A new internet safety app has been launched in Perth and Kinross amid growing fears for school children online.
The Safer Schools App focuses on support for children and their families dealing with sexting, bullying, mental health, gaming and sexual exploitation.
Perth and Kinross Council launched the feature at a time of “unprecedented risk” to children, according to the local authority, as they continue to spend longer online, especially during the pandemic.
Police Scotland recorded 1,522 child sexual abuse crimes from April to December last year – almost 34% higher than the five-year average for such crimes.
Jacquie Pepper, Perth and Kinross Council’s depute director of education and children’s services, said: “We are all dealing with the impact of Covid-19 restrictions and our young people need our help to stay safe as they spend important time online.
“We take our responsibilities to tackle new risks to children and young people’s safety very seriously, and it is vital that we do everything we can to protect them as they adapt to keeping connected through technology.
“This will give reliable and helpful information for all our children and young people, their families and professionals.”
The Safer Schools App was developed in partnership with child protection expert Jim Gamble, CEO of INEQE Safeguarding Group, and insurer Zurich Municipal.
Colin Stitt, head of service and safer schools at INEQE Safeguarding Group, believes the app will help protect young children in the digital age.
He said: “Technology plays an even more significant role in our lives than ever before. Members of Our Safer Schools’ network regularly tell me about the transformational impact of our App, training and resources in their school communities.
“In these uncertain times, education professionals and parents/carers want confidence in knowing they have the right information to keep their children and young people safe.
“The Safer Schools App does exactly that. It helps you educate, empower and protect the children and young people in your care as they face pressure to remain socially connected in a digital world.”