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.
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.