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Weekly Briefing: 10-17 April 2019

Proposed guidelines aim to make social media safer for children

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has released new proposed guidelines aiming to protect children's online rights. ICO urged providers to 'put the interests of the child first' and, should the proposed code of conduct be approved, it would be legally binding for companies providing services accessed by children.

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Age-verification to come into effect 15 July

The Government has confirmed that mandatory laws requiring websites hosting adult content to verify that their users are over 18 will come into effect on 15 July. Although opinions are mixed whether the measure will be effective in keeping children from viewing potentially harmful content, sites which fail to meet the standards will be blocked in the UK, according to The Guardian.

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Teachers say pupils' mental health at 'crisis point'

A survey has found that anxiety, self-harm and even suicide has risen dramatically over the last two years and 83 per cent of the teachers surveyed said that they had noticed the mental health of their pupils deteriorating, according to The Guardian. Many said that the problem was partially due to funding cuts and children not having access to counsellors, nurses and mental health experts in their schools.

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New PlayStation console will still focus on disc-based gaming

Sony has announced that its upcoming next-generation console PlayStation 5 (working title) will still focus on disc-based gaming despite competitors Google and Apple announcing that they will launch cloud-based gaming services. However, it is expected that it will continue it’s PlayStation Now subscription offer which will allow gamers to stream a selection of games.

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'Outdated legislation is allowing children to gamble'

Have a read of Parent Zone Policy Officer Lulu's blog for the London School of Economics where she outlines how legislation must change to protect children from gambling-related harms. Although they are putting children at risk of harm, UK law does not consider loot boxes and skin gambling as forms of gambling and, as a result, children are able to gamble without any age-verification.

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TikTok blocked in India following child abuse concerns

The video-sharing platform TikTok has been removed from India’s Google Play Store and Apple Store after concerns were raised that it was being used for child abuse and pornography, according to The Verge. The State Court has made a request to ban TikTok, which has 230m users in India after an investigation found that it encouraged teens and young adults to participate in “cultural degradation”.

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Disney streaming service might not reach Europe for some time

The American entertainment giant Disney has announced a release date for its new streaming service Disney+ for North America, but it will not arrive in Europe for some time, according to the BBC. The brand-new service would collect everything under Disney’s license — including Star Wars, Marvel and The Simpsons — which would then be removed from other platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

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White Paper: charity urges Government to include photosensitive content

An epilepsy charity has urged the Government to include photosensitivity warnings on social media platforms in its new plans to tackle online harm, according to the BBC. The Epilepsy Society wants to rid platforms of content which could trigger seizures in people suffering from epilepsy and suggests that anyone who deliberately posts harmful images should be prosecuted for assault.

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