Topics for this month:
Educate Against Hate
Is a website which provides practical advice, support and resources to protect children from extremism and radicalisation, with resources to safeguard learner from radicalisation, build resilience to all types of extremism and promote shared values for teachers, resources are designed for all stages up to Key Stage 5.
The website has been developed by the Department for Education and the Home Office.
This video provides an overview of how the Educate Against Hate website can be used and the resources and materials available.
This links takes you directly to the resources, but we recommend you explore the site there are lots of useful information and resources to support this area of your curriculum.
Child Mental Health
Whilst this podcast was released for Child Mental Health week in February, non the less, the information remains current and useful providing up to date statical information, particularly around the impact of Covid and top tips for talking to young people about mental health.
As of January 2022, there are an estimated 57 million social media users in the UK. This is an increase of 6.9 million people since the beginning of the pandemic. Furthermore, we have seen a 200% increase in the use of mental health-related apps and the use of such apps to help prevent incidents, of which self-harm has increased by 76%.
What is self -harming?
- Includes any activity that intentionally injures the body such as cutting, burning, picking, high risk behaviours and excessive exercise or eating restrictions.
- Self-harm is fundamentally an attempt to cope with and control intense, difficult, and distressing feelings or thought patterns.
- Self-harm can be a distressing topic for parents, carers, and safeguarding professionals to think about, but it is worth being clear that self-harm behaviours are less about ‘seeking attention’ and more of a signal and ‘cry for help’.
- Most self-harm will happen in secret and usually comes with feelings of guilt and shame.
- Motivations are complex but young people report feeling a release or punishing themselves.
- This release is only temporary and when difficult feelings appear again, so too can the urge to engage in self-harm behaviours. This can cause a difficult cycle of high-risk behaviours to manage difficult feelings.
The importance of appropriate self-harming support
The value of peer support and where appropriate, this should be encouraged alongside existing professional mental health support for children and young people.
There may be additional complexities where a child or young person who has sought support in online spaces does not get an appropriate response or receives negative feedback, which might discourage them from seeking further help. It is important to recognise and establish the quality of information or advice they receive and discuss this with professional help or the necessary support intervention.
Reasons why you might self-harm?
It is usually a symptom or sign that something stressful or upsetting is going on in your life that is difficult to deal with. This could be something like:
- suffering abuse
- experiencing a traumatic incident
- family problems like a divorce
- a sudden change in your life, like a death, or moving school, and extreme peer pressure
- low self-esteem or issues with body image
- loneliness and feelings of guilt, failure, or being unloved
How to stop self-harming and getting help
Talking about how you are feeling with someone you trust can feel like a relief. This person could be a friend, family member, teacher, school counsellor/nurse, or youth worker. Think about who you feel safe with and how you would feel most comfortable communicating, whether it’s face to face, over the phone, by text or email.
Small changes that can boost your mood
- Consider how your use of social media is affecting your mood. Only follow accounts that make you feel positive and safe.
- Make sure you get enough sleep and stay hydrated – this can reduce your stress levels.
- Take time out when you need to and reach out for help talk about how you feel.
- Think of three things you are grateful for each day.
- Be as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend – think about the advice and support you would give someone else if you heard they were struggling.
Young Minds offer lots of support over the phone, by text or email.
It is understandable if you are worried no one will understand you, or that people might judge you. But don’t worry, there are lots of trained people who do understand and really care and can help. That is because they speak to thousands of young people who are going through this too. Nothing you can say will shock them, and they are here to listen and support you. You are not alone and have support there to help you cope.
For more information, please visit the website below, you can also access peer support groups, and read stories & advice of successful self-harm recoveries.
Apple to roll out child safety feature that scans messages for nudity to UK iPhones.
Feature that searches messages will go ahead after delays over privacy and safety concerns
A safety feature that uses AI technology to scan messages sent to and from children will soon hit British iPhones, Apple has announced.
The feature, referred to as “communication safety in Messages”, allows parents to turn on warnings for their children’s iPhones. When enabled, all photos sent or received by the child using the Messages app will be scanned for nudity.
If nudity is found in photos received by a child with the setting turned on, the photo will be blurred, and the child will be warned that it may contain sensitive content and nudged towards resources from child safety groups. If nudity is found in photos sent by a child, similar protections kick in, and the child is encouraged not to send the images, and given an option to “Message a Grown-Up”.
All the scanning is carried out “on-device”, meaning that the images are analysed by the iPhone itself, and Apple never sees either the photos being analysed or the results of the analysis, it said.
The company is also introducing a set of features intended to intervene when content related to child exploitation is searched for in Spotlight, Siri or Safari.
Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) hotline.
IWF helps victims of child sexual abuse worldwide by identifying and removing online images and videos of their abuse. They search for child sexual abuse images and videos and offer a place for the public to report them anonymously. IWF then have them removed. They are an independent, non-profit charitable organisation working in partnership with a range of other organisations from the private, public and NGO sectors.
For more information about the IWF hotline, please visit: https://saferinternet.org.uk/hotline
Peer on Peer or Child on Child Abuse
Broadly speaking, peer-on-peer abuse is defined ‘as any form of physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and/or coercive control exercised between children and young people’; this includes intimate and non-intimate relationships.
This means that young people’s experiences of peer-on-peer abuse can fit within a number of other definitions of violence/abuse:
- Domestic violence and abuse. Young people who experience peer-on-peer abuse in their romantic or dating relationships may also be experiencing domestic abuse.
- Coercive control is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten a victim.
- Child sexual exploitation. Young people who are sexually exploited by peers will be experiencing child sexual exploitation as well as peer-on peer abuse.
- Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two or more children of any sex. It may also involve a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children. Sexually violent and harassing behaviours exist on a continuum. These behaviours, if they persist and are unaddressed can create environments in which sexually abusive assaults occur.
- Harmful sexual behaviour. When a young person sexually harms a peer, they are committing an act of peer-to-peer abuse as well as displaying harmful sexual behaviour.
- Hackett defines Harmful Sexual Behaviour as: ‘Sexual behaviours expressed by children and young people under the age of 18 years old that are developmentally inappropriate, maybe harmful towards self or others, or be abusive towards a child, young person or adult’. In addition, sexual behaviour between young people, where one of the pair is much older can be considered harmful (especially if there is more than two years difference, and if one is pre-pubescent and one is not). However, a younger child can still harm an older child.
Further information on Peer on Peer Abuse can be found here
Violence against Women and Girls (Mayor of London/London Assembly)
In the UK, a violent man kills a woman every three days. Changing this starts with men reflecting on their own behaviour and the way they see, treat and talk about women.
The Mayor of London and the London Assembly has launched a campaign called ‘Have A Word With Yourself, Then With Your Mates’. There are number of videos and other resources to encourage behavioural change from men and boys towards women. Find the resources here: https://www.london.gov.uk//content/have-a-word