National Online Safety

7 December 2020

National Online Safety


All New Online Safety App!


The new National Online Safety mobile app is now available! We know that making training and resources accessible and convenient for busy members of the school community brings its own challenges. Our app addresses that by offering free access to our award-winning resources through any smart phone. It’s a simple, flexible way for staff and parents to get expert guidance on online safety issues, whenever and wherever suits them. We think it’s the world’s most comprehensive online safety app – but we’d like to find out for yourself.
Download it via your app store below:


Welcome to the National Online Safety
December Newsletter 2020


This latest update will help you stay informed on the latest online safety news, quickly gain practical tips and advice, and access free online resources. Read on for your complete roundup of all you need to know.


Online Safety News Roundup from November 2020


Covid-related cybercrime drives attacks on UK to record number


Cyber Crime-1

With 194 Covid-related cases involving hostile states and criminal gangs, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) had an all-time high of hacker attacks over the past year. The intelligence unit said that while Russia and other states – such as China – had targeted British vaccine research, it was criminal gangs who frequently targeted other parts of the NHS, often to attempt online fraud, with spear phishing used by both groups as a frequent method of attack.


Find out more information on hacking in our online safety guide here.


Covid-19: Stop anti-vaccination fake news online with new law says Labour


Fake News Covid Vaccine

Emergency laws to "stamp out dangerous" anti-vaccine content online should be introduced, Labour has said. It follows news of progress on the first effective coronavirus vaccine. The party is calling for financial and criminal penalties for social media firms that do not remove false scare stories about vaccines – the government says it took the issue "extremely seriously" with "a major commitment" from Facebook, Twitter and Google to tackle anti-vaccine content.


Find out more information on fake news in our online safety guide here.

Tech giants join with governments to fight Covid misinformation



Facebook, Twitter and Google are working with a coalition of governments including the UK and Canada to fight misinformation and conspiracy theories around Covid vaccinations. Formed by the British fact-checking charity Full Fact, the new working group will aim to set cross-platform standards for tackling misinformation – as well as how to hold organisations accountable for their failure to do so. The partnership also includes the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, besides others.


One in five children in England and Wales experienced online bullying in 2019


Worried Girl - Comp

Nearly one in five children experienced some form of online bullying last year, figures show, amid warnings that the problem has worsened during lockdown. More than half (52%) of the children who were bullied online went on to say that they would not describe the behaviour involved as bullying, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), while one in four did not tell anyone. Figures did show that the prevalence was significantly higher for children with a long-term illness or disability (26%) than those without (18%).


Find out more information on cyberbullying in our online safety guide here.

Find out more information on trolling and online abuse in our online safety guide here.

TikTok failed to ban flagged 'child predator'



When BBC Panorama created an account which identified itself as belonging to a 14-year-old girl and then reported a male adult for sending sexual messages, TikTok did not ban it. The app says it has a "zero tolerance" policy against grooming behaviours, but when an account created for the programme - which identified itself as belonging to a 14-year-old girl - reported a male adult for sending sexual messages, TikTok did not ban it and only took action after Panorama sought an explanation.


Find out more information on TikTok in our online safety guide here.

Xbox is making changes to Party Chat to improve your online safety


Xbox x

Xbox engineer Bill Ridmann has confirmed that Microsoft has been working in the background to increase the security of Xbox Party Chat following consistent reports of denial-of-service attacks from other players. In the past, Party Chat has utilised peer-to-peer connections which can expose IP addresses, and Ridmann recently responded to a Reddit thread about this topic to explain that the P2P method is actually being phased out, with this meaning that Party Chat will soon be completely server based.


Find out more information on Xbox X|S Series in our online safety guide here.

'Men send me hate messages when I beat them at Fifa'

Fifa 2021

Professional gamer Lisa Manley has spoken of the abuse which she receives when she beats men on the popular video game, Fifa. The 21-year-old, who has had to put her dreams of becoming a professional footballer on hold due to a knee injury, says she tries to use the abuse to her advantage and if anything, it only encourages her to play more. She is also in the process creating her own women-only tournaments as a way to get more women playing eSports.



‘Secret Sister’ Facebook scam encourages people to unknowingly break the law



A Christmas Facebook scam titled the “Secret Sister Gift Exchange” appears to be too good to be true – and, of course, very much is. Just one of a range of malicious hoaxes appearing across the network encourages people to spend money on buying gifts with the promise that they’ll get far more gifts in return. Except only one half of that actually happens – and it’s the bit that involves someone taking your money. The “Secret Sister Gift Exchange” involves some variation on a message asking people to take part as a way of spreading joy.


Facebook's encryption plans could help child abusers escape justice, NCA warns


Facebook 2

Police and a children’s charity have warned that a man who admitted 96 counts of child sexual abuse could’ve escaped justice if tech giants had already toughened their encryption. David Wilson targeted young boys aged from four to 14, getting them to send compromising pictures and video. Some were so traumatised that they considered ending their lives. The NCA said he used Facebook Messenger, which is planning to strengthen its encryption, meaning in future an offender like Wilson, using fake identities to prowl the internet for victims, could escape detection.


Social media: How might it be regulated?


Social Media-1

Several countries around the world are considering regulating social media - but what might that look like? A new report by the Forum for Information and Democracy explores further. The report has put forward a tranche of ideas that its authors say could end the "informational chaos that poses a vital threat to democracies". One of its suggestions is that social networks should be required to release details of their algorithms and core functions to trusted researchers, in order for the technology to be vetted.


LEGO launches new family activities to teach children about cyberbullying



The LEGO Group is taking its campaign to tackle cyberbullying to the next level with a raft of family-focused, digital child safety and wellbeing initiatives under the Build and Talk banner. The Danish toy maker has developed a new Build and Talk activity guide in order to help parents and caregivers start conversations with their child about the subject, while also completing some simple LEGO builds together at the same time. The idea behind the activities is to help children understand and celebrate the power of being kind online – subsequently giving them the skills they need to thrive in the digital environment.


A* pupil who downloaded indecent images of boys and joined neo-Nazi forum handed suspended sentence



An A* grammar school student has been handed a suspended sentence after posting bomb-making manuals on neo-Nazi forums and downloading indecent images. Harry Vaughan pleaded guilty to one count of encouragement of terrorism, one count of disseminating a terrorist publication, 12 counts of possessing a document useful for terrorism and two counts of making an indecent photograph of a child. He was arrested by police in June last year following an investigation into an online forum, called Fascist Forge, described as a "home for the 21st-century fascist".


Twitter may slow down users’ ability to ‘like’ tweets containing misinformation



Twitter is working to expand the use of its “misinformation” labels on misleading tweets, with the company developing a new feature which isn’t yet live. This new feature would fall in line with other measures which Twitter has been taking to slow the spread of misinformation on its service, including a recent change to how retweets work. On October 20, 2020, Twitter began to prompt anyone who goes to retweet something to share a quote tweet instead.


App Updates from November 2020


TikTok adds tougher parental controls


titok 2

TikTok is making it easier for parents to safeguard their children on its video-sharing app, with a series of new features, which include preventing strangers from seeing their posts. New features include the ability to change the youngster's settings remotely to block them from carrying out searches, and to prevent strangers from seeing their posts. Children still have the capability to override these new limitations but not without their parents being told.


WhatsApp lets messages vanish after seven days



WhatsApp is introducing a "disappearing messages" option that will erase chats from the phone of both the sender and recipient after seven days. The Facebook-owned app, which has two billion users worldwide, said the setting would help keep chats private, but it said recipients would still be able to screenshot or forward any messages, photos or videos that they wanted to keep. In a blog, the company said messages could be set to expire after seven days to offer "peace of mind that conversations aren't permanent, while remaining practical so you don't forget what you were chatting about".


Our Latest Parent Guides


Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

10 Tips for Safe

Shopping Online on Cyber Monday

10 Tips for Safe Shopping Online On Black Friday

10 Ways You Can Get the Most out of Our New App

Online Safety Hub | Support | Terms & Conditions

Winner – Teach Awards 2019: Educational Resources
Winner – Education Investor Awards 2018: Market Entrant
Finalist – EducationInvestor Award 2020: Education Business of the Year
Finalist – BETT Awards 2020: Company of the Year, Open Educational Resources
Finalist – EducationInvestor Awards 2019: ICT Platforms & Applications
Finalist – BETT Awards 2019: Company of the Year, Innovator of the Year, Start-up of the Year
Finalist – ERA 2019: Supplier of the Year, Free Educational Resources, Lesson Resources

Head Office, National Online Safety, Oswald Road, North Lincolnshire DN15 7PA, United Kingdom, 0800 368 8061