The SNP Government has launched a new national action plan to help protect children and young people online.
The plan will help children and young people develop the skills they need to stay safe on the internet and support parents and carers to be more aware of the potential risks that their children face online.
The SNP Government will work with education and health organisations, police and youth charities to deliver the plan.
Kenneth Gibson said:
“Children and young people are spending longer online than ever before. Many own a tablet or smartphone and almost three quarters of 12-15 year olds now have a social media profile. While the internet and mobile technology have positively transformed our lives, 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 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.”
Matt Forde, national head for National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) Scotland, added:
“The preventative actions put forward in the SNP 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 a major 21st century child protection challenge, as the internet is used as a gateway by abusers to commit hundreds of offences against children each year. It’s every parent’s nightmare that their child will be targeted in this way. Education is the key to keeping children safe online and our Net Aware guide to social media for parents and more information about online safety is available through its Share Aware Campaign.
“We encourage parents to have open conversations with their children to ensure they protect themselves online.”
The National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People has been published today.
Police Scotland recorded a rise of 60% in indecent communications recorded under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 between adults and children under 13 from 103 in 2013-14 to 165 in 2014-15.