The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre is working with Microsoft to produce a version of Internet Explorer 8 that will give parents and children easy access to advice and information.
The customised ‘Click CEOP' browser has been developed by Microsoft to provide users with the opportunity to customise their browser so that they can get direct access to CEOP's advice pages.
There they will see all issues covered from cyber bullying and viruses through to sexual abuse and inappropriate content - advice that is kept contemporary by signposting to and input from organisations such as Childline, the Internet Watch Foundation, Get Safe Online and Beatbullying. It is updated by the trends, themes and patterns that CEOP's own teams see every day through the thousands of reports it receives.
Jim Gamble, chief executive of the CEOP centre and lead for the association of chief police officers on protecting children on the internet, said that each month it sees an average of 500 reports into CEOP, of which – on average - four a day indicate that a child may be at immediate risk.
He said: “That is the harsh reality of child protection. But so often we leave our young people vulnerable because we fear the technology. That is like saying we cannot teach children how to be safe when crossing the road because we do not understand how a car engine works or the risk if that car is driven in a dangerous way.
“This is about behaviour, not technology. But it is also about delivering contemporary, dynamic advice that is sympathetic to the needs of the children and young people we reach and helps the parent or carer to play their role in a way that is positive, supportive and understanding.”
He welcomed the approach from Microsoft to give parents and children the opportunity to customise their browser to access safety advice in a quick simple way.
According to BBC News, Google said it has been talking to CEOP and was working together to help them make a Ceop browser extension available for Google Chrome users.
Apple was not clear whether there had yet been talks about a similar extension for its Safari browser, as IE8 is not available to Mac or Linux users, but stressed that parental controls were built into its whole operating system.
The BBC also claimed that as there are already hundreds of extensions for the open-source Firefox browser, it should be easy to provide a child-safety plug-in.