05 April 2022 @ 10:00
Disturbing Online Content: Think Before You Share Scare

Unfortunately online scare stories, disturbing content, hoaxes and challenges are never too far away from the headlines.  Such content can be particularly distressing for younger children and parents/carers and once again, we have recently seen a number of concerns reported around concerning video content circulating online. 

Whilst the need to warn about the latest concern is an understandable reaction and is often seen through attention-grabbing posters and circulation via social media groups, research informs us that albeit well-intentioned, this typically has a counter-productive effect including serving to exacerbate the issue further by increasing the reach and drawing unwanted attention to such content regardless of its actual veracity.

However, engaging and supporting parents & carers is an essential part of effective online safety provision.  To support this aim, rather than highlighting individual items of viral content, we strongly recommend following the DfE guidance and related references highlighted below when deciding how to address such concerns.

In addition, whilst primarily intended for our education partners, the Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership has developed a correspondence template which can be used and locally adapted to address concerns with the broader school community.

The resource can be accessed from the following link:  CSAP: Viral Challenges & Scare Stories – Letter Template


Online Safeguarding
Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership

Useful References:

Department for Education (Harmful Online Challenges and Online Hoaxes):

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (There’s a viral scare online. What should I do?):

The Education People (Online Safety Alerts – Think Before you Scare):