Conroy launches panic button for kids

Conroy launches panic button for kids

Summary: Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has launched a "help button" tool for parents to install on their computers for their children to use if they are bullied online.

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update Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has launched a "help button" tool for parents to install on their computers for their children to use if they are bullied online.

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(Credit: Sony)

The software-based button was launched at the 2010 Cyber-Safety and Youth Advisory Group (YAG) Summit in Canberra today, which involves 50 primary and secondary school members from across Australia, along with their parents and teachers, providing their views on a range of federal government cyber-safety programs and initiatives.

The button idea appears to have been first revealed by the Sydney Morning Herald, where it was described as a "panic button". The consultations to decide on whether it should be introduced were scheduled to be held last November.

During the summit today, Senator Conroy said the new button would provide internet users, particularly children and their parents, "easy access to relevant cyber-safety information and assistance".

The button can either sit in the computer's taskbar or stay permanently on the desktop. If a child runs into trouble, they can click the button and be directed to a website that shows them what they can do — for example, showing how to report issues to Facebook or how to report something to the police.

The minister said that the YAG members would test the button and provide feedback to the Federal Government before the final version was released.

Only one final round of consultation was needed before it will be able to be downloaded by everyone in Australia for free, according to Conroy's office.

Conroy's department said the button had been built using Adobe Air, which is designed to be operating system independent.

"The department's objective is to design the button so that it can operate for most versions of both Apple Mac and Microsoft," it said. "It is currently being tested for a range of versions of both products."

Update at 5:00pm, 8 June 2010: Added information on the button being built using Adobe Air.

Topics: Security, Broadband, Browser, Government AU

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8 comments
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  • "they can click the button and be directed to a website that shows them what they can do"

    I wonder how long it will take before that button directs them to a hardcore porn site :-/
    Tezmyster
  • There's a panic button built into every window, and every application on virtually every Operating System.

    It's that red cross up the top left or top right of any window.

    Heck there's even a panic button on the front of computer. AKA the "Power Button"
    Finchwizard
  • Tezz, I agree. Expensive Conroy much ado about nothing. The best safeguard is, click DELETE
    Vasso Massonic
  • Finchwizard. The red X, is even better
    Vasso Massonic
  • The panic keystroke is ALT-F4, it will unlock all weapons and levels.
    Jules of Sydney
  • hahahahahaha.... excuse me... whoo.. he's joking right?
    he's not?
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    seriously though.
    this is just another "brilliant idea" from conroys office that will fall flat on it's face and end up going nowhere. a few families "may" download this "tool" (which will no doubt, be hacked in no time)
    It's just another waste of money from a minister who has no idea how to do his job properly. And someone who is well overdue to be replaced.
    Rei_zero
  • Exactly. Which only makes me groan when I hear that our taxes are being wasted on such stupid things as this.

    I think we need to do something to protect politicians from the own incompetence with the internet...
    Scott W-ef9ad
  • Nice to see that Stephen seems to know what "Opt In" actually is/exists.

    If he'd done that with his filter he wouldn't be facing anywhere near the resistance on it that he is now. Parents _should_ have access to tools to keep their kids safe online (and to help stop them from "time wasting" when they should be doing homework), but there are already tools available like that.

    If Stephen wants to make a real difference, subsidise parents buying those tools (no sense in reinventing the wheel on it) and partner with Education to let them know where they can get them. Perhaps even do up a few courses for parents to show them how to make their kids computer accounts non-administrator so they have a lot more trouble "messing" with the filter.

    Make the whole thing "Opt In" and I think Labor would have a much better chance of winning an election. As the filter is now, it's just another nail in Labors coffin....
    Tinman_au