Diet Products (Celebrity Endorsements)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

As Monica Lennon is aware, internet safety regulation remains a reserved issue and any decisions on regulation and legislation are currently made by the UK Government. However, we work with partners to encourage safe and responsible use of the internet. We actively engage with the UK Government on the development of its internet safety strategies and are engaging with it on its white paper on online harms, and we will engage with it on any subsequent regulation or legislation that comes out of that. As I said at the start of my speech, it is important that we do not see this as a Scotland-only issue; this is a worldwide problem.

When I have been out and about in my Rutherglen constituency, I have heard personally many times about the concerns that young people have about the effect that social media has on them. Pupils at my local schools are fearless in talking about the topic—they say that it matters to them. We must ensure that young people are able to talk with the Government directly so that we can act on what we hear and provide the advice and support that young people feel that they need.

All the speakers this evening have made interesting contributions. It was encouraging to hear so much consensus from Kenneth Gibson, Annie Wells, Monica Lennon, Angela Constance and Brian Whittle on the importance of the issue, and on how a cross-party approach will help us to ensure that young people get the voice that they need in developing policy across the UK.

In closing, I note that the theme of the forthcoming mental health awareness week 2019 is “Body Image—how we think and feel about our bodies.” I warmly welcome that and I understand that the Mental Health Foundation will publish a research report during the week, which will make specific recommendations. The Government will consider those very carefully and I hope that the report will take the opportunity to address the issues that were raised this evening.

I thank all members who contributed to the debate and, again, pay tribute to my colleague Shona Robison for bringing the issue to the chamber this evening.

Meeting closed at 17:53.