Smith Calls On Social Networking Sites To Install Panic Button

14 July 2010

SNP MEP Alyn Smith, an alternate member of the Parliament's Culture and Education Committee is calling on all social-networking sites and chat rooms to install a panic-button to protect children online, following Facebook’s agreement to allow the use of a “panic button” application on its Website this week.

The button is expected to make it easier for children and teenagers to report abuse to the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and Facebook. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) this week said that the application would help teenagers report suspected online grooming and inappropriate behaviour, as well as to access safety information.

Smith said: 

“A panic button is a positive step in the right direction and would reassure parents who are worried about the safety and privacy of their children on the Internet. We must take every measure possible to protect children online and raise awareness of the dangers.

“I would like to encourage all teenagers and other Facebook users to invite young users to “Like”, Bookmark and Share the ClickCEOP application on the social networking site so other users can install and use the “panic button.” By doing so, many more Facebook users, including the most vulnerable, will by a touch of a button have direct access to the very latest help on online safety as well as a dedicated facility for reporting instances of inappropriate sexual behaviour.

"I would also like to see other popular networking sites such as Twitter and MSN messaging follow suit, so parents can have total peace of mind that their children are adequately protected online. ”