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04/10/13 10:36

Protecting children online

Government to bring together experts to improve internet safety.

A summit to ensure Scottish children receive the best possible protection when they are on the internet is being organised by the Scottish Government.

Children’s Minister Aileen Campbell and Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, will invite senior representatives of organisations with a clear role in child internet safety to discuss improving online protection later this year.

Ahead of the National Parent Forum of Scotland conference this weekend, Ms Campbell said that the issue was a priority following a series of cases of children and young people being threatened and blackmailed online - often leading to tragic consequences.

Ms Campbell said:

“Over recent weeks and months we’ve seen too many reports of young people lives being damaged or ending tragically after been targeted on chat and social networking sites.

“That is why I am arranging a summit to invite experts, including those who work directly with young people, to see what more we can do in Scotland to protect our children as well as inform worried parents.

“While much of Internet safety is not devolved to the Scottish Government we are committed to making sure child internet safety is properly recognised in Scottish education, policing and child protection policies and that the best support is available to anyone targeted.

“The national anti-bullying service Respectme offers excellent support and advice to both parents and young people, we can build on this by looking at what more can be done and how we can share the wide-reaching expertise at our disposal.”

Iain Ellis, chair of the National Parent Forum of Scotland, said:

"The National Parent Forum of Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government focus on internet safety, as we know this is something that really concerns parents. Whilst schools sometimes do run internet safety information evenings for parents, we would really benefit from receiving clear, consistent and regularly-updated information, as the possibilities and risks of the internet are fast-changing. Using the internet in positive ways is a crucial part of everyday life; it is important that our children develop healthy, constructive internet habits and that they learn to keep themselves safe. Parents need to know how to help them with this."

Notes to editors

Online safety in Scotland is monitored by the Scottish Government led Stakeholder Group on Child Internet Safety. The Group includes wide representation, including Police Scotland, Young Scot, Respectme, Local Authority E-Safety Partnerships, Internet Watch Foundation, CEOP and Scottish Government policy leads.

Advice for parents and young people is available from the national anti-bullying service Respectme www.respectme.org.uk/cyberbullying.html and CEOP’s thinkuknow website www.thinkuknow.co.uk/.