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Concerns about online grooming raised at council meeting

Councillors and police discussed the dangers faced by young people online.

COUNCILLORS and police have stated their concern over young people being targeted by predators through social media.

The concerns were raised at a meeting of Stirling Council’s public safety committee on Thursday January 16.

The chair of the panel Councillor Maureen Bennison asked police to elaborate on the issue of online predators after hearing of “very concerning” cases.

Chief Inspector Gill Marshall, the Stirling Area Commander, said that officers carried out visits to schools and gave out information to educate young people on how to stay safe online and have worked with parents about how to make sure their kids are staying safe online. Marshall added that school-based officers (SBOs) are trained in how to spot the signs of online abuse and deal with situations when it arises.

The vice-chair of the PSC, Councillor Chris Kane said that as a parent it is often hard to keep up to date with which online platforms and apps are popular, which can pose a danger for young people and agreed that educating parents is an important step.

Councillor Neil Benny also voiced concerns over young people sending explicit photos online to people who are pretending to be someone else.

The newly appointed Divisional Commander for Forth Valley, Chief Superintendent Alan Gibson, said that the prevalence of social media in everyday life does provide challenges. He said that this is a continuing issue for Police Scotland, but that they will continue to safeguard young people through educating them of the dangers and by keeping up to date on social media trends.

Featured Image: Yui Mok/PA

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