Arbroath dad teaches safe surfing

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AN ARBROATH father who has created what he claims is a safe kids’ social networking site is to brief MSPs at an event in the Scottish Parliament.

Jamie Tosh developed Kibooku after his own daughter was the victim of cyber-bullying, and it has since attracted world-wide attention.

Mr Tosh said: “Most children reach the age where they start pestering their parents to join a chatroom or social networking site and, amazingly, many parents are willing for them to lie about their age in order to sign up.

“The parents often think their child is safe, by befriending them on the site and casually overseeing what they’re up to, but with Kibooku, we have put control firmly in the hands of parents.

“If parents choose not to be involved, the site simply shuts down in the interests of the child.”

He continued: “The site aims to allow children between the ages of six and 13 to use a social networking site in a safe but fun way, while at the same time giving parents peace of mind about their children’s online activities, as they must review the account every two weeks through their personal viewing platform.

“This will allow the parent to view all current and deleted items; it is completely secure, and requires an adult to validate the account using a credit card processed with 3D security.

“If a card is used which does not match the address, then the person cannot proceed to use the site.

“Registration costs just £3 per year, with a proportion of each fee being donated to the charity Cash for Kids.”

North East MSP Alex Johnstone, who is sponsoring the event added: “Cyber-bullying can have a profound impact on children, and in the worst cases it can lead to tragic consequences.

“I see Kibooku as an important step forward in keeping kids safe online, and after I met Mr Tosh who demonstrated how the site works, I felt that other MSPs from across Scotland should also have the opportunity to see it for themselves.

“That’s why I was delighted to invite Mr Tosh to the Scottish Parliament and I will be encouraging all MSPs to come along and find out more about Kibooku.

“One of the worst aspects of cyber-bullying is that it does not just take place in the street or the playground, it can continue while the child is at home so there is no refuge or ‘escape’ from the bullying, with parents often unaware that it is going on.

“Anything that helps stop this is very much to be welcomed, and I believe that Kibooku could have an important role to play in dealing with what can be pernicious and distressing behaviour.”