The Scottish Government is spearheading a drive to give children the best possible protection when they use the internet.
Ministers are organising talks as a priority later this year after several cases emerged of children and young adults being threatened and bullied online, often with tragic results.
Investigators from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre estimate that hundreds of British children are being blackmailed into committing sexual acts online by paedophiles, who then threaten to publish the images, driving many victims to suicide and self-harm.
Daniel Perry, 17, of Dunfermline, jumped off the Forth Bridge in July after blackmailers demanded thousands of pounds following his online contact with what he thought was an American girl.
Children’s Minister Aileen Campbell and Minister for Learning Alasdair Allan will invite senior representatives of organisations dealing with child internet issues to discuss how to improve online safety.
Ahead of a National Parent Forum of Scotland conference at the weekend, Ms Campbell said: “We’ve seen too many reports of young people’s lives being damaged or ending tragically after been targeted on chat and social networking sites.
“That is why I am arranging a summit to invite experts to see what more we can doto protect our children
“While much of internet safety is not devolved to the Scottish Government, we are committed to making sure child internet safety is properly recognised in Scottish education, policing and child-protection policies and that the best support is available to anyone targeted.”
Iain Ellis, chairman of the National Parent Forum of Scotland, said internet safety was of real concern to parents.
“Using the internet in positive ways is a crucial part of everyday life. It is important that our children develop healthy, constructive internet habits and that they learn to keep themselves safe.”
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