The UK Government plans to install the CEOP button otherwise known as Panic button onto more than 270,000 home access scheme computers across Britain. This will allow children to instantly report any offensive and obscene material posted on these websites.
Bebo, a popular social networking site, had earned kudos from the government and various child services organisations when it had installed a panic button which when pressed will alert specially trained officers of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
The officers will provide counseling to the children and will also provide contact number of the police in their area. Interestingly, this decision comes after the government issued fresh guidelines for online safety.
The new guidelines will allow parents to monitor their children’s activities on the internet and will give them access to controls that will enable them to block pages which they don’t want their children to view. The websites will offer a ‘safe search’ option which will prevent children from accessing inappropriate websites.
Ed Balls, the schools secretary, and Alan Johnson, the home secretary will be launching the new online safety guidelines on Tuesday along with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Sunday Times has reported.
The guidelines will specifically concentrate on websites which are staff monitored; search engines, chat rooms and instant messaging services in particular.
According to a survey done earlier by the charity BeatBullying, it was revealed that 61.2 percent of young people had witnessed cyberbullying. Perhaps the government is finally waking up to the myriad dangers that children face when they are online.
A praiseworthy initiative. However, it is likely to generate a number of "false positives", something that shouldn't be overlooked in the long run. Cyberbullying is a problem that cannot be ignored for the sake of future generations.
(The Northern Echo)