As well as threats to the welfare of children from within their families, children may be vulnerable to abuse or exploitation from outside their families. These extra-familial threats might arise at school and other educational establishments, from within peer groups, or more widely from within the wider community and/or online. These threats can take a variety of different forms and children can be vulnerable to multiple threats, including: exploitation by criminal gangs and organised crime groups such as county lines; trafficking, online abuse; sexual exploitation… Working Together 2018
The University of Bedfordshire have been leading research in this area and have established a wide range of information all included in their Impementation toolkit, There are 3 assessment frameworks ; peer, school & neighbourhood and research and resources available on their website to support these. One of the resources is the contextual assessment framework they provide a further range of tools on the network website (you will need to join the network to access, but there is no charge for this).
With the growing use of technology and social media, all professionals need
to adopt a much more sophisticated approach to their safeguarding responsibilities.
To do this successfully, professionals need to recognize that children and young people do not use technology and social media in isolation. Their offline and online worlds are converged and both need to be understood when trying to identify the type of support that a child, young person and their family might need. The importance of this escalates whenever there are concerns about children and young people suffering or being likely to suffer significant harm. In such circumstances, it is essential that both the offline and online risks are accurately assessed and effectively mitigated.
There are currently thousands of apps being used with developers creating new ones every day. As a result, West Midlands Police have created a social media record of those that have been linked to exploitation.
The spread sheet consists of 5 columns:
1. NAME – the name of the app
2. DESCRIPTION – a brief description of the app
3. CATEGORY – the apps currently in the library are categorised as either CONTENT SHARING, DATING, GAMING or MESSAGING
4. WEBSITE – a link to the apps official website, and
5. DATE ADDED – the date the app was identified and added to the library. This will serve the purpose of helping to identify new and emerging apps.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. It is not a list of all social media apps, but merely a list of all apps that have been identified as being linked to exploitation at this point.
The NSPCC have been working in partnership with a network provider to provide a comprehensive guide to the 5 most popular social media sites as well as online games