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Creating a kid-safe Internet

A Canadian-developed Internet software program is putting kids’ online safety literally at their fingertips by using their one-of-a-kind prints as their personal ID prior to accessing the web.

A Canadian-developed Internet software program is putting kids’ online safety literally at their fingertips by using their one-of-a-kind prints as their personal ID prior to accessing the web.

It’s among several safety components featured in Dolphin Secure, which launched yesterday, aimed at providing children with a secure Internet experience and parents with a little peace of mind.

Rather than run the risk of keying in a user password that could be stolen, altered or simply forgotten, kids enter their username and scan their fingerprint instead which matches up with a unique number inside Dolphin Secure’s system.

Each child then has access to a personal, customizable home page, similar to social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace, and can chat with other kids registered with the service.

However, unlike other sites where individuals can be contacted by potential unknowns, parents are allowed to set parameters determining who their children can speak to, as well as control which websites they visit.

“Kids need to be able to use the Internet,” said Bill O’Dowd, CEO of Dolphin Digital Media at a media event. “So the only question for us as the adults is how do we try and keep kids safe as they’re learning to use the Internet.

“Our approach is (to) try and build a social community for kids on the Internet where we can have a realization that the people on there are the kids.”

The company offers two levels of service. Dolphin Basic, which costs around $3.75 US per child per month, allows parents to set guidelines for Internet use, but does not feature the fingerprint option offered in the Dolphin Secure package at $5 US per child per month, where they can build profiles and reach out to friends.

WiredKids.org, a website dedicated to keeping kids’ safe online, has been hired to give guidelines and monitor appropriate websites kids can visit. But O’Dowd said it’s up to parents to determine if they want more sites added on the list or even removed.

 
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