Microsoft has joined forces with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to launch a new version of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) that includes a number of features to help children stay safe when online.

The web browser, which is available to download from Microsoft's dedicated website, offers a new default homepage offering advice on how to stay safe on the web, along with pre-assigned bookmarks to safety information from the CEOP. Furthermore, the browser also offers the ability to search CEOP and its internet safety partners' sites from the browser's search bar.

"At Microsoft we always want to provide our customers with the tools to enjoy the web safely and securely. The internet has become a central part of everyday life for adults and children, from learning and communicating to working and playing online," said Gabby Hegerty, Internet Explorer Lead in the UK.

"It is important we make the appropriate safety information available and build in features to our software which provide families with peace of mind online."

The customised version of IE9 has been released to mark Safer Internet Day, which takes place today (7 February). The annual event is organised by InSafe, in a bid to educate web users on online security issues.

This year's campaign is centred on connecting generations and educating each other and features the slogan 'Discover the digital world together... safely!'. It hopes Safer Internet Day 2012 will encourages families to work together to stay safe online.

"Whether you are 5, 40 or 75 years old, whether you use the internet once a month or several times a day - each person has something different to bring to the table that can help shape our online experiences and our understanding of online competences and safety. We all have a role to play in ensuring that every child is safe online," says InSafe.

Microsoft has previously released a version of Internet Explorer 8 that was designed in conjunction with the CEOP and featured tools to help keep kids safe online.