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Online safety plan by Scottish Government

8th December 2013

Better information sharing between professionals, parents and young people is key to improving online safety, a group of experts has recommended.

A summit on online safety, jointly chaired by Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell and Minister for Learning Alasdair Allan, discussed a range of topics with the aim of restoring users confidence in going online.

Charities, Police, councils and parents came together with industry representatives and young people to look at how to make internet users aware of their rights online.

Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell, said:Our discussions looked at a full spectrum of issues that can affect peoples enjoyment of the internet, including cyber-bullying and criminal activity like fraud, blackmail, grooming and exploitation. Each organisation is already taking steps to address these and by coordinating our efforts we can reach many more people.

We are also going to explore where the research gaps are in order to get a clearer picture of the scale of the problem in Scotland and collate the huge amount of information available already.

The two teenage representatives from Young Scot who joined us spoke of their experiences of using the internet and the support they had had at school. We need to strike the correct balance between safety and not demonising the internet. We all recognise what a fabulous resource it is and by working together we can help people use it with increasing confidence.

Minister for Learning, Science and Scotlands Languages, Dr Alasdair Allan, added:The speed at which technology moves means that this will be an issue that we need to be able to respond to quickly and adapt as needed. The summit gave us an opportunity to look at the current situation but also to start to look at the developments that will move technology on in the very near future and the implications that presents.

The way we teach online safety within Curriculum for Excellence offers us an excellent opportunity to take all of this information we are gathering and pass that onto teachers and pupils.

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot said:It is vital that agencies across Scotland make sure the positive benefits of the internet are maximised by children and young people, alongside a focus on ensuring we equip them to stay safe and take charge of their online experiences positively.

Young Scot was delighted to take part in the summit, sharing the work we are doing but also getting the chance to learn from others. We were especially pleased to see such commitment to listening to young people and involving them at the heart of decision-making in this area.

Brian Donnelly Director of respectme, Scotlands anti-bullying service, said:We are successfully working with schools and parents on dealing with online bullying in Scotland; we ask them to think of the internet as a place rather than a thing. Recognising the internet provides a social space has built the confidence of many parents and schools to connect with children about where they are going on line and to discuss the risks and how they behave.

We hope to build on this and help make a difference in relation to the whole range of risks and behaviours children experience online and look forward to working together with other agencies and the Scottish Government to address this issue.

Steps already being taken to enhance online safety:

Launch of e-safety review tool The 360 degree safe online tool is user friendly and interactive to allow schools to review their e-safety provision and to develop an action plan for improvement.
Guidance on mobile technology in school Advice has been given to schools on how to encourage safe and responsible use of personal mobile technology in school, and beyond. They are also designed to protect staff, children and young people from harassment and abuse which can arise from the misuse of such technology.
Scottish Stakeholder Group on Internet Safety 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.
Ministerial Working Group on Child Sexual Exploitation - Scotlands first national child sexual exploitation working group is considering a range of important issues around Child Sexual Exploitation and will report back its findings to Ministers by the end of the year.
Representatives from the following organisations attended the summit: Scottish Government, Young Scot, respectme, Police Scotland, CEOP, Perth and Kinross Council, Highland Council, National Parent Forum of Scotland, Association of Directors of Education Scotland, Care Inspectorate, TalkTalk Group, Children 1st Children in Scotland, UK Safer Internet Centre/Southwest Grid for Learning, Education Scotland and Childline Scotland.

Highland Council recommends the following web sites for e-safety for children.
www.highlandesafety.wordpress.com
www.thinkuknow.co.uk
www.childnet.com.

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