MSP to lead campaign to educate young people on Safer Internet Day

The #shareaware campaign logo
The #shareaware campaign logo

A campaign to educate parents and children on staying safe online will be led at Parliament later today to mark Safer Internet Day.

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has organised a members’ debate on Cyber Resilience aimed at highlighting the increasing dangers of sharing information online.

The day will also be used to show a number of films made by students from North East Scotland College (NESCol) as part of a pilot project to promote online safety.

The move is part of plans for a new nationwide film competition which will raise awareness of the dangers of issues including sending photos online.

Ms Martin has been working to highlight the number of children sending nude pictures online, which she has previously warned is at an “endemic” level.

The winning students are to have their films screened at Holyrood following the debate and will be joined by Minister for Early Years and Childcare Maree Todd.

The films will also go online, featuring on the DigiAye section of the Young Scot website.

Ms Martin became aware of the problem of youngsters ‘sexting’ after finding out about cases in her constituency.

One instance included an 11-year-old girl who had images of herself shared by older boys.

Last month, Kevin Stewart MSP and Gillian Martin MSP also secured a ban on the location sharing of Snapchat users at primary schools.

A call has now also been made to stop secondary school locations also appearing.

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said: “Social media allows young people to share images and messages in an instant with one another with no time to think about its impact.

“We must educate teenagers because to so many this is not seen as a big deal and many parents don’t realise what is going on.

“It was important to get students from NECol involved and they’ve produced some hard hitting films which really illustrate the challenges that the internet and social media can create.

“I would encourage all parents on Safer Internet Day to sit down and talk with their children and make sure they know what is and isn’t safe to put online.”