A MOTION on safe social networking sites for children lodged by North East MSP Alex Johnstone won cross party support and a Members Business Debate in Parliament this week.
A key feature in the motion and debate was a new safe social networking site for children called Kibooku, founded by Angus businessman Jamie Tosh.
Mr Johnstone said: “Just as young people can be bullied in person, they can be equally vulnerable to bullying or other kinds of sinister behaviour online.”
“Research from anti-bullying charity Respectme shows that 16% of children or young people questioned have been cyberbullied and 25% worry about it. These figures are deeply worrying when we consider that this kind of behaviour can have tragic consequences.”
Speaking after the debate, Mr Johnstone commented: “I feel that this is a deeply important issue, and I was delighted to highlight the innovative work done by Mr Tosh whose website I feel, has the potential to make a major contribution in combatting online bullying.”
Angus South MSP Graeme Dey, also supported the motion and spoke in the debate. He said: “We are told that 55% of children and young people access the internet every day so creating a safe environment – free from the risk of bullying or being targeted by inappropriate individuals - in which the under 13’s in particular can do this is hugely important.
“Therefore the advent of Kibboku is very welcome. It strikes me that looking at the peace of mind and safeguards which Kibooku offers, the question for parents isn’t so much – why would you sign your children up to it, or something similar, but why wouldn’t you ?”
“Jamie Tosh has clearly put a lot of thought and effort into this set-up and it was good to hear first-hand from him about his ambitions for it.”
Mr Tosh, who attended the debate with business partner Derek Wann, was also on hand in the Scottish Parliament to demonstrate the site to MSPs and staff.
He said: “It was fantastic to have the opportunity to attend the debate and meet with MSPs from across Scotland and explain to them how Kibooku works and the levels of safety it offers children and the peace of mind it gives to parents.”
“It was clear from the MSPs who spoke in the chamber and those I met later, that there is real concern about children’s safety online, and a desire to do more to tackle it.”
Mr Tosh has now been invited back to the Scottish Parliament to attend the Cross Party Group on Children and Young People next week which will be covering internet safety.