NCA launches “sextortion” (webcam blackmail) campaign

This week the National Crime Agency (NCA) has launched a national campaign to raise awareness about “Sextortion”  or web cam blackmail. This follows a recent BBC news report where in the past year, the suicide of four young men have been linked to concerns regarding blackmail online.

It is essential to recognise that if anyone aged under 18 is being blackmailed online following sexual activity then this must be identified as being child  sexual abuse or online child sexual exploitation (CSE). Any cases involving under 18’s should be reported to the Police or CEOP immediately using existing school/setting child protection procedures.

The campaign content may however may still be helpful for secondary schools , sixth forms and colleges and professionals working with young people to discuss the issues of online abuse. DSLs may also find it useful to share the campaign with members of staff.

The following content has been adapted from the NCA campaign page and is aimed at adults (over 18s) targeted online.

What is “sextortion”?

Criminals might befriend victims online by using a fake identity and then persuade them to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam, often by using an attractive woman to entice the victim to participate. These women may have been coerced into these actions using financial incentives or threats.

These webcam videos are recorded by the criminals who then threaten to share the images with the victims’ friends and family. This can make the victims feel extremely ashamed and embarrassed and, tragically, here in the UK at least four young men have taken their own lives after being targeted in this way.

Both men and women can be victims of this crime, either by being blackmailed or by being coerced into carrying out sexual acts.

Who is behind this crime?

The NCA have evidence that organised crime groups – mostly based overseas ­- are behind this crime. For them it’s a low risk way to make money and they can reach many victims easily online. Victims are often worried about reporting these offences to the police because they are embarrassed.

What to do if you’re a victim of sextortion?

If someone threatens to share explicit images of you unless you pay them money:

  1. Don’t panic. Contact your local police and internet service provider immediately. The police will take your case seriously, will deal with it in confidence and will not judge you for being in this situation.
  2. Don’t communicate further with the criminals. Take screen shots of all your communication. Suspend your Facebook account (but don’t delete it) and use the online reporting process to report the matter to Skype, YouTube etc. to have any video blocked and to set up an alert in case the video resurfaces. Deactivating the Facebook account temporarily rather than shutting it down will mean the data are preserved and will help police to collect evidence. The account can also be reactivated at any time so your online memories are not lost forever. Also, keep an eye on all the accounts which you might have linked in case the criminals try to contact you via one of those.
  3. Don’t pay. Many victims who have paid have continued to get more demands for higher amounts of money. In some cases, even when the demands have been met the offenders will still go on to post the explicit videos. If you have already paid, check to see if the money has been collected. If it has, and if you are able, then make a note of where it was collected from. If it hasn’t, then you can cancel the payment – and the sooner you do that the better.
  4. Preserve evidence. Make a note of all details provided by the offenders, for example; the Skype name (particularly the Skype ID), the Facebook URL; the Western Union or MoneyGram Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN); any photos/videos that were sent, etc. Be aware that the scammer’s Skype name is different to their Skype ID, and it’s the ID details that police will need. To get that, right-click on their profile, select ‘View Profile’ and then look for the name shown in blue rather than the one above it in black. It’ll be next to the word ’Skype’ and will have no spaces in it. DO NOT DELETE ANY CORRESPONDENCE.

Remember that you’re the victim of organised criminals – you’re not alone and confidential support is available. You can get through this.

Further help and support

If this has happened to you and you’re under 18 please talk to an adult that you trust. It may feel like there is no way out, but there are professionals who can help you. You can also get help from:

Short advice to share:

“Sextortion – Has this happened to you?”

  • Happening now? Call the police on 999
  • If this has happened recently, call the police on 101
  • Do not pay any money
  • Stop communicating with the person immediately
  • Report to your internet service provider
  • Screengrab and write down as much information
    as possible (see below for more info)
  • If you’re under 18, report to CEOP

If Kent education settings are concerned about this issue, the learners they work with or require additional support or guidance regarding online safety then please contact the Education Safeguarding Team.

Posted in CEOP, Child Sexual Exploitation, e-Safety, Exploitation, NCA, Revenge Porn, Sextortion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New CEOP resource for Primary Schools to help keep children safe online

Primary teachers and professionals can now access a brand new contemporary education resource pack to help teach eight to ten-year-olds to stay safe online.


Developed by the education specialists at the National Crime Agency’s CEOP command, the Play Like Share resources include three animations which follow Sam, Alfie and Ellie as they form a band, Selfie, to take on the mean but cool Popcorn Wizards in their school’s battle of the bands competition. On their journey to school super-stardom, Selfie learn just how troublesome an online fanbase can be as unscrupulous rivals use their online anonymity to derail the band’s rise to the top.

The accompanying 100 page resource pack, created by the team behind the Thinkuknow online safety programme, includes guidance, session plans and activities. The materials will help schools teach children to recognise pressurising and threatening behaviours online, and allow professionals to select content most appropriate for the children they work with, based on their understanding, maturity and online engagement.

There are also further optional sessions, designed to be delivered to particularly risk-taking or vulnerable children, that address issues such as inappropriate online contact from adults.

To support parents and carers in protecting children’s safety online, the pack includes a letter and help-sheet offering conversation starters to discuss events in Play Like Share and a child’s internet use.

Marie Smith, Head of NCA CEOP’s Education Team, said: “Play Like Share aims to simplify an often challenging topic. This resource will make it easier for teachers and professionals to deliver online safety by giving them all the materials they need in one place, ready to go. This is a safe and age-appropriate way to teach eight to ten-year-olds about sexual abuse and exploitation online. It is designed to address sensitive issues while helping children to gain the essential understanding, skills and confidence they need to resist manipulative behaviour online, as well as how to use the internet safely.”

The resources are available to download for free at the Thinkuknow website, the NCA’s hub for online safety information and a source of free educational resources for professionals, parents and children. CEOP have also published  a promo video on YouTube to help educators find out more.


Posted in CEOP, Child Sexual Exploitation, e-Safety, Parents, Primary Resources, Resources | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New data from Ofcom – Children and parents: media use and attitudes report 2016

On the 16th November 2016 Ofcom published new research Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes.

Jane Rumble, Ofcom Director of Market Intelligence said: “Children’s lives are increasingly digital, with tablets and smartphones commanding more attention than ever. Even so, families are finding time for more traditional activities, such as watching TV together or reading a bedtime story.

Educators from schools and early years settings may find the research helpful to stimulate discussions with children and young people but also with staff and parents/carers.

A selection of key findings are:

  • Children’s internet use has hit an all-time high
  • Pre-schoolers are spending over an hour-a-day online
  • Digital devices dominate, but the traditional story still wins at bedtime!

Time spent online

  • Young people aged 5-15  are spending around 15 hours each week online – overtaking time spent watching a TV set for the first time
    • Children aged 5-15 have increased their weekly online time by an hour and 18 minutes in the last year to 15 hours
  • Pre-schoolers, aged 3-4, are spending eight hours and 18 minutes a week online, up an hour and a half from six hours 48 minutes in the last year. (This works out to be over an hour a day)

Internet use vs TV

  • Children are spending less time watching a TV set, with their weekly viewing dropping from 14 hours 48 minutes in 2015 to 13 hours 36 minutes in the last year.
  • YouTube is one of the most popular online destinations for children to watch content, with around three quarters (73%) of those aged 5-15 using the video site.
    • It is also a hit with pre-schoolers with 37% regularly watching YouTube videos, who typically pick ‘TV content’ such as cartoons and mini-movies.
    • Older children are beginning to show a preference for YouTube with four in ten 8-11s and 12-15s saying they prefer watching YouTube than the TV set.
  •  TV still plays an important role in children’s lives with nine in 10 still watching, generally every day, and the largest number of children watching at peak family viewing time, 6 – 9pm.

Digital childhood

Digital devices are more widespread among children than ever, including the very young.

  • Tablets and mobile phones are now the most popular devices for going online for children – knocking laptops back into third place. It’s therefore essential that educational messages do not just focus on laptops and computers.
  • A third (34%) of pre-schoolers (aged 3-4) own their own media device – such as a tablet or games console.
    • Pre-schoolers typically enjoy digital entertainment on a tablet, with more than half (55%) using one, and 16% owning their own tablet – up from just 3% in 2013.
  • As children reach pre-to-early teenage years, they prefer smartphones to tablets – with the proportion of children owning one up from 35% to 41% in the last year.
    • This means one in three tweens (8-11s), and eight in 10 older children (12-15s) now have their own smartphone.
  • Many children need help to identify advertising on search engine Google with only a minority of 8-11s (24%) and 12-15s (38%) correctly recognising sponsored links.
  • As children spend more of their time online, their awareness of advertising and ‘vlogger’ endorsements has also increased with more than half of internet users aged 12-15 (55%) now aware that online advertising can be personalised – up 10 percentage points in the last year.
    • 12-15s awareness of product endorsement from vloggers has also increased by 10 percentage points to 57% in 2016.
  • Reading was the third most popular activity with primary school aged children (62%) beating newer activities such as watching online video clips (47%), instant messaging (10%) and watching music videos (11%).
  • Many families still enjoy a traditional bedtime routine, with one in five (21%) children aged 6-11 reading at 7.45pm – the highest peak for reading during the day.

Social Media

  • Social media is central for both tweens and teens.
    •  23% of 8-11s and 72% of 12-15s have a profile, with the number of profiles doubling between the age of 10 and 11 (21% to 43%) and increasing sharply again between 12 and 13 (50% to 74%).
    • Children are messaging, sharing and liking throughout the day, including during school hours and late into the evening, with 9% of 11-15s communicating via social media at 10pm, and 2% messaging at midnight.
      • One in ten 11-15s are still communicating via social media at 10pm
  • Children’s use of social media is constantly evolving, and that brings both new opportunities and risks. For example, the latest trend identified in research is an increased use of group messaging services such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
    • Many of these group chats are used for positive activities, like homework groups, but they were also being used in less positive ways, with a fine line between banter and bullying.
  • Although Facebook remains most likely to be children’s main site, use of other social media services is growing.
    • Both 8-11s (43%) and 12-15s (52%) are most likely to consider Facebook their main social media profile. This is unchanged since 2015 but has fallen considerably since 2013, when 87% of 12-15s considered Facebook their main site.
    • The numbers of 12-15s using SnapChat have continued to grow (51%, up from 43% in 2015), while fewer say they use Twitter (20%, down from 27%).
  • The qualitative research found that ‘likes’ on social media were important ‘social currency’, with children saying they would remove posts if they didn’t quickly receive what they considered to be an acceptable number.
    • Some had developed this further, timing their posts for 8-10pm, what they called Instagram ‘prime time’, in order to maximise the number of likes they received.
    • 8.15pm is the peak time for social media use among 11-15s, with 38% using a social media site at this point.
  • Five per cent of 8-11s and 14% of 12-15s use chat features in online gaming to talk to people they only know through the game
    • Children are most likely to play games by themselves or with people they already know.
    • However, one in ten 8-11s (10%) and twice as many 12-15s (21%) say they play games online with people they have never met and 5% of 8-11s and 14% of 12-15s say that they use the games’ chat features to chat to people they only know through the game.

Creative activities and civic participation

  • Nearly a third of online 12-15s have got involved in civic activity online
    • Six percent of 8-11s and thirty percent of 12-15s who go online say they have signed petitions, shared news stories on social media, written comments or talked online about the news.
  • Photos, videos and avatars are the most popular online creative activities
    • Nearly four in ten (37%) of online 3-4s and two thirds of online 5-15s (67%) have used their digital devices for creative activities, with making pictures, editing photos, making videos and creating avatars the most popular.
    • One in five 12-15s have made their own digital music and one in six have made their own animation

Staying safe online

  • Children are more likely than in 2015 to say they dislike seeing content that makes them feel sad, frightened or embarrassed, and to say they are worried about people being nasty, mean or unkind to them.
  • Around one in ten online 8-11s (10%) and one in five online 12-15s (19%) say they have seen something online in the past year that was worrying or nasty,
    • Around one in twelve of all 12-15s (8%) say they have been contacted online by someone they don’t know
    • 4% say they have seen something of a sexual nature in the past year, either online or on their mobile phone, all unchanged since 2015.
    • A third of 12-15s say they have seen hate speech in the past year (34%).
      • Fewer than one in ten (7%) say they ‘often’ see this, with the remaining 27% saying they ‘sometimes’ see this.
    • 12-15s are as likely to be bullied via social media or group chat or text message services as they are face to face
      • For 8-11s face to face bullying is more likely
  • More than nine in ten children aged 8-15 have had conversations with parents or teachers about being safe online, and would tell someone if they saw something they found worrying or nasty.
    • Parents of older children are most likely to be having these types of conversations with their children
      • 92% of parents of 12-15s saying they have spoken to their child about online safety, an increase of six percentage points since 2015.
  • Nearly all parents (96%) of 5-15s manage their children’s internet use in some way – through technical tools, talking to or supervising their child, or setting rules about access to the internet and online behaviour.
    • Two in five parents use all four approaches.
    • Parents of children aged 5-15s are more likely to use network level filters in 2016 – up five percentage points to 31%.
  • On the most part, families are in agreement that their child has a good balance between screen time and doing other activities.
    • Most children aged 12-15 (64%), and parents of children of the same age (65%), believe this balance is about right.

Additional figures and information can be found from the full research

Posted in 2016, e-Safety, Early Years, Ofcom, Primary Resources, Research, Secondary Resources | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Cyberbullying Guidance and PSHE toolkit for schools from Childnet

Cyberbullying Guidance

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying, and research reveals it has increased to affect 12% of young people in this country. To support schools develop effective strategies to understand, prevent and respond to cyberbullying Childnet (as part of the UK Safer Internet Center) have launched new cyberbullying guidance along with a practical toolkit for teachers.

The cyberbullying guidance is designed to support schools in preventing and responding to cyberbullying and comprises of four main sections:

  • Understanding cyberbullying
  • Preventing cyberbullying
  • Responding to cyberbullying
  • Cyberbullying – supporting school staff

The guidance can be viewed or downloaded as a complete document or in sections. The creation of the guidance been assisted by a range of experts in this area who formed part of an Advisory Board, as well as the voice of young people on this subject area. Childnet also included examples of good practice from schools regarding how they are preventing and responding to cyberbullying.

Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet said “In the wake of recent figures of an 88% increase in calls to Childline about cyberbullying in the last five years, it is crucial that school leaders understand the positives and negatives of internet culture within their communities and have the management strategies required. We know that cyberbullying is the key online safety issue that schools face; and we know the serious long-lasting impact it can have on children. In the development of our guidance and teaching resources we have been consulting with young people, teachers and experts to collect practical strategies for effectively preventing and responding to cyberbullying.”

Kent County Council recommend that all schools and settings download the cyberbullying guidance. Designated Safeguarding Leads may find it helpful to share the cyberbullying guidance with their staff. It could also be useful to help stimulate a discussion about cyberbullying (including preventative approaches, the schools responsibility and how to respond if a concern is reported) within staff training opportunities.

PSHE Toolkit

Childnet have also published a practical online safety toolkit for use within PSHE lessons which includes films and lesson plans to explore online issues with pupils aged 11-14 years old. The resource is Quality-Assured by the PSHE Association. The toolkit contains educators guidance which provides advice for teachers, as well as information about the law and a set of FAQs (including ways to engage pupils with online safety)

The toolkit is primarily aimed at Key Stage 3 (11-14 year olds), however feedback from teachers has identified that some activities (noted on the educators matrix) may be suitable for a mature upper key stage 2 class (10-11 year olds). It is recommended that teachers check the materials and activities in advance to ensure that it is appropriate for their pupils.

The toolkit aims to help educators in generating discussions with young people and covers:

  • Cyberbullying
  • “Sexting”
  • Peer pressure
  • Self esteem

The resources explore the idea of ‘Crossing the line’. Young people like to push boundaries, and at times they might take a joke too far or engage in risky behaviour online. From behind a screen, they can’t always predict the consequences of their actions. Through discussion and activities, this toolkit enables teachers to challenge young people to not only reflect on their own behaviour online and discover what ‘crosses the line’ for them, but also to take steps to ensure that they also know who and how to report when/if aspects of their online lives go wrong.

Posted in Anti-Bullying, Childnet, Colleges and sixth forms, Cyberbullying, e-Safety, Education Leaders and Managers, Independent Schools, Policy, Primary Resources, Professionals, Resources, Schools, Secondary Resources, Sexting, Social Media, Social Networking, Teachers, UK Safer Internet Centre, Uncategorized, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anti-Bullying Week 2016 – 14th-18th November #PowerForGood

Anti-Bullying Week in England is coordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance and this year takes place from the 14th-18th November.

Ad _awareness _2

The theme for this year is ‘Power for Good’ with the following key aims:

  • To support children and young people to use their Power for Good – by understanding the ways in which they are powerful  and encouraging individual and collective action to stop bullying and create the best world possible.
  • To help parents and carers to use their Power for Good – through supporting children with issues relating to bullying and working together with schools to stop bullying.
  • To encourage all teachers, school support staff and youth workers to use their Power for Good– by valuing the difference they can make in a child’s life, and taking individual and collective action to prevent bullying and create safe environments where children can thrive.

How can you get involved in Anti-Bullying Week 2016?

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Online safety in schools and colleges: Questions for the Governing Body – New UKCCIS document published

The UKCCIS Education Group has recently  developed and published guidance for school governors to help governing boards support their school leaders to keep children safe online.

Governors can use it to:

  • gain a basic understanding of the school’s current approach to keeping children safe online;
  • learn how to improve this approach where appropriate;
  • find out about tools which can be used to improve the approach.

The document explores five key questions for Governors to use to facilitate discussions with Headteachers and Designated Safeguarding Leads to help them ensure schools are fulfilling their statutory safeguarding requirements an also to help collate evidence ready for inspection.

The document includes examples of good and outstanding practice, as well as identifying issues and examples of answers which will help to indicate when governors should be concerned.

This guidance is non-statutory and should be read alongside the Department for Education’s Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance.

Governors may find it helpful to read this document alongside the following blog posts:

Governors within Kent schools and settings may wish to access support and guidance regarding online safety provided by the Education Safeguarding Team.

Posted in e-Safety, Education Leaders and Managers, Governors, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016, Ofsted, Policy, Safeguarding, Schools, UKCCIS | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Parents Info – New poster to help raise awareness

Parent Info is a collaboration between CEOP and Parent Zone which looks to support schools in providing high quality information to parents and carers about their children’s wellbeing and resilience. Schools can host the Parents Info content on their own website, can signpost to the content or can use it in  other ways  e.g. sharing links or specific articles as part of their regular newsletters or in specific letters to parents etc.

The Parents Info service is free to schools and covers a wide range of subject matters, from difficult topics about sex, relationships and the internet or body image and peer pressure to broader parenting topics like ‘how much sleep do teenagers need?’. Schools may find that members of staff as well as parents find the content helpful when responding to a range of online safety, safeguarding and parenting concerns both professionally and personally.

In line with CEOP’s Thinkuknow programme, some of the content covers common internet safety issues, but all of the content starts from the assumption that young people make little distinction between their online and offline lives and the issues for parents are often the same. The aim of Parents Info is to help parents help their children be discriminating, web-literate and resilient and is suitable for parents/carers with children of different and ages and abilities. If you are a school, you can find out more and register for Parent Info on the Parent Info site.

To help raise awareness, Parents Info have now produced a poster for schools to put up around the site/grounds or send home to parents. The poster can be downloaded here.

Posted in CEOP, e-Safety, Education Leaders and Managers, Parent Info, Parent Zone, Parenting in the Digital Age, Parents, Schools | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay Safe Online App Launched

Vodafone UK, supported by the Vodafone Foundation, launched its partnership with The Scouts in January 2016 with the aim of helping young people develop improved digital skills, safety and confidence.

They have recently launched an interactive game as an app called “Stay Safe Online” which has been developed by We Are Digital and Sponge UK. The app is aimed at Cub Scouts and Scouts but schools and other settings may find it helpful to use the app with children within their online safety curriculum  to help develop skills in a fun and engaging way. Alternatively schools/settings may wish to send information out about the resource to their wider community.

Posted in 2016, apps, e-Safety, Scouts, Vodafone | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EIS Checklist response now available on the Safer Internet Centre Filtering Integrator list

In May 2016 (to be enacted from 5th September 2016) the Department for Education published the revised statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE) for schools and colleges in England. KCSIE identified a number of key issues for schools and colleges to be aware of regarding online safety. The updated guidance identifies that schools are required to “ensure appropriate filters and appropriate monitoring systems are in place. Children should not be able to access harmful or inappropriate material from the school or colleges IT system” however, schools also need to “be careful that “overblocking” does not lead to unreasonable restrictions as to what children can be taught with regards to online teaching and safeguarding.” Schools (and registered childcare providers) in England and Wales are also required under the Prevent Duty 2015  “to ensure children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in school, including by establishing appropriate levels of filtering”.

The UK Safer Internet Centre has published two documents to help schools understand what may be considered as ‘appropriate’ filtering and monitoring.

  •  Appropriate Filtering – Guide for education settings and filtering providers about establishing ‘appropriate levels of filtering’
  • Appropriate Monitoring – Guide for education settings and filtering providers about establishing ‘appropriate levels of monitoring’

The UK Safer Internet Centre has also invited filtering providers and Integrators to self-certify their filtering systems using a checklist.

A self-certified checklist response for EIS and Lightspeed can be found on the UK Safer Internet Centres website. For education settings outside of Kent or those using alternative providers, a full list of current Filtering Integrator Responses and Filtering Provider Responses are also available on the UK Safer Internet Centres website.

Please be aware that the accuracy and integrity of the information contained within these responses is warranted by each provider. School leaders should make informed decisions when consider the most appropriate filtering and monitoring solution to meet their school’s needs.

We would urge Kent schools and settings to explore these documents so they are aware of how these systems can or cannot meet their specific needs and requirements with regards to KCSIE 2016.

For any online safety enquiries, Kent schools and settings can contact the Education Safeguarding Team. For any broadband or other IT enquires please contact EIS on 0300 065 8888.

Posted in e-Safety, Education Leaders and Managers, Filtering and Monitoring, Kent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kent Online Safety Training for Designated Safeguarding Leads and Curriculum Leads in Schools and Early Years Settings

The Kent Education Safeguarding Team will be providing a range of centralised events for Kent schools and settings regarding online safety which are available on Kent CPD online.

  • Online Safety (e-Safety) for Designated Safeguarding Leads”: is aimed at Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) and will explore the specific strategic and management responsibilities regarding online safety policy, practice and procedure, including managing incidents and making referrals. The course is aimed at schools and colleges. The event code is SCH 16/1301. Additional dates will be published during October 2016.
  • e-Safety for Early Years Managers / Designated Persons“: is aimed at Early Years Managers and  Designated Persons and will explore the specific strategic and management responsibilities regarding online safety policy, practice and procedure, including managing incidents and making referrals within early years settings. The event code for this event is EYC 16/243.
  • Online Safety (e-Safety) – Engaging Children, Young People and Families”: will focus on resources and educational approaches for curriculum and pastoral leads. One course is aimed for secondary/special schools (event code:SCH 16/1302) and one for primary/special schools (event code: SCH 16/1300)

A limited number of these courses have been published initially for 2016 to establish if there is a local demand from Kent schools and settings. If you or a member of your staff are from a Kent school and are interested in these courses but are unable to make the dates currently advertised then please contact to register your interest.


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