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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-09974: Annie Wells (Glasgow)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 27 June 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what action it can take to tackle reported child safety concerns regarding a new feature on Snapchat that reveals users' locations.

Answered by: Mark McDonald 19 July 2017

Internet safety is a reserved matter. However, Scottish Ministers do have significant scope to develop and implement policy relating to child internet safety as a direct result of devolved responsibility for education, policing and child protection.

The Scottish Government's National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People published on 21 April 2017 sets out a number of actions to improve internet safety. Its priorities include equipping children and young people to build their own personal resilience to stay safe online, supporting professionals and parents and carers and continuing to work with digital and social media providers to ensure children are not exposed to harm.

Action 14 of the National Action Plan specifically sets out our commitment to 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 social media providers including Snapchat to discuss how we can better promote safety for the children and young people who use their platforms. My officials have also spoken to Snapchat who have confirmed that their support and guidance materials for parents and carers has been updated to reflect the concerns around Snapmap.

The Scottish Government will continue to participate in the Executive Board of the UK Council for Child Internet safety (UKCCIS) and explore with social media providers how we can improve child internet safety in Scotland. A meeting to discuss how we progress this important issue is currently being arranged by the co-chair of the UKCCIS on digital resilience and will take place in the Autumn.

My officials are working with Police Scotland to produce a joint children and young people-friendly safety message which will raise awareness of how to stay safe online, including specifically the safe use of App's, amongst children and young people, parents and carers and professionals and ensure that they are equipped with the information and support they need. We will also work with Education Scotland to promote this message in schools. This will complement the existing online safety materials available to children and young people, parents and carers and schools.