Category Archives: E-SAFETY

Snapchat’s new map feature raises fears of stalking and bullying

Snap Maps lets users track each other’s movements in real time, but child safety groups are cautioning young people against sharing their location.

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Snapchat has introduced a map feature that lets users track other people’s location in real time, raising concerns among safety and privacy advocates.

Snap Maps, launched this week, plots users and their snaps onto a map so friends and other Snapchatters can see where they are and what they are doing.

“We’ve built a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure!” said the company in a blogpost announcing the update.

When they first use the feature, users can select whether they want to make their location visible to all of their friends, a select group of connections or to no one at all, which Snapchat refers to as “ghost mode”.

The new feature has raised concerns among safety experts who fear it could be used to stalk or bully others.

“Given how specific this new feature is on Snapchat – giving your location to a precise pinpoint on a map – we would encourage users not to share their location, especially with people they don’t know in person,” said child safety group Childnet International in a blogpost.

“It is important to be careful about who you share your location with, as it can allow people to build up a picture of where you live, go to school and spend your time.”

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Safeguarding Alert: ‘The Blue Whale Challenge’ and Netflix Production ’13 Reasons Why’

Dear Parent/Carer,

Safeguarding Alert:  ‘The Blue Whale Challenge’ and Netflix Production ’13 Reasons Why’

Children’s Services have suggested I write to you to draw your attention to both a dangerous online game called The Blue Whale Challenge (online app) and a new Netflix Production ‘13 Reasons Why’ to raise awareness and as a protective measure for our children and young people. The information contained in this letter is disturbing, but we believe it is important to alert you to the seriousness of this issue.

The Blue Whale Challenge is an internet based game that has resulted in many deaths in many countries.  The Challenge is believed to be spreading across Europe with an increasing number of incidents of self-harm and suicide reported.

The administrator/curator of The Challenge targets children and vulnerable adults and gives them 50 challenges to complete over a period of weeks culminating in suicide (challenge number 50).

The majority of the challenges involve self-harm followed by sending a picture to the curator as proof.  A tell-tale sign is challenge number 11: “carve a whale on your hand with a razor and send a photo to the curator”

Other examples of challenges that children and young people are urged to follow:

  • Use a knife or razor to make the shape of a whale on their wrist or leg
  • Get up at 4:20am and watch scary videos
  • Sacrifice your hand, cut your lips
  • Day 26: You will get your date of death
  • Day 28: Don’t talk to anyone
  • Day 50: Jump from the roof or hang yourself

In addition, a new Netflix production called ‘13 Reasons Why’ has also been reported to glamorise self-harm and suicide, and parents should be warned about the potentially harmful effects.

You should talk to your children if you are concerned about them or notice a change in their behavior. We would encourage you to inform the school of your concerns.

You can also seek additional support from the NSPCC on 0808 808 5002 to provide help on how to keep children safe online.  Please report abuse of children to CEOP (

If you have safeguarding concerns you can seek advice from Ealing Children’s Services by contacting Ealing Children’s Integrated Response Service (ECIRS) on 0208 825 8000 or email As always, if you feel your child is at immediate risk please dial 999 and ask for the appropriate emergency services.

Yours Sincerely,



5 Rules for Kids Using Digital Technology

1) Hold the line and set boundaries

Parenting can be a very hard job, Suzie admits, but it is the responsibility of the adult to think about the issues, set rules in place and hold that line. It’s important to recognise that boundaries on time or certain activities have to be set, and then held, even though it may be tough. “I know you’re saying you hate me you hate me because I’m saying it’s ten o’clock and it’s time to switch everything off,” Suzie observes, “ but I’m the parent, and that’s how we’re going to manage it.

2) Be aware of the dangers

Thinking of the online or digital world as the information superhighway is an apt analogy, she says: “this is something you jump in – it could be wonderful and you’re running around, enjoying yourself, discovering fantastic things, going fantastic places and along comes a juggernaut and runs you over.” Parents have to recognise that amongst all this wonderfulness there are dangers. The then need to help make kids aware of this and where these dangers lie.

3) Don’t use the term screen time

Screen time is actually a false concept when thinking about how children use digital technology, says Dr John Coleman. A better way of looking at it is what kids are actually using that time for: “Within screen time are a whole range of things – maybe doing your homework, maybe being creative, maybe doing a project at school –screen time itself is not a good measure.”

4) Be aware of what your kids are doing

Setting effective rules starts with recognising what children are actually doing. Just as screen time can be broken down into a range of different activities, some educational, some social or for entertainment, so the rules and boundaries should be flexible to incorporate this range of activities – and that can only be done by paying attention to how children are using their exposure to digital technology: “it involves making sure that you have some sense of what is going on – what the young person is doing,” John states.

5) Communicate and have fun!

“It all comes down to communication,” says Suzie. “It’s the parents’ job to help kids recognise where the dangers lie, to put rules in place, but also what sort of rules should be put in place. But once they’re there, children can enjoy their experience – “I think sometimes that’s what people struggle to recognise. Put those rules in place, insist of them being held, and then have fun.”

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Young People at Risk – Sharing Inappropiate Pictures


The growing phenomenon of young people sharing inappropriate pictures of themselves online has become a real issue, with recent reports suggesting that children as young as 7 have been involved.

The NSPCC has produced a guide to help parents talk with their children about the dangers and legalities surrounding this, to help empower them to say “no” to requests. Access to this guide can be found here  NSPCC GUIDE – PLEASE SHARE.

It is essential that you stay ahead of the fast-moving digital social media world that young people live in.

Kind regards