NSPCC warns of Zoom security risks

Last updated: 15 May 2020 Topics: Safeguarding children Online safety Type: News article

The NSPCC is warning of serious safeguarding risks as a result of a growing trend in Zoom calls being ‘bombed’ with child sexual abuse images.

A recent Zoombombing incident in Plymouth saw 60 children taking part in an online fitness class exposed to footage of child sex abuse. The extremely distressing video was streamed by the offender to both organisers and participants.

Following similar incidents across the UK and worldwide, the NSPCC is urging parents to supervise their children when using Zoom and conference organisers to take steps to secure meeting details and passwords.

What you can do

The NSPCC and O2 have published safety advice about Zoom on their Net Aware site which applies for all video conferencing services.

This includes:

  • parents supervising children whenever they are using Zoom
  • ensuring meetings are password protected
  • if you’re hosting a public meeting ensure only the host can share their screen by turning on the function when setting up the call
  • ensure the waiting room feature is on at all times and only let in people you know
  • do not share meeting details or passwords publicly or on social media, including in ‘closed’ groups, and only share them privately with attendees you know and trust
  • familiarise yourself with the security icon in the menu bar so you know how to lock the meeting, use the waiting room and remove participants

If you’re using online platforms to carry out coaching remotely, make sure you’re following your organisations online safety and social media policies.

We have also developed guidance on remote coaching for staff and organisations.

Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC helpline for free and confidential advice on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk.

A dedicated O2/NSPCC online safety helpline is available on 0808 800 5002.

Children can contact Childline for free on 0800 1111 and speak to a counsellor about a worry or concern they may have 365-days-a-year.

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