INVU is set to offer parents peace of mind with the launch of Sentry Stick - a USB stick that guards children from the dangers of the internet.

INVU SentryStick can be be programmed to block certain websites, which are grouped by category such as social networking, shopping, gaming and so on. The security device will also prevent harmful or pornographic content being viewed and can also stop personal information such as phone numbers or credit card details and profanity being sent across the internet in IM programs such as MSN Messenger.

If the USB stick is removed, the computer it is registered to automatically switches to maximum protection level that is suitable for unsupervised use. The device also allows parents to see which websites, chat rooms and applications have been used. Parents can also configure different levels of protection for different children depending on their age and can whitelist or blacklist sites they expressly permit or forbid access to.

INVU Sentry Stick is expected to retail at £29.99.

Its developers liken SentryStick to NetNanny - probably the best-known PC software aimed at helping parents exercise control over their childrens' internet use without having to guard over them while they surf. The intention with SentryStick, says INVU, is to keep an open dialogue with children rather than to exercise draconian control over what they can and can't do.

Different settings can be applied if someone is having an instant message conversation with their friends - perhaps allowing swearwords to be shown, rather than automatically bring replaced with anodyne alternative phrases. In this way, INVU hopes its product will be more easily accepted by users and it won't be so obvious that filtering and moderation is being applied.