ID cards protect children in Internet chat rooms

A virtual identity card to protect children from paedophiles on the Internet went on sale this week.

Manufacturers say that the NetIDme system, which costs £9.99 a year, will reduce opportunities for paedophiles to contact young people in computer chat rooms.

Children will be able to ask other chat-room users for their identification before communicating with them. If a person has subscribed to the system, his or her ID number, Internet nickname, age and area of residence is shown on the screen. Full names and addresses are not disclosed.

Alex Hewitt, from Glasgow, developed the system after he found that his daughter had 150 people on her Internet “buddy list” but knew the identities of fewer than 50. He said: “The Internet is a wonderful resource and I want (children) to use it safely. This ID card removes anonymity, which is the main problem of the Internet.”

NCH, the children’s charity, has welcomed the system.

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