The internet and mobile technologies have positively transformed our lives, and those of children and young people. The internet provides children and young people with vast opportunities for learning, communication and support. It's becoming increasingly intertwined in their everyday lives with less distinction being made between the online and offline worlds.
However, increasing reliance on online technologies makes us potentially vulnerable to those who seek to exploit these technological advancements for malicious purposes.
We must all see the protection of children as our collective responsibility and we must all work together to ensure children and young people are protected online.
This internet safety action plan for children and young people is an important step to ensure that we have appropriate frameworks of training, support and information in place for professionals and families, including children and young people. This includes: raising awareness of children and young people's digital rights and responsibilities; improved guidance for professionals; an increased focus on ensuring parents and carers are better equipped to support their child's online activity; ensuring professionals are all better equipped to support children and young people who have suffered abuse online; and deterring people from committing abuse online.
Importantly, the industry - and social media providers in particular - must also see the protection of children as a core responsibility. Working more closely with social media providers to ensure children and young people are not exposed to harmful or unsuitable content or contact is something we will pursue.
I would like to thank all those involved in the development of this action plan, including the 5Rights Youth Commissioners for their valuable input. Their ongoing support and commitment will be critical in maintaining momentum and ensuring that all children and young people in Scotland are protected from harm online.
Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald, MSP
Email: Rachael Wilson
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House