Keep our kids safe

Swin­ney ac­cused of fail­ing to act af­ter com­plaint

Daily Record - - NEWS - BY DAVID CLEGG Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

THE ready avail­abil­ity of hard­core pornog­ra­phy on the in­ter­net is one of the most wor­ry­ing con­cerns of the mod­ern day par­ent.

Ev­ery mum and dad knows how dif­fi­cult it is to be cer­tain that the ma­te­rial young chil­dren view is ap­pro­pri­ate for their age.

But the one place you ex­pect chil­dren to be safe from this type of ma­te­rial is at school.

So it was al­ready deeply con­cern­ing that Scots pupils were ex­posed to porn on school so­cial me­dia app Yam­mer.

That the Gov­ern­ment and ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials knew about the prob­lem for six weeks be­fore tak­ing ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion is sim­ply un­ac­cept­able.

We de­serve to know that all ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­rial and plat­forms are safe for our kids.

CHIL­DREN were able to ac­cess porn on a school so­cial net­work­ing site – de­spite the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment know­ing ex­plicit images were be­ing shared.

Emails ob­tained un­der a free­dom of in­for­ma­tion re­quest showed Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary John Swin­ney was told in April that 100 users had been ex­posed to the adult con­tent on Yam­mer.

But no ac­tion was taken to stop chil­dren ac­cess­ing the site un­til the prob­lem was re­vealed by a news­pa­per in June – six weeks af­ter ed­u­ca­tion bosses were alerted. It also emerged images had been viewed and clicked on by six teach­ers, four of whom did not raise the alarm with the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment.

Scot­tish Labour ed­u­ca­tion spokesman Iain Gray said: “Any gov­ern­ment’s pri­mary obli­ga­tion in of­fice is to pro­tect its chil­dren from harm – John Swin­ney has failed to do so.

“He must ex­plain why he knew for six weeks that this harm­ful ma­te­rial was likely be­ing cir­cu­lated to chil­dren but did not in­ter­vene un­til par­ents’ con­cerns were about to be re­ported in the me­dia.”

Ed­u­ca­tion Scot­land said wor­ries can be flagged up on all their on­line ser­vices, in­clud­ing Yam­mer, via “re­port a con­cern” but­tons.

A Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: “When the Deputy First Min­is­ter was alerted to con­cerns from a par­ent in June, it be­came clear that sus­pen­sion of the Yam­mer net­work was re­quired un­til th­ese is­sues could be prop­erly re­solved.

“Yam­mer re­mains sus­pended for pupils while Ed­u­ca­tion Scot­land ex­am­ine all rel­e­vant is­sues in de­tail.”

ALERTED John Swin­ney

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