Topics for this month:

E-Safety in Social Media Apps

With the school holidays now in full flow, young people may find themselves more engaged with social media and discovering new apps that are appearing on the market. Liverpool Safeguarding Children’s Partnership maintain a library of apps that children and young people may come into contact with. It is not a list of ‘dangerous’, ‘bad’ or ‘apps to avoid’, but contains details of apps and websites that been encountered within exploitation investigations or through research that have been used by victims and offenders.

LSCP have shared this library with us which currently details 207 apps and it can be viewed here:

A safety alert has also been issued over the rise in popularity of a new app called Likee. Likee is a short video creation platform where users can be creative, share videos, add music, and use filters. The app uses levels to encourage users to earn more XP (experience points), which are earned by opening Likee every day, watching/posting videos, fan growth and sending/receiving gifts.

The risks associated with this type of app include:

  • There are no age restrictions when signing up to the app.
  • The app can feature inappropriate content, including suggestive language & violence.
  • You CANNOT make an account private. 
  • In the safety settings ‘hide location’ & ‘hide my videos in nearby’ are automatically set to public by default.
  • Likee has substandard reporting functions – Users can report videos but there is no function to report a live stream or another user.
  • There’s scope for grooming, coercion and abuse through its gifting feature.
  • As per other live streaming/video platforms, viewers can manipulate the actions of users by gifting.

The general guidance for parents, carers and those working with young people around social media apps are:

  • Have open and honest conversations with children and young people in your care about not sharing personal information online.
  • Check that young people know how to turn off location settings and configure safety settings on the apps they use.
  • Check that they only engage with other people they know online.
  • Check that they understand what they should do if they see something online that upsets or worries them.
  • If you are concerned about an app your child is using, download it and use it yourself, or use it together to get a feel for it.

Help keep parents engaged in online safety over the summer – THINKUKNOW resources and information

Gaming – What parents need to know:

Many children and young people will be spending time gaming over the summer holidays. This article explores the different elements of gaming with a particular focus on how it can be used by offenders, but focusing on what parents can do to support their child while gaming.

Click here for more information

Sharing pictures of your child online:

For many children online life begins before birth, when their excited parents-to-be post ultrasound images on social media.  A recent report by Ofcom stated that 42% of parents share photos of their children online, with half of these parents posting photos at least once a month. Lots of parents love sharing photos of their children with friends and family, particularly when they are on holiday or starting a new school year. 42% of young people reported that their parents had done this without asking for their permission.

The article below helps parents to protect their child while staying social.

Click here for more information

Keeping your under 5s safe online:

Statistics released by Ofcom show that over 50% of children aged 3-4 go online for nearly 8 hours a week, and 1 in 5 children aged  3-4 have their own tablet. Whether it’s watching videos, playing games on their devices or talking to Alexa – today’s under 5s are spending more time online. In this article we look at the benefits of children accessing the internet, and share advice about how parents can make sure their child has a safe experience online.

Click here for more information on keeping your under 5s safe

Live streaming: responding to the risks:

Many children enjoy live streaming as it can be used to showcase talent, develop communication skills and create identity. Our article helps parents to understand why children love it, what the risks can be, and how they can help their child stay safe if they are live streaming.

Click here for more information on live steam risks

Using parental controls:

Controls can either be for a device like a games console, or for a network such as your home broadband. The way to access device controls can vary according to the manufacturer.   They can offer varying types of protection, from filtering out adult content from search results to preventing your child from buying things when playing games. Parental controls are a great tool for helping to protect children but should not replace open and honest conversations with children about their life online.

Click here for more information on parental controls

NSPCC Training – Child Sexual Exploitation
What is Child Sexual Exploitation?

CSE is a type of sexual abuse, when a child or young person is being exploited they are given things like gifts, money, status and affection in exchange for sexual activities. Children and young people are often tricked into believing they are in a loving and consensual relationship, this is called ‘grooming’ and they may trust their abuser and not understand that they are being abused and exploited. Children and young people can be trafficked into and around the country, forced to take part in sexual activities often with more than one person. Anybody can be a perpetrator of CSE, no matter their age, gender or race, sometimes these abusers use violence and intimidation to frighten and force a child or young person, making them feel as if they have no choice.

Indicators and signs of CSE in children and young people

  • Having money, clothing, items that cannot or won’t be explained
  • Being secretive and distancing away from family members
  • Physical injuries such as bruising and bleeding
  • Sharp mood swings, emotionally volatile
  • Inappropriate sexual language and behaviour
  • Alcohol and drug misuse
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Pregnancy

Recognising CSE in children and young people

  • Staying out late or overnight
  • Changes in character, appearance or personal hygiene
  • Having older partners, or new friends of an older age group
  • Involved in criminal activities such as shoplifting or anti-social behaviour
  • Involved in a gang
  • Missing from School or College

There are different types of exploitation:

Criminal, sexual, domestic, formed labour and organ harvesting (kidney most popular)

Statistics show London has the highest number of CSE trafficking referral cases in the country, Liverpool is reported to have the 2nd most number of these cases. Almost half of all reports were direct to the police with the majority of third party referrals coming from social services. Peer on peer offending accounts for 34% of CSE offences, and 64% on average are involving young women. For further information you can visit the NSPCC website below:

NHS sets out ‘care for young carers’ offer in GP surgeries

NHS England has outlined a series of practical plans and actions designed to help young carers who may be ‘hidden’, unpaid and under the age of 16.  Family doctors across the country can now volunteer to offer a new package of services for children and young adults who perform an informal caring role for a family member. This includes priority appointments for carers, home visits, additional mental health checks, and ‘double appointments’ for the carer and those they provide care for.

Research from Barnardo’s and Carers Trust has highlighted a host of challenges young people face in juggling their caring role with their education and own health, with up to 40% experiencing mental health problems. For the full article, please visit: