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Beauty Queen Takes on Predators, Spammers

Here she is, Miss America, and her free, kid-safe Web browser

It's a sign of the times: The current Miss America doesn't want to save the world from hunger or work for world peace. No, she wants to help keep the kids safe on the Internet.

Lauren Nelson, 20, will help launch the new Miss America Kid-Safe Browser today, which allows access to some 10,300 sites that were pre-approved by the Miss America Organization and the Children's Educational Network as kid friendly. The software has parental lock features, including blocking other browsers on the computer, and the ability to add access to other sites. If Junior tries to surf outside the approved sites, an animated version of Lauren Nelson, complete with tiara, says: "This Website is not on the master list. Please ask Mom or Dad to add this site for you," according to a published report.

It may seem a little kitschy unless you know Nelson's inspiration for the safe browsing effort. At age 13, she and some friends participated in an Internet chat room at a sleepover, and soon one of them was receiving emails with inappropriate pictures from an online predator. Frightened, Nelson and her friends told their parents, who reported it to the police.

Meanwhile, the browser version of Nelson can read kids' emails aloud, and offers online advice, safety tips, education, and trivia. There's also a premium edition of the browser that comes with email and some educational features for $4.95 per month.

Oh -- and parents can program Nelson to remind the kids to feed the Labradoodle or take out the trash.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

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