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Weekly Briefing: 11-18 January 2019

'Birdbox challenge' videos prompt YouTube to cull dangerous content

The video-sharing platform has removed clips of dangerous pranks and challenges — prompted by people doing dangerous tasks blindfolded following the release of the film Birdbox — because of concerns that children could experience severe emotional stress, according to the BBC. Although the platform reiterated that it welcomed challenge videos with actual entertainment value, it would ban content which could result in severe injury or death.

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Loot box sales drive Fortnite to highest annual revenue in gaming history 

The popular free-to-play game Fortnite earned more than $2.4bn (£1.9bn) from in-game purchases in 2018, making it the game with the highest annual revenue in gaming history, according to The Telegraph. Fortnite, which has grown its player base to around 200m players since its launch in mid-2017, has been criticised for its ‘loot box’ business model which has players gambling for assets to use in the game.

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Read Parent Zone's investigation into skin gambling


BBFC cracks down on sexual violence in films 

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is tightening the regulation of sexual violence in films, restricting it to 15+ audiences, according to The Independent. The new guidelines, which have been called the biggest shake-up in a decade, follow a study which showed that 95 per cent of teenagers and young people call for stronger classification.

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Florida-man accused of grooming children on Fortnite

A 41-year-old man has been accused of using the popular online game Fortnite to groom children through voice chat and having sex with at least one minor, according to the BBC. The Florida-man allegedly sent his victims, of which there are estimated to be around 20, gifts including mobile phones so that they could communicate privately.

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Can video games turn university graduates into better employees?

“Commercial video games are designed for entertainment, not education, but still require players to exercise a range of essential competencies including communication skills, resourcefulness, adaptability and critical thinking.” This article from The Guardian examines how video games could equip young people with skills which could benefit them in working life.

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Flaw in Fortnite security left children open to a 'massive invasion of privacy'

Researchers have revealed that children playing Fortnite were potentially exposed to a “massive invasion of privacy” due to a flaw in the game’s security which allowed hackers to steal in-game currency, V-Bucks, and view private conversations between players, according to The Telegraph. Fortnite, which has more than 200m players, is mostly played by children.

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