EVERY KID'S BEST PAL Microsoft, in association with Ceop, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, has launched a family-friendly version of its Internet Explorer 8.
The re-jigged web browser offers a number of safety features designed to make parents feel better about leaving their kids alone in a darkened room with nothing but a computer for company. Help tools include advice on what to do about viruses, as well as tackling hacking and problems with mobile browsers.
In addition, the 'Click Clever, Click Safe' browser offers a number of reporting tools that users can employ to flag inappropriate material or report incidents of online bullying. Like what you used to see from the Clippy bloke whenever you started to write a letter.
If you do not want to download a fresh new version of the browser, there is another option. Microsoft said that a 'web slice' feature can be used to add a bookmark function to the service, which also will notify the user of any updates to their favourite pages.
Jim Gamble, chief executive at CEOP said, "Internet safety advice needs to be at your fingertips and not hidden away. Parents and children should not have to go searching through numerous web pages to find the help they need. We again applaud Microsoft for this development in child safety and look forward to working with other browser developers to make an even safer online environment for our children."
Microsoft has backed up the release with the news that sixty-four per cent of under eighteens had been contacted by someone that they did not know online, probably that Tom bloke from Myspace, adding that over a third of them had responded. This, it said, made the use of such security and filtering tools much more important.
Matthew Bishop, business and marketing officer at Microsoft, added, "As a father myself, online safety is an issue very close to my heart. Internet Explorer 8 Click Clever Click Safe has been designed with the sole purpose of providing young people and parents with easy ways of finding information on how to stay safer online. As more and more young people are learning, playing and communicating online, it is vital we provide the appropriate safety information as we know this is one of the most effective ways of helping to protect people." µ