Summit to tackle online safety

Summit to tackle online safety


The gathering at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh is being hosted by Scottish Government ministers Aileen Campbell and Alasdair Allan.

It is expected to examine a range of issues including cyber-bullying, online grooming, explicit imagery and blackmail.

The move follows a series of cases of children and young people being threatened and blackmailed online, sometimes with tragic consequences.

Earlier this year, 17-year-old Daniel Perry, from Dunfermline in Fife, is thought to have killed himself after falling victim to a scam where internet users are lured into webcam chats and then blackmailed with the footage.

The teenager was said to have believed he was talking to an American girl on Skype but was told by blackmailers that the conversations had been recorded and would be shared with friends and family unless he paid up.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Ms Campbell, the Minister for Children and Young People, said: “We’ve seen too much devastation caused by the abusive use of the internet. In some cases, it was brutally planned and an obvious, abhorrent criminal act. But for many people, the anonymity online allows them to forget that their actions and comments can be incredibly damaging to those on the receiving end.

“We need to educate parents and children about the importance of knowing what to do and where to go if something goes wrong online to stop abuse and prevent tragic consequences.

“We’ve already given all schools advice on responsible use of phones, tablets and other mobile devices and a new web resource is helping schools review and develop how they teach online safety. This summit will build on this work by pooling the experience of a broad range of professionals and young people themselves to develop the next steps.”

Experts from government, the police, the voluntary sector and business will take part in the summit, which will also have contributions from young people themselves.

Organisations such as Young Scot, the National Parent Forum of Scotland, Children 1st and Childline Scotland will be among those represented at the gathering.

Dr Allan, the Minister for Learning, said: “This summit offers a valuable opportunity to acknowledge the steps we’ve already taken, look to the future and acknowledge the fact that we can and will tackle this problem by working together. Schools, parents, those at the summit today and the media all have a role to play in ensuring our children can go online without fear of bullying or abuse.”


About Gregory D Evans

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