LONDON — Following controversy and requests for a child safety "panic button," Facebook is launching an application to allow young British users to report worrying or inappropriate behavior to child protection authorities.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center said Monday the application – called "ClickCEOP" – gives kids between ages 13 to 18 a place to report instances "of suspected grooming or inappropriate sexual behavior."
The application appears at the top of a profile once it is added by a user. Clicking it provides links to the organization's website where bullying, sexual behavior or other online problems can be reported.
It is aimed at kids in Britain, but spokeswoman Vicky Gillings said harassment reported by teenagers in other countries would be passed on to law enforcement in those places.
Facebook previously nixed the idea of a "panic button" that could be used to report abuse, arguing that it would attract false reports (and no doubt concerned that it might scare users). Facebook has said that the social networking site does not view the app as a "panic button," per se. “The app is opt-in, so young people choose to download it/bookmark it to their page in order to use,” a spokesperson told Mashable.
As Huffington Post blogger Larry Magid explains, the new app is about engagement, not panic: "It's about providing young people in the UK with the option of accessing a resource that provides internet safety messaging and links to places where they can report a variety of different abuses including cyberbullying, hacking, mobile problems, harmful content and "sexual behavior grooming,"" he writes. (Read his full post here)