Internet safety for children and young people: national action plan

Refreshed action plan on internet safety for children and young people to ensure appropriate training, support and information is in place.

Every parent/carer is equipped to guide and support their children's online activity

Contributory outcomes

  • Parents/carers have a shared understanding of the opportunities and risks which exist in the online world
  • Parents/carers are able to identify when a child or young person may be at risk of online abuse and know where to go for support
  • Parents/carers have an increased understanding, and appropriate technical knowledge, in order to support their child's online activity
  • Parents/carers are motivated to engage in their child's online activity

What we're already doing

Parentzone Scotland , created and maintained by Education Scotland, is a unique website for parents and carers in Scotland, from early years to beyond school. The website provides up-to-date information about learning in Scotland, practical advice and ideas to support children's learning at home in literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing, and science. Information is also available on Parentzone Scotland regarding additional support needs, how parents can get involved in their child's school and education, as well as details about schools and the performance data of school leavers from S4-S6.

Information on internet safety is currently available for parents on Parentzone Scotland and new content and videos on cyber security will be added to the site shortly. This will help parents to look at the resources and start a conversation with their child on various topics about staying safe online.

Keep your child safe online is a partnership between O2 and NSPCC specifically designed to support parents to keep their children safe online. It provides tips and advice, workshops to help parents/carers have the right conversations with their children and a free helpline offering personal advice.

respect me is a national anti-bullying service, aimed at building confidence and capacity to address bullying effectively. respect me provides support to all adults working with children and young people to give them the practical skills and confidence to deal with all types of bullying behaviour. In addition respect me delivers online safety training to parents, carers and other adults who work with children and young people across Scotland. The training is designed to increase parents' and carers' awareness of bullying and the other risks, challenges and opportunities online environments can bring, and includes a practical session on how to set and manage profiles and privacy settings on social media platforms. It supports adults in the conversations they have with children and young people about their online behaviour and relationships, and ways they can intervene if problems arise

Thinkuknow is produced by the National Crime Agency's ( NCA) CEOP Command which provides support and advice for parents and carers as part of their Thinkuknow programme. The site provides information and signposting for parents should they be concerned about any aspect of their child's online behaviour or engagement. There is also access to resources and information regarding current trends, parental controls and reporting to sites that may be causing concern.

The Choices for Life Be-Smart Internet Safety Parents' Nights is a Police Scotland programme created in partnership with Trend Micro. This programme is designed to educate parents around internet safety and to highlight their responsibility to ensure their children use the internet appropriately. The programme provides the foundations for parents, guardian and those who have a duty of care for young people to 'start the conversation' and learn with our young people about how to stay safe online.

What we will do

9. The Scottish Government will work closely with Parent Zone International who are planning to deliver an internet safety summit in Scotland in 2017

Parent Zone International provides UK-wide training and support on online safety including the first evidence based digital parenting programme designed to help parents take offline parenting skills online. They work with Vodafone to produce Digital Parenting which aims to empower parents and carers to help children make the right choices in the digital world. They also manage Parent Info, in partnership with CEOP, a free newsfeed for schools, as well as a Digital Schools programmethat provides schools with support on internet safety and digital resilience

We will work with Parent Zone in both the planning and delivery of the internet safety summit which would be aimed specifically at professionals working with parents with a focus on capacity building.

10. The Scottish Government will engage with parent and carers organisations across Scotland to host a series of events aimed at empowering parents and carers to support their children's online activity.

There are a number of parent and carer organisations across Scotland that could assist in bringing together parents and carers. These events would help us ensure that parents and carers are better equipped to support their children in the online world, including understanding their rights, risks and where to go to for support.

These events will also provide an opportunity for the Scottish Government and partners to promote consistent and positive messages about internet safety.

Wider society plays a role in enhancing internet safety for children and young people

Contributory outcomes

  • There is access to appropriate training, resources and information on internet safety for everyone
  • The general public are aware of the impact harmful online behaviour can have
  • Businesses and industry are committed to enhancing internet safety
  • Professionals and communities have a shared understanding of the opportunities and risks which exist in the online world, as well as he appropriate skills and knowledge to provide support

What we're already doing

The Internet Watch Foundation ( IWF) is the UK Hotline for reporting criminal online content, including child sexual abuse images and videos which the Internet Watch Foundation acts to remove. The IWF also works closely with the online industry to help them disrupt the availability of child sexual abuse content on their networks.

UK Safer Internet Centre Professionals' Helpline , set up in 2011, aims to help the children's workforce with online safety issues.

Police Scotland's 'Web Constable' internal network is made up of officers that are involved in online safety and prevention work at a local policing level, such as Campus Officers or Local Community Policing Officers. This network keeps updated on online related matters and engages with communities to deliver 'joined up' local messaging. They are supported by industry experts such as Get Safe Online, CEOP and Cyber Street Wise who have attended the twice yearly workshops to provide support for the work that is on-going in schools and communities.

Digital Youth Network is a network co-hosted by YouthLink Scotland and Young Scot for practitioners using digital technology or online spaces in their work with young people. This is an opportunity to share online safety messaging with the youth sector.

The Scottish Government's Cyber Resilience Strategy team is working with representatives from across the public, private and third sectors to support coordinated awareness raising activity following a monthly calendar of cyber related themes with a communications toolkit using trusted messaging and sources of advice on cyber resilience such as the Cyber Aware campaign.

The Scottish Government's National Approach to Anti-bullying for Scotland's Children and Young People sets out a common vision and aims to make sure that work across all agencies and communities is jointly focussed on addressing bullying, including online bullying. The guidance is currently being refreshed to ensure it remains current and reflects recent legislative and policy developments. The refreshed anti bullying guidance will be published later in 2017.

What we will do

11. The Scottish Government will work in partnership with third sector organisations, Police Scotland, the NHS and Education Scotland to produce guidance to support professionals working with children and young people on digital citizenship.

In discussions with stakeholders it has been recognised that there is a need for guidance for professionals and parents to provide support on internet safety. We will therefore work with partners to develop guidance on digital citizenship which will include information on respectful behaviours (including consent), rights and responsibilities, resilience and where to go to for support. It will also consider issues raised by self-produced sexual images ('sexting').

In delivering on this action we will engage with Greater Glasgow and Clyde who are developing an updated national resource on Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood ( RSHP) education which incorporates guidance on sexting, amongst other topics. This resource will seek to close any gaps in RSHP teaching resources, such as online safety.

We are also engaging with the University of Edinburgh as they develop their work in the area of self-produced sexual images by adolescents. They are currently collaborating with Police Scotland, the National Crime Agency CEOP Command, Norfolk Constabulary and the Marie Collins Foundation to seek the views of young people who have taken and shared nude or nearly nude images of themselves (where coercion may, or may not, have played a part) to better understand from their perspective how we can develop good practice guidelines for professionals. The University of Edinburgh also recently held meetings with three stakeholder groups in Edinburgh, Norfolk and London to discuss how to reach consensus to further develop and disseminate evidence-based guidelines that can be used to protect young people while respecting their rights. The report will be given back to those who have participated in the study for comment and input before its final production and dissemination in early 2017.

12. Child Protection Committees Scotland will explore whether there are opportunities to take a more co-ordinated approach to child internet safety in order to further progress learning and raise greater awareness of information, support and training that is available.

Many Child Protection Committees across Scotland are already undertaking work to increase understanding of online risks to children and young people and to promote internet safety within their multi-agency partnerships and within local communities. This action will help to ensure a more consistent approach.

13. The Scottish Government will continue to participate in the Executive Board of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety ( UKCCIS) to ensure Scotland effectively contributes towards improving internet safety in Scotland within the UK environment.

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) consists of representation from a number of organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors including social media and internet service providers. The Scottish Government is represented on the Executive Board of UKCCIS which is chaired by UK Ministers. We are engaging with the UK Government to explore how we can better utilise links within UKCCIS to develop Scotland's relationship with industry and so identify areas where improvements can be made.

14. The Scottish Government will work with digital media providers and industry to ensure parents, carers and families, as well as children and young people, have access to appropriate information and support.

We have successfully made links with Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Google to discuss internet safety for the children and young people who use their platforms and how we can better promote safety when using their platforms in Scotland.

We will also engage in UK wide discussions with social media companies, technology firms, young people, charities and mental health experts which will focus on industry responsibilities to society, how technology can improve safety, helping parents face up to and discuss dangers, and how to help young people help themselves.

In addition, we will engage with the UK Government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport ( DCMS) as they develop a new Internet Safety Strategy to tackle online dangers facing children and young people.

15. The Scottish Government will engage with the UK Government as it develops the age verification provisions within the Digital Economy Bill.

The Digital Economy Bill was introduced to the UK Parliament in 2016. The Scottish Government continues to engage with the UK Government as it develops the Bill which includes provisions requiring commercial providers of online pornography to have appropriate age verification checks in place to ensure children and young people are protected from inappropriate material. This requirement applies to sites based in the UK as well as those based overseas and is an important step in ensuring industry sees the protection of children as one of their core responsibilities.

16. The Scottish Government will work in partnership with the UK Safer Internet Centre to promote Safer Internet Day in Scotland.

Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people and inspire a national conversation. The UK campaign is coordinated by the UK Safer Internet Centre, a partnership of three leading charities: Childnet, the Internet Watch Foundation and the South West Grid for Learning. The Scottish Government remains a proud supporter of Safer Internet Day.

Safer Internet Day 2018 will be aligned with the Year of Young People, a year aimed to inspire Scotland through its young people, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contribution to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and on the international stage.

17. The Scottish Government will work with the South West Grid for Learning to deliver further Online Safety Live events across Scotland.

Online Safety Live is a programme of free events designed exclusively for professionals working with children and young people. Delivered across the whole of the UK by the South West Grid for Learning, these events are delivered locally with the latest in online safety including the latest issues, the biggest trends and the best resources.

The Scottish Government has worked closely with the South West Grid for Learning over recent years to deliver these sessions across the country. To date there have been sessions in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife, Perth, Dingwall, Inverness, Ayr, Stirling, South Lanarkshire, Oxton, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Roxburghshire and East Kilbride. In March 2017 we delivered sessions in Prestwick, Kirkcaldy, Stirling, Falkrik, Angus, Dundee, Dumfries, Irvine and East Ayrshire.

We are looking to deliver further session in November 2017 and in 2018/19.



Email: Jennifer Stenton

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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