery.
  • Angry or frustrated. Perhaps because people aren’t following social distancing rules, and now can’t avoid them. Or you feel that the changes are wrong, or the measures in place aren’t enough. Other people may seem to have more freedom than you, if you’re shielding or live somewhere with more restrictions. Or you may feel that the changes will make your work more difficult or higher risk, especially if you’re a key worker.
  • Conflicted or confused. For example, you may want to socialise more if it’s allowed, but feel like perhaps you should still stay at home.
  • Protective of your lockdown routine, like you’d rather not have to deal with more change or uncertainty.
  • Grief for people who have died, and that you want to avoid more loss.
  • Reluctant or unmotivated to rearrange events that couldn’t happen during full lockdown. This could be big birthday celebrations or weddings, or everyday things like barbecues, meet-ups, or dating.
  • Uneasy about relationships that have changed during full lockdown.
  • Distrustful of the Government’s reasons for changing the rules, or how things are portrayed in the media.
  • Powerless, like you don’t have a say in anything that’s happening.
  • Stigmatised or that others will avoid you. Perhaps because you’ve already had coronavirus, or they think your work makes you more likely to spread the virus.
  • Like you’re having to make an unfair sacrifice. For example if you are being asked to go back to work when others are still able to stay at home.
  • Under pressure to return to work when you can’t, or when you feel it’s not safe to.
  • Unsupported or disregarded, perhaps if you’re asked to go back to work without having access to things like childcare, personal protective equipment (PPE), or safe transport.

Remember:

  • There’s no ‘normal’ response to lockdown or lockdown easing.
  • Your feelings might change. You might feel one way one day, and another way the next. It might not feel logical.

Your feelings might be influenced by:

  • your personal situation
  • what lockdown has been like for you
  • your own views about what’s happened so far, and what should happen next
  • lots of things that are out of your control.

As restrictions are being lifted differently around the UK, it might feel like others are following different rules to you. Your general mood may feel quite different to full lockdown, when most people were following the same rules.

What could help me manage these feelings?

Some of the feelings you’re having now may feel difficult to manage. For those of us with existing mental health problems, they may be particularly tough. You might find it useful to try some of these suggestions.

  • Get practical support from organisations who can help. Our coronavirus useful contacts page lists lots of organisations who can help with different aspects of the coronavirus pandemic, including bereavement, work and parenting.
  • Talk to someone you trust. It might feel hard to start talking about how you are feeling. But many people find that sharing their experiences can help them feel better. It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself. If you aren’t able to open up to someone close to you, you can call Samaritans any time on 116 123.
  • Try online peer support. Mind runs an online peer support community where you can share your experiences and hear from others. We welcome people from all backgrounds, whatever you’re going through right now.
  • Express your feelings creatively. You might find that it helps to express how you are feeling about the easing of lockdown by writing, drawing, painting or any other creative way that feels helpful to you.
  • Make choices to control the things that you can. Although the coronavirus outbreak means that your choices are limited, try to focus on the things you can change. It might be helpful to list the things you can change on one piece of paper and all the things you can’t on another.
  • Seek help. If you are struggling with your mental health, it is ok to ask for help. A good place to start is by speaking to your GP, or your mental health team if you have one. The NHS and other services have adapted to the coronavirus outbreak. There are video and telephone appointments available, if you need to speak to someone.
  • Alternatively, you can speak to JTM’s Safeguarding Team who can discuss your concerns and whether you would like external support to be arranged.

For further information, visit: https://www.mind.org.uk/

Health and Safety – Tips for working from home

  1. Get ready for the day – Get up early and prepare for the day in the same way you would if you were going into the office. Some people find it useful to wear office clothes  – but this is ultimately up to preference.
  2. If you have a spare room or space, use it – Try to allocate a specific place where you work. This will help you to maintain a distinction between home and work, which can help you to relax when you need to, but also be productive when working.
  3. Keep your normal work structure – Work the hours that you normally would. Know when to log off and don’t be tempted to just keep working the whole day – you’ll be more productive if you keep a good structure.
  4. Drink plenty of water and keep moving – It can be easy for a whole day to pass before you realise you’ve been largely sedentary or dehydrated. Set reminders to drink water and to get up and move every hour.
  5. Find what works for you – You might find new things that work for you, whether it’s taking a lunch break at the same time, working at a standing desk, or putting on shoes to make you feel more productive.

How best to respond? Contextual Safeguarding Factsheet

LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer/Questioning) people can face unique and complex challenges growing up and later in life. It is integral that we educate ourselves and young people in our care about LGBTQ communities to promote tolerance not only during Pride month, but throughout the year.

Find out how to best respond to the needs of LGBTQ young people by reading the Contextual Safeguarding fact sheet created by Ineqe.

New Xbox parental control app

During COVID-19, it is inevitable that everyone – and especially young people – are spending more time online due to lockdown restrictions. Microsoft have announced that that will shortly be releasing a new family settings app for their games console. The Xbox Family Settings app is for parents to manage their children’s gaming activities on Xbox One consoles, from iOS and Android phones.

Currently, parental controls for the Xbox are controlled via the settings on the console itself, a process which is not as simple and straightforward as it should be.

With the new app parents, don’t now actually need to go near the game console itself – the settings are controlled via the app.

The app will allow a parent to:

  • Set screen time and update content restrictions
  • View activity reports – gain insight into your family’s Xbox gaming activity with daily and weekly activity reports
  • Regulate screen time – set console screen time for your children and block or unblock content
  • Manage incoming requests for screen time.
  • Friend management – stay on top of incoming friend requests
  • Employ privacy tools – set communication limits and allow online multiplayer in each child’s Xbox profile

The Xbox Family Settings app will be released by Microsoft shortly.

Gaming loot boxes and gambling

Most games and apps have in-game/in-app purchases, particularly free ones, for example Fortnite. Free games are a deliberate way of gaining traction and popularity quickly, meaning the likelihood of big profits through in-games purchases is significantly higher. There are a range of things that can be purchased, but one of the most popular are loot boxes.

Loot boxes are virtual treasure chests containing undisclosed items that can be used in games, i.e. the player doesn’t what they are buying until the transaction has been completed. These might be ways of customising characters or weapons (‘skins’). These contents may affect progress through the game, or simply be designed to convey status.

Loot boxes are a key feature of many online games. They have come under fire for using predatory techniques to push players to spend money while gaming. Some researchers have noted an overlap between loot boxes and problem gambling. It is also known that some children will gamble items for real money using unregulated websites (known as skin gambling). 

Despite resembling a lottery, loot boxes are not classified as gambling in the UK. So far, the UK Gambling Commission has accepted industry arguments that because the items inside are only used in the game, loot boxes shouldn’t be seen as gambling. Other countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, and China, have taken a different view and moved to classify loot boxes as gambling or to restrict them.

This and more has prompted the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to put out a call for evidence on loot boxes to examine links to gambling-like behaviour and excessive spending in games. It is hoped that the findings will provide a solid foundation for future steps and will be considered alongside a review of the Gambling Act.

In the meantime, parents should be aware that children are often pressurised to spend money on loot boxes.  Some things for parents to consider when thinking about their children and gaming:

  • Show an interest in the games they play. If your child is being exposed to loot boxes, talk to them about why they think they are being asked to spend money without knowing what they’ll get in return. 
  • Buying a loot box occasionally isn’t going to lead to problem gambling. The concern comes when the habit gets out of control. Make sure to get involved and be aware of what your child is spending. 
  • Check that your card details aren’t saved on any gaming system. It’s easy for a child to get tempted into buying a new skin for their character or a new weapon camo – or simply to click the wrong button and make an accidental purchase. Beware of having payment methods (vouchers, prepaid cards, debit/credit card) linked to their account.

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – May 2020

Topics for this month:

This week is ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’:18th – 24th May 2020

Mental Health Awareness Week aims to get people talking about their mental healthand reduce the stigma that can stop people from asking for help and reaching out. Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

Theme of awareness week is ‘Kindness’

One thing that we have seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in uncertain times. We have learnt that amid the fear, there is also community, support and hope.

The added benefit of helping others is that it is good for our own health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress and improve your emotional wellbeing. Research has proven this is true whether you are giving or receiving the acts of kindness.

‘Kindness’ unlocks our shared humanity and is central for our mental health. It has the potential to bring people together, with benefits for everyone, particularly at times of great stress.

Kindness could transform schools, places of work, communities and families. To help shape a society that tips the balance in favour of good mental health, for all of us, but especially for those who are most vulnerable.  

10 random acts of kindness:

  1. Smile
  2. Hold the door open for others
  3. Give an honest compliment
  4. Thank someone who you appreciate
  5. Be a good listener
  6. Offer your help to someone
  7. Ask another person how their day is going
  8. Ask another person how they are
  9. Treat someone to a coffee or tea
  10. Give something and not expect anything in return

What can you do for mental health awareness week!

There are a range of events, resources and fun challenges on the Mental Health Foundation website, which include social media graphics, posters and support packs on what you can do to get involved and take action. You can also join on line, the Foundation campaign is to encourage the nation talking about kindness and mental health.

Five warning signs of mental illness

  • long-lasting sadness or irritability
  • extremely high and low moods
  • excessive fear, worry, or anxiety
  • social withdrawal
  • dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits

Types of mental illness

  • mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder)
  • anxiety disorders
  • personality disorders
  • psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia)
  • eating disorders
  • trauma-related disorders (such as post-traumatic stress disorder)

For more information on the mental health awareness week you can visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

Mental health guidance and resources

Mind Charity: Coronavirus and your wellbeing: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

NHS: Mental wellbeing while staying at home: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/

The safeguarding team watched a webinar by the Education Child Protection in relation to mental health and building resilience. A very thought provoking video was shared which focuses on ‘social media vs reality’ to show the effects social media can have on our mental health.

The video can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EFHbruKEmw and we encourage you to share it with friends, family, learners and employers.

We have created a poster containing the information from the webinar and attached it to this bulletin – please ensure that you share it to raise awareness of mental health and support available.

Top tips for learning/working from home

Learning from home is a new experience for most of us. In addition you may find that you are working from home rather than attending your workplace. Here are 5 top tips;

TIME – Decide and then allocate the best time of the day for you to learn. You might have to book this time with the rest of your family. If you are working from home, make sure you take regular breaks. It is easy to forget the time so make sure you keep to a schedule and switch off when you should do.

SPACE– Decide where the best place in your house is for you to learn/work from. Again, you might have to negotiate with others for that space. Where possible a room with natural light can be beneficial.

EQUIPMENT – A comfortable seat, the right headphones and the right lighting – all make learning/working from home better.

REGULAR BREAKS – Make sure you move away from your workstation regularly, maybe every 20 – 30 minutes. If you have a garden, take a walk outside and make sure you drink plenty of water.

MAKE THE MOST OF LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES – Take advantage of any groups or webinars and use them to the full. It’s a great time to learn a new hobby or develop new skills. Try cooking or baking, a new dance, a new language, and reading more often – whatever you are interested in.

Tackling fake news during the pandemic

This is a confusing time for us all, and sometimes it can be challenging to know what to believe. Research published by Ofcom shows half of all UK adults exposed to fake news regarding Coronavirus in the first week of April. 

Young people are spending much more time online and are likely to be exposed to much more fake news than usual. Young people need careful guidance on how to identify fake news and misinformation online.

COVID-19 has changed our everyday lives, in a way previously thought imaginable. The impact of the pandemic has also seen the spread of fake news and misinformation.  A report published by the EU this month accused Russia and China and other nation-states of targeting European citizens with fake news regarding the pandemic. There are also concerns that self-proclaimed ‘experts’ are offering false medical information for cures. 

Facebook has been facing international criticism after a report found that the company was not doing enough to stop the spread of fake news during the pandemic. Experts have called this a ‘perfect storm’ of online disinformation. 

Here are some of the most common fake news stories in circulation: 

  • 5G telecommunication masts are causing Coronavirus
  • Coronavirus is a biological weapon created by either Russia, the USA, China or the UK depending on who is peddling the story
  • Migrants have contributed to the spread of Coronavirus 
  • Chain messages from doctors sharing immunity tips not backed by science

The government has set up a rapid response unit which is dealing with around 10 incidents every day. They have also re-launched the ‘Don’t Feed the Beast’ campaign which urges people to carefully consider things that they share or post online. A ‘SHARE checklist’ has been produced, giving things to consider before sharing on information and which can be seen here: https://sharechecklist.gov.uk/

The fact-checking website Full Fact is a great place to see the latest COVID-19 ‘bad information’ and fake news stories that are currently doing the rounds (https://fullfact.org/health/coronavirus/)

The INEQE Safeguarding Group have produced some further advice on the matters covered here at https://ineqe.com/2020/05/04/fake-news/

Digital safety during COVID-19

The Department for Education’s North West Regional Prevent Co-ordinator, Nigel Lund, has prepared a very useful summary of advice on safeguarding from harm online in the context of what we are all experiencing at the moment. The guidance can be used by training providers in both their professional and home lives.

The advice covers how to spot signs of online exploitation, steps to improve digital safety and guidance on what to do if you feel someone is being affected by the concerns mentioned. A lot of safeguarding organisations are producing some great advice on digital safety at present, but the safeguarding team feel that Nigel’s information sheet attached, is an excellent analysis of the current concerns being faced.

Learning about online safety at home (ThinkUKnow)

ThinkUKnow have created a page to support parents and young people online. The site includes home activity packs with simple 15 minute activities support children’s understanding of online safety at a time. These can be used to complement work provided by schools for home learning and are provided for primary and secondary school age groups.

There is also parent support information for primary and secondary age groups.

The resources and more information can be found here: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/Support-tools/home-activity-worksheets

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – April 2020

Topics for this month:

Coronavirus Leaflet

The government have produced a leaflet on what to do to help stop the spread of coronavirus, including information on symptoms and government support. We have attached it to the bulletin for your information. Click here for the coronavirus leaflet

Mental health and wellbeing information

The government have produced guidance on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during this difficult time. We have put together our own information leaflet for you which we have attached. The information can also be found by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19

Coronavirus cyber attacks

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, along with their US counterparts have warned about the increased exploitation of vulnerable people and systems by criminals using the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic as the subject context.

Cyber criminals are using the pandemic for commercial gain, deploying a variety of ransomware and other malware.

Threats observed include:

  • Phishing, using the subject of coronavirus or COVID-19 as a lure
  • Malware distribution using coronavirus or COVID-19 themed lures
  • Registration of new website domain names containing coronavirus or COVID-19 related wording
  • Attacks against newly (and often rapidly) deployed remote access or remote working infrastructure, e.g. GoToMyPC, Zoom or TeamViewer etc.

Some specific examples of the types of coronavirus scam that are being used can be found here: https://ineqe.com/2020/03/27/how-to-recognise-these-popular-covid-19-scams/

The organisations have produced guidance (see attached) on how to mitigate these risks, summarised by the following statement:

‘Malicious cyber actors are continually adjusting their tactics to take advantage of new situations, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Malicious cyber actors are using the high appetite for COVID-19 related information as an opportunity to deliver malware and ransomware and to steal user credentials. Individuals and organisations should remain vigilant. For genuine information about the virus, please use trusted resources such as the UK government website, Public Health England or NHS websites.’

Support for domestic abuse victims

The Home Secretary has launched a new public awareness raising campaign highlighting that if anyone is at risk of, or experiencing domestic abuse, help is still available. The campaign, under the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone, will aim to reassure those affected by domestic abuse that support services remain available during this difficult time.

It will encourage members of the general public to show their solidarity and support for those who may be suffering, by sharing government digital content or a photo of a heart on their palm, and asking others to do the same, to show victims that they are not alone and to convey to perpetrators that domestic abuse is unacceptable in any circumstances.

The campaign will be publicising support available including the freephone, 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline number – 0808 2000 247 – run by Refuge, and www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk

From next week, adverts raising awareness of where people can seek help will run across social media and materials will be made available to a wide range of partners including charities and supermarkets. Additionally, the Home Secretary announced that the Home Office is working with charities and the Domestic Abuse Commissioner to provide an additional £2 million to immediately bolster domestic abuse helplines and online support.

Charities have reported a surge in activity since the social distancing guidelines came into force, so the funding will help to ensure that all victims can access vital support safely and securely. Tools such as online support services, including a messaging service with domestic abuse experts, will help those most at risk of abuse seek support and help and guidance during periods when it might be difficult for them to talk on the phone.

Additional helplines/support available:

Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men: Freephone 0808 8010 327

Domestic Abuse Services and Refuge in the North West for Women and Children (www.safenet.org.uk) 0300 3033 581

Helping men escape domestic abuse: (Mankind). For confidential help, call 01823 334244

Online radicalisation information sheet – Attached

We recognise that this is a difficult time for parents and guardians and that the Coronavirus is having a significant impact on young people and families across the world. This will almost certainly lead to children and young people spending more time online. Our experience of radicalisers is that they may link their extreme views to the global, national or individual response to Coronavirus which could be shown through films, images and discussions as:

  • Conspiracy theories
  • Blaming other people for the virus and its impact on life
  • Hate against groups because of race, religion, sexuality and gender

Click here for the radicalisation information sheet

Radicalisers can target young people by sending friend requests on popular sites and platforms to see who responds. They may strike up a conversation to build a relationship and ask them to chat privately, the child or young person may then be persuaded and encouraged to join new or secret groups. Often young people will be asked to continue discussions, not via the mainstream social media, but via other platforms and forums to give the radicaliser a greater degree of anonymity and can be less easy to monitor.

Check in with them and ask them about what they are viewing, who they are speaking to and how they are feeling. This might feel difficult, but here are some tips to help you:

  • Listen carefully to their fears and worries
  • Avoid complicated and worrying explanations that could be frightening and confusing
  • Give them advice and support to help them understand Coronavirus
  • Help them cope with bereavement and grief

You can get more information from the following websites to help understand why people sometimes need more support if they have been radicalised, what is available and how to access it. These websites can help you share your concerns online:

Houseparty App

This is a new app that has grown in popularity over the last 3-4 weeks, due to the need for people to find alternative ways to stay in touch with each other due to social distancing restrictions. It has become especially popular with children, who are using it to keep in touch with their school friends and relatives.

The app allows 2-8 people into a video chat room at any one time, where they can also send messages (group and private) to each other, video voicemails (known as facemails) and play games and quizzes etc. Users also receive notifications when their friends are in the Houseparty chat room, if they are not logged in themselves.

Some potential safeguarding risks for children/vulnerable adults:

  • Screenshots can be taken by users
  • Links to join chatrooms can be shared publicly, meaning uninvited guests may be able to join
  • When a friend is invited to join another chatroom, mutual friends of that person can also join without an invitation

Ways to stay safe when using the app:

  • Users can ‘lock their rooms’ using the private mode, meaning uninvited guests are unable to join
  • As with other apps, users can be blocked and/or reported

Please see the attached safety card on how to minimise safeguarding risks when using the Houseparty app.

The Covid Telegraph

The Covid Telegraphis a new website that has been set up in response to the huge amount of information – good and bad – that is now in the public domain regarding the coronavirus pandemic. This site has accumulated facts, articles, and advice in relation to the Covid 19 virus, with the criteria for publication being that the information has come from a recognised expert in their field and a verifiable source.

The success of this website comes from the fact that people viewing its content can be confident that they are reading genuine information and research about the current situation.

The Covid Telegraph website can be found here: https://thecovidtelegraph.com/

Liverpool Safeguarding Children Partnership – Free online e-Learning modules

Liverpool Safeguarding Children Partnership supports continuous learning and improvement by providing a wide range of opportunities for multi agencies and providers to come together to reflect upon the quality of their ‘safeguarding services’ and to ‘learn together’ from training experiences to improve services as a result.

There are a number of free online CPD resources available with LSCP on a wide variety of topics. Listed below are some safeguarding courses and resources that you may find useful and to help you understand how to work together effectively to safeguard the children and young people in our care.

  • Cyber Security, an introduction to stay safe online – Open University – Staying Safe Online
  • Action Counters Terrorism-ACT  
  • Counter terrorism Awareness – Counter Terrorism Policing-ACT 
  • Suicide Awareness – Zero Suicide Alliance – Let’s Talk 
  • Online Safety – CEOP – Online Safety  
  • Parental mental Health and Families – SCIE  
  • Domestic Abuse/Toxic Trio – AVA Project  
  • Human Trafficking Awareness – Salvation Army  
  • Child Sexual Exploitation – PACE  

Please visit the LSCP website to access the free online Safeguarding training using this link provided https://liverpoolscb.org.uk/scp/training/e-learning-modules

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – March 2020

Topics for this month:

Coronavirus – How to protect your mental health and wellbeing

Coronavirus is dominating headlines around the world. While the media focus is on the impact on people’s physical health and what’s being done to prevent the spread of the disease; anxiety about the virus can be overlooked and can also have an impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Think about access to media and social media

Some people can be quite paralysed by this anxiety and may want to completely stop interacting with the news. But for others this can be quite difficult, they want to know what’s going on- not knowing makes it worse. You may want to think about where you are getting your information from. Are the reports sensationalising the situation and scaremongering? Or do you feel they are reporting responsibly and with balance?

  • Don’t ignore your anxiety: It is very normal to feel scared about something like this. Acknowledge that you feel this way and don’t ignore these feelings, as exploring why you feel this way can help – a counsellor can help you do this.
  • Do something you can control: It can help to express this anxiety in a way that you can control. That could be writing down what you feel, or keeping a journal.
  • Let it go: Once you’ve written it down, try and let it go. Allow yourself to worry, put it down in writing in a notebook, and then put that away.
  • Bring it back to the present: With anxiety, it’s often like you feel you are 10 steps ahead, so bring things back to the present.
  • Think about your thought process: Be really aware of what you’re thinking. Sometimes we are catastrophising, we are focusing on all these ‘what ifs?’ Bring things back to what you actually know. Reassure yourself, calm yourself.
  • Wellbeing check: Make sure you are looking after yourself, doing what you can to help get a good night’s sleep, eating well and doing exercise as it can help make us more robust against anxiety.
  • Self-management: It is important to make sure you are doing the usual self-management of your condition. Anxiety and the release of stress hormones can exacerbate physical symptoms. Anxiety links our brain and body. Make sure you are doing what you can to look after your physical health.
  • Breathing techniques and mindfulness: It is recommended to practice mindfulness or using breathing techniques to help you relax as these can be helpful in managing anxiety.

Coronavirus – Further ways to manage anxiety and stress

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations:

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis can include:

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use


If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call

  • 911
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 0800-985-5990 or text Talk With Us to 66746. (0800-846-8517)

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs


People with pre-existing mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.

Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

Mind Charity recommends continuing to access nature/sunlight wherever possible. Exercise, eat well and stay hydrated. Anxiety UK suggests practising the “Apple” technique to deal with anxiety and worries:

  • Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
  • Pause: Don’t react as you normally do. Don’t react at all. Pause and breathe.
  • Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
  • Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don’t have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
  • Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else – on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else – mindfully with your full attention.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

Reduce stress in yourself and others. Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful. When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and anxious and allow you to connect with them.

Resources for learners, teachers and parents/carers

Khan Academy’s mission is to provide a free, world class education for anyone, anywhere. Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalised learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. They tackle mathematics, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more.

https://www.khanacademy.org/

You can sign up as a learner, teacher or parent/carer. There is support for parents when coaching their children. They have designed a step by step guide in order to help parents deal with the COVID-19 to be able to get set up, add their children onto the dashboard and progress with learning and activities.

https://khanacademy.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360040168512-Parent-Quick-Start-Guide

A free hub of national safeguarding resources to empower children, young people and all adults supporting them.

https://www.safeguardingresourcehub.co.uk/index.php

Closure of educational settings: information for parents and carers (gov.uk)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Live webcams in teaching and learning: Safeguarding issues to consider

  • Try to conduct group sessions over 1:1 sessions.
  • Please ensure that all sessions are recorded, whether they are group or 1:1 sessions for safeguarding purposes.
  • Staff and learners must wear suitable clothing, as should anyone else in the household.
  • Any computers used should be in appropriate areas, for example, not in bedrooms; and where possible be against a neutral background.
  • Live broadcasts should be kept to a reasonable length of time, or the streaming may prevent the family ‘getting on’ with their day
  • Language must be professional and appropriate, including any family members in the background

Online CPD training

Whilst most staff are working remotely, undertaking CPD can be useful during this time in order to continue personal development.

Virtual College offers a range of free resources including:

  • Introduction to Prevention Infection and Control
  • Understanding Young Minds
  • Get Moving and Get Healthy

https://www.virtual-college.co.uk/resources/free-courses

The Mind Charity has a specific ‘Mental Health for Small Workplaces’ online training which focuses on 3 modules which include:

  • Building your awareness
  • Looking after yourself
  • Supporting each other

https://smallworkplaces.mind.org.uk/

5 ways to take back control of your screen time

With the recent changes to working conditions that a lot of people are currently facing, it is likely that screen use is going to be on the rise. This may be due to work-related matters, a desire to keep up to date with the latest news or, as normal activities and routines have been disrupted. simply through boredom.

With the news that schools, colleges and universities are also shutting for most children and young people, an increase in screen use for these groups is also inevitable.

For young people there are positive aspects of screen time, like creating artwork, playing or watching problem solving and educational games/videos. These can all be stimulating for the brain and greatly beneficial for young people and their development.

What are the effects of screen time?

Multiple studies have shown shrinkage in the parts of our brain that are important for executive functions including: planning, processing, organising, completing tasks and impulse control.

The Facts on Screen time According to Ofcom (2019):

  • 63% of 12-15-year-olds think they achieve ‘a good balance between screen time and doing other things’
  • 71% of older children are allowed to take their phones to bed
  • 5-15-year olds now spend 20 mins more online than they do in front of a TV
  • 35% of young people are finding it more difficult to moderate their screen time, an increase from 27% last year

Like all things in life, moderation is key when it comes to screen time. Here are five ways you can support yourself and young people in your care to take back control of their screen time:

1. Take regular breaks

2. Keep active during the day

3. Know your time limits

4. Agree to screen free times and places, e.g. at meal times or reading a book instead

5. As an adult, be a role model and demonstrate appropriate screen use to children and young people in your care


Internet image removal service
The NSPCC (Childline) have a new reporting facility available so that under 18’s can report if an image or video of them has been shared online in order for it to be removed from the Internet. The report goes to the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) and so young people should be made aware of this.

More information can be found here: https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/bullying-abuse-safety/online-mobile-safety/sexting/report-nude-image-online/

Reliable sources, helplines and support 

There’s a huge amount of misleading information circulating online about coronavirus – from dodgy health tips to speculation about government plans.

The BBC have recently issued a blog about fake news and the impact it can have. They have included 3 questions that you should ask yourself before you share the information:

  1. Does the source of the information seem vague or seem to be from a friend of a friend you can’t trace? Get to the bottom of where the story came from – or don’t share it. Just because you were sent it by somebody you trust, doesn’t mean they received the information from someone they actually know.
  2. Does all of the information seem true? When there are long lists, it’s easy to believe everything in them just because one kernel of advice is correct – that might be the case.
  3. Does the content make you emotional – happy, angry or scared? Misinformation goes viral because it plays on our emotions, so that’s a sign that it might not be true. Again, dig a bit deeper. Scientific breakthroughs, prevention advice or public announcements will come from reputable sources.

See full article here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-51931394

Further helplines/websites:

Attached to this bulletin is a range of helplines listed on the NHS website.

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – February 2020

Topics for this month:

Guidance about the Coronavirus

Public Health England (PHE) and the Department for Education (DfE) have published guidance for schools and other educational settings to assist in providing advice for pupils, students, staff and parents or carers about coronavirus COVID-19.

The guidance covers information such as:

  • how to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
  • what to do if someone is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19

Please read the guidance in full and share it with learners and employers to raise awareness:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19

NHS ‘Eatwell’ guide

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best. This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:

  • eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
  • base your meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
  • have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
  • eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
  • choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
  • drink plenty of fluids (at least 6 to 8 glasses a day)
  • If you’re having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.

Try to choose a variety of different foods from the 5 main food groups to get a wide range of nutrients. Most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much saturated fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre.

Visit the NHS ‘Eatwell’ page for more information on food and diet, recipes and tips, as well as digestive health: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/

We have attached the Eatwell guide as a pdf, which highlights different food groups, portion sizes, calories etc.

NHS ‘Live well’: Exercise

NHS provides advice, tips and tools to help you make the best choices about your health and wellbeing and one of the areas that they focus on is exercise. NHS provides physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64 who should do some type of physical activity every day. Any type of activity is good for us and the more we do the better.

Adults should:

  • aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still
  • do strengthening activities that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on at least 2 days a week
  • do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week
  • reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity.

To achieve your weekly activity target, you can do the following:

  • several short sessions of very vigorous intensity activity
  • a mix of moderate, vigorous and very vigorous intensity activity
  • You can do your weekly target of physical activity on a single day or over 2 or more days. Whatever suits you.

Visit the NHS website where you can read information on:

  • exercise tips such as: safe exercising; weight loss tips; exercising with back pain
  • fitness guides
  • how much exercise depending on different ages
  • how to get involved in the ‘Couch to 5k’

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/

TikTok – Safety controls

TikTok, a social video app that allows users to share short videos, is introducing a family safety mode designed to give parents tighter control over how their children use the app. The safety feature will allow parents and carers to link their account to their child’s and have direct control over the safety settings, including a “restricted mode” that tries to filter out inappropriate content, and turning off messaging.

That means the adult’s phone can now turn on and off the setting for:

  • restricted mode, an automatic filter, driven by an algorithm, which tries to hide content that may be inappropriate
  • messages, which can be limited so they can only be received from friends – or turned off completely
  • screen time controls, putting a hard limit on how long the app can be used each day

These safety features have been on the TikTok platform for some time, but needed to be set on the teenager’s phone manually, and locked behind a password that had to be reset every 30 days.

TikTok has an age limit of 13, but many pre-teens still use the app. A recent survey by UK media regulator Ofcom found that TikTok was used by 13% of all children aged 12-15 in 2019 which is up from 8% the year before.

Link to article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51561050.
We have also attached a ‘TikTok safety card’ for further information.

Ofcom – Children and parents: Media use and attitudes report 2019

This newly published report provides evidence on media use, attitudes and understanding among children and young people aged 5-15, as well as about the media access and use of young children aged 3-4. It also includes findings on parents’ views about their children’s media use, and how they monitor and limit it.

Overview of findings of the report

Connected children

  • Half of ten-year-olds now own their own smartphone. Between the ages of nine and ten, smartphone ownership doubles – marking an important milestone in children’s digital independence as they prepare for secondary school.
  • Use of smart speakers among children aged 5-15 has doubled over the last year. This means that, for the first time, they’re more widely used than radios.
  • More children watch video-on-demand (VoD) than watch live broadcast TV. Viewing of VoD has doubled over the last five years. One in four children do not watch live broadcast TV at all.

Popular platforms and online activities

  • YouTube remains a firm favourite among children. 5- to 15-year-olds are more likely to pick YouTube as their platform of choice over on-demand services such as Netflix, or TV channels including the BBC and ITV.
  • Children’s social media use is diversifying. WhatsApp in particular has gained popularity over the past year, joining Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram as one of the top social media platforms used by children.
  • Newer platforms such as TikTok and Twitch are gaining popularity. TikTok is used by 13% of 12- to 15-year olds – up from 8% in 2018 – while Twitch is used by 5%.
  • Girl gamers are on the increase. Almost half of girls aged 5-15 now play games online – up from 39% in 2018.

Online engagement and participation

  • Rise of the ‘vlogger next door’. While high-profile YouTube stars remain popular, children are now increasingly drawn to influencers who are often local to their area, or who have a particular shared interest – known as ‘micro’ or ‘nano’ influencers.
  • Elements of children’s critical understanding have increased. Awareness of vlogger endorsement and how the BBC is funded have both increased; while understanding of how search engines (such as Google) work and the ability to recognise advertising on these sites are both unchanged since 2018.
  • The ‘Greta effect’ and online social activism. 2019 saw an increase in older children using social media to support causes or organisations, while one in ten signed an online petition of some sort.

Staying safe online

  • Children are seeing more hateful online content than they used to, and several children in our Media Lives research reported seeing violent and other disturbing content online. Half of 12- 15s say they have seen something hateful about a particular group of people in the last year – up from a third in 2016. Four in ten took some form of action, but the majority ignored it.
  • Parents are also increasingly concerned about their child seeing self-harm related content online and some elements of online gaming. Almost half of parents of 5-15s are concerned about their child seeing content which might encourage them to harm themselves, up from 39% in 2018. There have also been increases in the proportion of parents of 12-15s worried about ingame spending (from 40% to 47%) and game-related bullying (32% vs 39%).
  • Fewer parents feel that the benefits of their child being online outweigh the risks compared to five years ago. Just over half of parents of 5-15s feel this (55%), compared to two-thirds (65%) in 2015. However, there are indications that more parents are talking to their child about online safety (85% of parents of 5-15s), than compared to 2018 (81%).

7 Minute Briefings:

Teenagers and risk:

Do we accept risk in teenagers because of their age? How do you manage and assess this risk? Do you involve teens in their own risk assessments? Do you know the signs of exploitation? Self-harm? Emotional distress in teenagers? The THINK website (Teenage Health in Knowsley) has been designed to give young people a place to access, to find out where to go to get the support they need.

Risk taking is considered to be necessary for development, but teens do not judge risk well. Research shows that their brains are re-configuring, which can cause mental instability and increases vulnerability. To appreciate consequences of risky behaviour one has to have the ability to think through potential outcomes and understand the consequences.

Due to an immature prefrontal cortex, teens are not skilled at doing this. They do not take information, organise it and understand it in the same way that adults do – they have to learn how to do this. So it is vitally important teenagers showing risk indicators and are deemed at risk are monitored appropriately and given the right support and intervention.

Please see attached the 7 minute briefing focusing on ‘Teenagers and risk’ from Knowsley Council.

Young carers:

Young carers are: children and young people under the age of 18 who provide regular and ongoing care and emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, frail elderly, disabled or misuses alcohol or substances:

  • 9% provide 50+ hours per week care
  • 11.3 % provide 20-39 hours per week care
  • 56.1% female (0-24s) with 61.2% of those undertaking 50 hrs or more care per week.

The impact of caring on children and young people is wide ranging and can include: feeling lonely and missing out on friendships; feeling frightened and isolated and feeling scared to tell anyone about their home circumstances. They may also be feeling excluded; (bullied and stigmatised, difficulty getting to school/College on time); feeling overwhelmed; tired; worried and stressed; ashamed and guilty; and feel they have high levels of responsibility with little support for them.

Where a young carer is a ‘child in need’ you can refer to the independent Young Carers’ service at Barnardo’s, or refer them to Children and Family Wellbeing Service.

Please see attached the 7 minute briefing focusing on ‘Young carers’ from Lancashire Council.

Threshold of need and response:

The Thresholds of Need and Response Framework is a practical tool to:

  • enable practitioners to identify the levels of risk and needs of children and their families
  • to ensure that the children and their families access the appropriate level of support according to their changing circumstances; over four levels
  • Provide a common language for multi-agency professionals
  • Improve outcomes for families

Levels of need:

Level 1: Universal need, needs and risk and met by universal services

Level 2: Early Help, unmet needs and low risks met by single agency support and partnership working. Needs met through the Early Help Assessment and TAF process using an asset based solution focused model.

Level 3: Child in Need (CIN): this meets section 17 of the Children Act 1989, and is a higher levels of unmet needs and medium risk. A social worker will be involved and it requires a multi-agency co-ordinated response.

Level 4: Specialist assessment. High level of unmet complex needs – child may be ‘In Need’ or ‘at risk of significant harm’. Need intensive coordinated multi-agency support. If you have any concerns please contact the Safeguarding Team.
Please see attached the 7 minute briefing focusing on ‘Threshold of need and response’ from Salford Children Safeguarding Board.

Safer Internet day 2020

What is ‘Safer Internet Day’?

Safer internet day is celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.

The focus of Safer Internet Day 2020 is about empowering young people to explore identity online and opening up discussions about how the internet shapes the way that they think of themselves and others. It focuses on what creates our identity online – such as the things we share with each other, how others perceive us and interacts with us, as well as how online services use the information we share to identify and profile us.

How to get involved

Talk about safer internet day online using the hashtags #freetobe and #SaferInternetDay, as well as using fill the template with words that express who or what someone should be free to be online or you could include a picture of what a better internet could look like.

There are also education packs that can be downloaded for free off the UK safer internet centres website. The packs are customised for different age groups they contain some important information as well as some fun activities. More information can be found on their website Click here to see what packs are available
Click here to see what information is available for a parent or career

If you would like to support the day, you can register as a supporter and join 2000 organisations across the UK who deliver activities for Safer Internet Day each year.”

 You can also follow them on social media to keep up to date on what’s going on their account name can be found here @UK_SIC on TwitterInstagram and Facebook for all the latest news. You can also sign up for their newsletter to receive monthly news about safer internet day this includes the latest resources launches and more. 

What resources are available?

There are resources that focus on identity online that supports young people to consider whether they feel free to experiment and express themselves online, or if they feel limited in who they can be when they are online. By opening up conversations around identity online, young people can be inspired and empowered to support each other to be who they want to be, both online and offline.

There are also education packs that can be downloaded for free and in these packs are pre built activities that can be used in a lesson environment There are different packs that are available for different age groups.

There are also social media resources that can be downloaded for free and there are also some instructions on how to use the template.
Click here for the social media template

Some tips from us at JTM

For some more tips on how to stay safe on the internet why not check out one of our previous blog posts where you can find some more information on how safe your password is.
Click here to view this blog post

Boost your network security

When you’re on the move, you might have to use public Wi-Fi. The problem with public Wi-Fi is that it is often unsecured. This means it’s relatively easy for a hacker to access your device or information. That’s why you should consider investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a piece of software that creates a secure connection over the internet, so you can safely connect from anywhere.

Protect your mobile life

Our mobile devices can be just as vulnerable to online threats as our laptops. Mobile devices face new risks, such as risky apps and dangerous links sent by text message. Be careful where you click, don’t respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores after reading other users’ reviews first. Make sure that your security software is enabled on your mobile, just like your computers and other devices.

Don’t save financial information on shopping sites

Even sites with SSL certification can be hacked. While there may not be a way yet to completely safeguard your data from hackers if you shop online, you can secure your financial information better by removing it altogether from shopping sites. So spend the extra minute to enter your information each time you make a purchase.

Do you have antivirus installed?

This is one simple way to make sure you’re safe online. All you have to do is pay for and set up your antivirus and that’s it. Or if you’ve already got one installed, make sure it’s up to date. Updates often contain changes which help protect you are your devices from scammers and online criminals. (Most antivirus software can be configured to do this automatically). Also, Use a firewall,  it takes just moments for a non-fire walled computer to be infected so stay safe by installing one.

9 Myths about apprenticeships busted!

Apprenticeships have been around for quite a while now and they’re not just for the traditional trades anymore, but we still find the same myths and misconceptions around apprenticeships all the time. So we’ve taken 9 of the most common to set the record straight.


1. Apprenticeships are only available in manual industries

This might have been the case in the past but apprenticeships are now expanding in to different occupations such as fashion, law, education, and defence, so this shows that apprenticeships are not limited to manual industries there are now a variety of apprenticeships available.

via GIPHY


2. An apprentice won’t lead to a full-time job

More than 90% of apprentices stay in employment after their course ends, with 67% remaining with the same employer. This shows that employers value apprentices and would like to keep them at their company because they have invested time and money in the apprentice, and they won’t want to lose on this investment.

via GIPHY


3. Apprenticeships are only for school leavers 

Apprenticeships are available for all ages making them a great option for those wanting to change their career or wanting to improve their skills in a certain area whilst getting paid. Apprenticeships are also great for upskilling existing staff, for example the Level 5 Operations Departmental Manager is great for existing managerial staff to improve their knowledge.

via GIPHY


4. Apprenticeships don’t lead to good qualifications

Learners can progress from intermediate apprenticeships, right up to higher and even degree apprenticeships, so this shows that there is a lot of room for progress. The new apprenticeship standards, which include independent assessors and an End-point assessment, guarantee the quality and validity of your skills and knowledge. On completion of your apprenticeship you will receive an industry recognised qualification, so you will be getting the best of both worlds. You will be getting an excellent qualification, whilst getting paid, and you won’t have to worry about tuition fees or paying back loans.

via GIPHY


5. The mandatory 20% off-the-job training element means a day per week at a college

It is important that the apprentice is given enough time to receive off-the-job training and at JTM we are doing the training with a mixture of face-to-face visits and online. This is so there is very little disruption and the apprentice can be getting on with the work in the placement when they have free time and the assessor will come out to continue to develop their skills and knowledge.

via GIPHY


6. “You’ll just be making tea and coffee”

Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to learn and earn at the same time, so this means your opinions and contributions are valued just as they would be with any other member of staff. You may be younger than your other colleagues but you won’t be running around the kitchen, you will be treated as a proper colleague with the support you need to develop your skills and excel.

via GIPHY


7. I’ll be badly paid

The National Minimum Wage for apprentices is £3.90 per hour, rising to £4.15 per hour from the first of April 2020, so this is the least that you will be paid. However, you can be paid more but this is up to the employer, and if you are aged 19 or over and have completed the first year of your apprenticeship you will be paid the National Minimum Wage which is £6.15. If you are unsure what you would be paid, then you can check the minimum wage for your age online.

via GIPHY


8. Those who go to university are always better off

University isn’t always the best route into employment. Apprentices receive on-the-job training as well as earning a qualification that are needed to work in an industry so they will be ready to work once they have completed their apprenticeship.

via GIPHY

9. Apprentices get stuck in the same sector for years

A great thing about apprenticeships is that there is a lot of room for progression and opportunity. You can move between levels in a subject area that complements your skills. For example, you could start doing a Customer Service apprenticeship and gain some transferable skills that could be used in a management apprenticeship and then this unlocks more advanced qualifications which can open up new job roles in different sectors.

via GIPHY

« Older posts

© 2020 The JTM Blog

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑