Chatbot app ‘keeps children safe online’
IT’S A dilemma for every parent – how to keep children safe on social media without monitoring every post.
Now developers of a new smartphone app claim to have the answer – a friendly ‘bot’ that warns youngsters to think again before they send naked photos, explicit messages or personal details online.
The Oyoty app detects when a picture shows too much flesh and asks the child to think again. It can send alerts to parents – but the aim is to get the children to curb their own behaviour.
Irish teenagers have the fourth highest rate of sexting in Europe, with one in four post-primary students admitting they have sent explicit texts. Social media giants such as Facebook and Snapchat have been criticised for failing to tackle the problem.
The app also guards against abusive and bullying language and against revealing sensitive information such as phone numbers. It runs in the background of a phone, sweeping for suspicious posts. If it spots something, a ‘chat bot’ engages with the child. In one example, the app – which does not store any text or images – asks: ‘There is a lot of skin showing in this picture. I wonder if you might need to stop and think about sharing this?’
Developer Deepak Tewari said: ‘This is not about telling children what to do; it is about educating them and helping them to make their own informed choices.’
safety: Helpful Oyoty app