For families who worry about their children's safety on the internet, the newest generation of monitoring services may be a parent's best friend. Apps are now so sophisticated they can screen for red flags without actually violating the child's privacy.
When Ami Kantawala's son started middle school, she knew it was time to pay closer attention to his online activities.
She downloaded a monitoring app called Bark to analyze his email and social media. It alerts her about issues including bullying, depression, and drugs. Titania Jordan is bark's chief parent officer. She says the internet needs precautions, just like the real world.
For $9 a month, Bark uses artificial intelligence to screen messages for signs of danger. If it finds a problem it alerts the parent and gives advice on how to discuss it with the child. The program is also available in schools, and Jordan says it recently flagged a parent about a possible shooting.
Libe Ackerman is Editor in Chief of the web site super parent. In addition to Bark she recommends circle, which monitors devices that work through your wifi. Or pocket guardian, which analyzes a child's messages and social media .
Ami says monitoring her son's phone gives her peace of mind. She plans to keep it up until he leaves for college.
Parents also need to be plugged in to their child's on-line gaming. Experts suggest adjusting the parental controls on each console to create an environment that feels safe.