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Weekly Briefing: 27 February - 6 March 2019

Deputy Labour leader is pushing for crackdown on loot boxes

The deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has called for a crackdown on in-game gambling, such as loot boxes, saying that it’s a “gateway” to betting addiction for children, according to The Guardian. He said that currently not enough was being done and that features such as skins and loot boxes needed monitoring by the Gambling Commission.

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Momo confirmed as internet hoax

The Momo challenge dominated headlines last week but was ultimately discovered to be a hoax fuelled by mass-sharing on social media and news reports, according to The Guardian. There is no evidence proving that the challenge was causing children to hurt themselves, but Parent Zone still urges parents to be cautious as pictures and warnings can still be distressing for children.

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TikTok slapped with biggest ever fine by regulator for collecting children's data

The video-sharing platform TikTok has been slapped with the biggest fine ever for violating children’s privacy by the US regulator FTC, according to The Independent. TikTok’s predecessor, Musical.ly, collected personal information from children under the age of 13 and must now pay £4.3m and remove all content made by under-13s.

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YouTube: no commenting on videos featuring under-18s

YouTube has announced that it will turn off the comment functions on all videos featuring under-18s to avoid predatory comments and “better protect children and families”, according to the BBC. 

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Instagram named as platform with most cases of grooming

Instagram has been named as the platform where most children are groomed by sex offenders by the charity NSPCC, according to the BBC. Of all the recorded incidents of online grooming between March 2018 and September 2018, 32 per cent of them happened on Instagram, followed by 23 per cent on Facebook and 14 per cent on Snapchat.

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Game companies urged to include "self-exclusion" software to tackle addiction

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has said that companies developing online games, such as Fortnite and Respawn Entertainment, should be forced to include “self-exclusion” software in their games to help combat gaming addiction, according to The Telegraph. Self-exclusion software allows a player to block their own access to the game, forcing them to stay off it.

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