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Online Safety- a year in review

Online Safety- a year in review

5th January 2018

In the year that saw the royal engagement of Prince Harry and Megan Markle and the #MeToo movement dominating the headlines, we have taken some time to look back on the online safety pivotal moments, statistics and announcements in the UK, with a few Impero highlights thrown in also!


A five minute video named ‘Kayleigh’s Love Story’, which described the real life tragedy of Kayleigh Haywood, a murdered school girl who had been groomed online, prompted at least thirty-five children to come forward with fears they had been groomed online. View the story here.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, announced plans to “transform” attitudes to metal health, creating a “shared society”. View the story here.

Northern Irish police team PSNI Newry and Mourne shared a “secret sexting codes” guide to help parents’ spot signs of potential grooming and exploitation. View the story here.


Safer Internet Day, which is held annually on the second Tuesday of every February, launched in 2017 with the key message ‘Be the change: unite for a better internet’. View what happened on that day here.

New laws that make it a criminal offence for an adult to send sexually explicit messages to a child under the age of 16 were passed by parliament in March 2015, but they still were not being enforced. View the story here.


Education Secretary Justine Greening stated that sex and relationships education is to be made compulsory in all schools in England. View the story here.


The Digital Economy Act set out to make the country the safest place in the world for children and young people. The act introduced age verification processes for viewers of online pornography. View our blog to find out more.

Impero’s online safety partner SafeBAE, launched their ‘Quit this shit’ campaign to raise awareness about, and put an end to the online harassment and re-victimization of teen sexual-assault survivors. View the site here.


Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW), a week held annually by the Mental Health Foundation, used the slogan ‘Surviving or thriving?’ to help prompt national conversation on the issues surrounding the social stigma of mental health. View our blog on MHAW here.

Theresa May announced that Facebook users would be given a new legal right to delete photos, messages and information they put online as teenagers. View the story here.

Instagram was ranked the ‘most dangerous’ social media app for young people’s mental health, sparking discussions on online safety and social media use. View the story here.

UK Prime Minister urged world leaders to do more to combat online extremism, stating that the fight against so-called Islamic State is “moving from the battlefield to the internet”. View the story here.


Police recorded an average of 15 child sex offences a day, with a 44% rise involving the internet. These statistics resulted in the NSPCC calling on the government to introduce strict online safety measures. View the story here.

Stop Cyberbullying day, an internationally recognised awareness day ran annually by The Cybersmile Foundation, brought together schools, organisations, celebrities, government and more to share to share experiences of cyberbullying or online abuse, as well as messages of hope and positivity. Find out more about the day here.

Stand Up to Bullying day launched by The Diana Award and Anti-Bullying Pro, ran a successful campaign to raise awareness of bullying and to promote positive relationships. Visit the Stand Up to Bullying site here.

Facebook launched a drive in the UK to tackle online extremist material by educating charities and other non-government organisations about how to counter hate speech. View the story here.

Ofsted head vowed to crackdown on extremism and promote ‘British Values’, ensuring that schoolchildren are equipped with the appropriate “knowledge and resilience”. View the story here.

Snapchat introduced ‘Snap Maps’, a location-sharing feature that put into question the online safety of children and young people using this feature. View the story here.


Data revealed that more than 4,000 children and young people had been dealt with by police for sexting since 2013. View the story here.

The UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) launched their new online safety guides aimed at professionals working with children. View the guides here.

Anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label announced that research suggests that social media is making children and young people more anxious. View the story here.

Suffolk launched their #StaySafeOnline campaign that aimed to expose and help prevent digital threats experienced by young people in the county. View the story here.


A UK study found that children who bully classmates online are more likely to have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide. View the story here.


Google announced it will give a total of £1m to fund projects that help counter extremism in the UK. View the story here.

Annually, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) runs World Suicide Prevention Day. 2017 saw the theme ‘Take a minute, change a life’, as the IASP urged individuals to look out for those who may be struggling and offer support. View the World Suicide Prevention Day 2017 site here.


Impero launched the first event of the autumn safeguarding seminars, joining forces with industry experts to provide up-to-date knowledge and practical advice to school safeguarding staff and network managers. View our recap here.

Google and Facebook were asked to pay for measures to tackle cyberbullying after the launch of the UK government’s internet safety green paper. View the green paper here.

World Mental Health Day, organised by the World Federation for Mental Health, is observed every year. Take a look at our blog that talks about mental health in young children here.

Impero launched a whitepaper exploring the opportunities and challenges of implementing an active monitoring system in a school or college environment. Download your own copy here.


Stranmillis University College in Belfast, alongside universities in England, Italy, Holland and Germany was awarded almost 300,000 euros (£266,000) for a study in cyberbullying in schools. View the story here.

Volunteer moderators stated that part of YouTube’s system for reporting sexualised comments left on children’s video’s had not been functioning correctly for more than a year. View the story here.

Childnet launched their Online Safety Awareness pack for schools. Download the pack here.

Banardo’s Scotland warned police that risk of suicide is underestimated among children falling for sextortion gangs online. View the story here.

Coordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) and supported by SafeToNet, the annually held anti-bullying week ran with the theme ‘All Different, All Equal’. View our blog on anti-bullying week here.


The National Crime Agency announced that sex offenders are increasingly using live online streaming platforms to exploit children. View the story here.

Launched in the US, Facebook introduced Facebook Messenger for kids to help combat underage usage of their original application aimed at those 13 and over. View the story here.

Project deSHAME a collaboration between Childnet, Save the Children (Denmark), Kek Vonal (Hungary) and UCLan (UK) was launched. The project aims to increase reporting of online sexual harassment, and improving prevention and intervention of the issue. Find out more here.

The BBC launched a new scheme to help children and young people identify the difference between real and fake news. The project is targeted at secondary schools and sixth forms in the UK. View the story here.

The Department for Education released guidance advising schools and colleges on how to prevent and respond to reports of sexual violence and harassment between children. Download the publication here.


Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up-to-date with the latest online safety, Impero and education specific news in 2018!

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