UK ISP Townsites today launched its software-free child protection solution which breaks from the norm by allowing parents to block unknown emails without encroaching on their child's right to privacy.

KidsCom uses an authorisation list to filter out all email addresses that have not been previously approved by a parent then, rather than simply bouncing them back to the sender, they are forwarded to the parent's account.

But while KidsCom lets parents see who is sending emails to their child, they can only read the content of those messages if they have their offspring's password.

Such measures are crucial for respecting independence while keeping youngsters safe, according to behavioural psychologist Dr Gary Russell.

"Parents shouldn't disregard the need for a child's privacy," says Russell. "Allowing their children to communicate freely is an important factor in child development. There's tremendous pressure on parents to find a healthy balance between protecting children and letting them develop as a person."

"We wanted to create a product that allows children to communicate online and have no concerns over stranger danger. Children should have some element of supervision online, as they do in real life," said Brian Burchfield, communications director at Townsites. "We have created KidsCom as a fun, private and safe communication tool for kids."

The KidsCom service will cost £9.95 per year and as it is browser based it does not require software to be installed or for users to sign up to a particular ISP.