ALL teachers will be expected to alert pupils to the dangers of cyberspace under a Scotland-wide internet safety drive.

Primary, secondary and even nursery schools are expected to take part in the drive which will focus on a variety of issues from cyber bullying to exploitation of young people online.

The Cyber Resilience and Internet Safety programme, the only one of its kind in Scotland, is designed to give teachers the training, resources and support they need to help pupils navigate the digital world.

Pupils will be taught to identify online risks and schools will be encouraged to put in place measures such as counselling for children affected badly by social media.

Other practical help with focus on the importance of creating strong passwords to log in to tablets or social media sites.

The initiative, developed by curriculum body Education Scotland, the Child Protection Unit and industry body Digital Schools Scotland, will also see schools holding information days for pupils and parents.

After a school successfully completes the evaluation they will be visited by officials from Digital Schools Scotland who will meet the headteacher, staff and pupils.

Schools that successfully achieve the criteria will be awarded Cyber Resilience and Internet Safety status.

Maree Todd, Minister for Children, said: “The proliferation of the internet and advances in digital technologies have brought around much positive change, but in an age where mobile technologies are integrated into almost every aspect of our lives, ensuring young people enjoy a positive experience online needs to be a top priority.

“This is the first initiative of its kind to be delivered in Scotland, that supports teachers with information and practical resources.

“By doing so we are better equipping them to educate pupils on the benefits and potential dangers of the internet.”

George Brasher, managing director of HP UK and Ireland, said: “Keeping young people safe online has never been more important.

“Through this initiative, we ARE proud to support schools in ensuring young people grow up in a culture where staying safe online is as natural to them as any other aspect of their digital lives.” The initiative is also backed by Microsoft and Intel.

Surveys show that as many as one in four children aged 8-11 are now operating their own social media profiles.

Concerns have been repeatedly raised about the potentially deadly impact of the internet with examples including the online promotion of suicide, self-harm or eating disorders through social media.

However, research shows fewer than half of secondary pupils would confide in a teacher if they felt “concerned” about something that had happened to them online.

A study last year on digital safety found just four in 10 pupils said they would feel “comfortable speaking to a teacher, or other member of staff at school” if they were caught up in an online incident.

Another 30 per cent of pupils said they would not speak to school staff, with a further 30 per cent saying they didn’t know what to do.

The findings come amid concern current guidance on digital issues such as cyber-bullying, sexting and online safety is outdated.

In January a father accused social media websites of playing a part in his daughter’s suicide. Molly Russell, from Middlesex, was 14 when she was found dead in her bedroom in 2017.

She had shown no obvious signs of mental health issues, but it emerged later she had viewed material on social media relating to anxiety, self-harm and suicide.