Facebook has finally agreed to allow the use of a “panic button” application on its Website. 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 decision to allow the “panic alarm” system follows several months of discussion between the CEOP and Facebook – which was formerly against the idea even after Bebo and MySpace became the first social networks to add the button.
The button (ClickCEOP) is available to all Facebook users in the United Kingdom and provides direct access to CEOP’s advice and reporting centre from their homepage. Furthermore, access to the ClickCEOP application’s button is provided via an application that can be added or bookmarked by users so that it appears on their homepage as a constant source of help, reassurance and a “strong visual signal to their friends and family”. The CEOP hopes that the “panic button” will assist enforcement agencies in their effort to track down sex offenders on the Internet and provide reassurances for parents who are worried about the safety and privacy of their bairns on the Internet.
Teenagers and other Facebook users are encouraged to “Like”, Bookmark and Share the ClickCEOP app on the social networking site so as to encourage other users to install and use the “panic button”. By doing so, many more Facebook users, including the most vulnerable, will have direct access to “the very latest help on online safety as well as a dedicated facility for reporting instances of suspected grooming or inappropriate sexual behaviour.”
How effective do you think the “panic button” app will be in reducing the activities of criminals and sex offenders on the Internet?