Online Safety Weekly Update – 27th Sept 2023

I hope you are having a good week. I have a few updates this week which I hope may be of use.

A few people have been in touch to ask about my Online Safety Leads (managing online safety) course. Just before the summer break I had to remove the course from the platform it was hosted on as it had become a technical and administrative nightmare. I’m pleased to say I have purchased a new platform and I’m halfway through the design and porting content across, everything should be ready by October half-term or before.

If you’re interested you can take a sneak peek HERE.


  • Rumble – what is it?
  • For parents – Snapchat AI.
  • Online Safety Bill (Act).
  • Adult content driving teens towards CSAM.
  • For parents – YouTube supervised accounts.
  • For parents – conversation starters.

Rumble – what is it?

With the allegations against Russell Brand over the last couple of weeks, you may hear the media talking about a platform called Rumble. Essentially it’s a YouTube competitor founded in 2013 and appears to be gaining in popularity. This is because many of those who have been ‘cancelled’ by other platforms are able to keep talking to their fans on Rumble which has far more lax policies as the platform opposes censorship. I had a quick look at the trending videos on Rumble just before I started typing this and at the top are Russell Brand and Donald Trump.There are hundreds of Andrew Tate videos (both by Tate and his followers) and as you can imagine, lots of disinformation, conspiracy theories and much more. Definitely one to keep your ears open for.

For Parents – Snapchat AI

In a bid to keep up with everyone else, Snapchat introduce their AI chatbot a few months ago by default into users accounts. You don’t get a choice, it can’t be turned off unless you pay! 

I spoke to 5 classes of Year 7’s last week and approximately half of them had used Snap MyAI for a variety of reasons such as boredom and loneliness. There can be positives, but on the flip side there are always negatives, such as inappropriate content, misinformation (AI is only as good as the data it’s trained on), privacy and much more. Even Snapchat admits that the AI can be tricked into saying pretty much anything.

A friend of mine, Wayne Denner, has put together a really good article explaining Snap MyAI and it may be worth sharing with parents. You can see the article HERE.

Online Safety Bill (Act)

I haven’t written too much about this in the past for two reasons: it was (is) huge and it was very fast moving over six years of continual scrutiny committees. But finally, the Bill is here and approved, it just needs Royal assent, likely towards the end of October/early November. Simplistically the Online Safety Act will bring an end to tech companies self-regulating with the government (regulated by Ofcom) holding companies to account over a vast range of content, contact and conduct issues including the design and functionality of their services.

It’s going to take some time for everything to be implemented, but at last, after over 25 years of no action by government, we’re seeing something meaningful.

Carnegie UK have put together a small, fantastic 12-point guide to the Online Safety Act HERE.

Adult Content Driving Teens Towards CSAM

This is exactly the sort of thing that the Online Safety Act is trying to prevent – where young people having free and easy access to adult material which then becomes normalised, and therefore seeking out other content such as CSAM. The Stop It Now Helpline is reporting more and more contact by teens looking for help and have recently created a safe space for teenagers to get help called SHORE. In the words of the Police, we cannot arrest our way out of this, young people need help and support, so this new service is a great step in the right direction.

You can read an article about the increase in The Guardian HERE.

For Parents – YouTube Supervised Accounts

Each week I deliver at least 2 parent online safety sessions, either via webinar or physically in school to help parents safeguard their children and understand their online lives. This includes explaining available tools such as YouTube Supervised Experience which is really easy to set up and gives parents much greater flexibility in managing the content their children are watching on YouTube. 

I have a page on my website which has 5 very simple videos showing parents how to set up and use Supervised Experience, YouTube Kids (which also has new settings). Feel free to share THIS page with parents.

For Parents – Conversation Starters

One of the more common questions I get from parents is, “How do I start that conversation with my child?” Early and continuing conversations is important and should not be any different from any other normal conversation. I spoke to a parent a few weeks ago who finds some topics can be difficult, so the said those conversations are reserved for the school run in the car – in other words there is no direct eye contact so the conversation for adult/child can be easier.

To help parents, Internet Matters have put together some conversation starters and tips to help which you can find HERE.

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