Drive To Keep Children Safe Online Begins

21 April 2017, 15:17

Childline

An action plan to help keep children safe online has been unveiled.

Childcare and early years minister Mark McDonald launched the updated national scheme, which also aims to make parents and carers aware of the risks their children face.

Mr McDonald revealed the plan on a visit to NSPCC Scotland's Childline base in Glasgow, where he met volunteers helping children deal with internet safety issues.

He said: ''While the internet and mobile technology have positively transformed our lives, I am concerned too many children and young people are being put at risk from online harm and abuse.

''We all have a responsibility to protect children and young people, and this updated plan sets out a number of actions to improve internet safety.

''Its priorities include equipping children and young people themselves to stay safe online, supporting professionals, parents and carers and continuing to work with digital and social media providers to ensure children are not exposed to harm.''

The NSPCC's helpline provided 844 counselling sessions about the issue to children across the UK last year, up from 529 in 2014/15.

Matt Forde, national head for NSPCC Scotland, said: ''The preventative actions put forward in the Scottish Government's plan are vital as the scale and nature of this type of offending requires strong measures to keep children safe online.

''Online safety is one of the major 21st-century child protection challenges and we know the internet is used as a gateway by abusers to commit hundreds of offences against children each year.

''Education is key to keeping children safe online and Net Aware - the NSPCC's guide to social media and gaming apps - provides advice and support for parents.''