Smartphone app alerts parents if their child is sexting

The app was designed by a father of four...

Smartphone app alerts parents if their child is sexting

In this file photo, a teenager checks his smartphone | Image: Nam Y. Huh / AP/Press Association Images

The recent controversy around the SimSimi app raised the issue of parental control in the smartphone era once again. Parents are continuing to battle against a range of problems including cyber-bullying and sexting. A new application seeks to help. 

Sexting is when someone shares sexual, naked or semi-naked images or videos of themselves or others, or sends sexually explicit messages. Gallery Guardian uses image recognition software that can scan images on a child's phone. This software, currently only available to users in the UK, can detect images of body parts and other images deemed to be inappropriate. 

The app requires both the child and parent download the app onto their phones. If an image contains something inappropriate, the app sends an alert to the parent's smartphone without disclosing or storing the image in question.

Regardless of what notifications the parents receive, they cannot view they images on their phone. They are simply informed that there is an issue. 

The company has taken measures to prevent children from simply deleting the app from their phone. Parents must email the firm, requesting the removal of the app and following the steps. This is for verification purposes. 

Daniel Skowronski, a father-of-four who came up with the idea told the Mail on Sunday: “I realised how widely children as young as eight were sharing these inappropriate images.

“It's ridiculous to imagine the world they're living. This app brings parents peace of mind that there is technology working for them and watching everything their child is doing. It's all about putting power back into the parents' hands," he continued. 

Irish company iKydz has also produced a device that is "designed by parents, for parents" - so says Jason Sheehy, Operations Director with the company.

A small box that plugs directly into the modem, iKydz allows parents to set up a profile for each connected device in the home - meaning every phone and tablet gets their internet from the iKydz box. This means the parent can allow the child to access YouTube, for example, but cut off Snapchat after a certain time of the day.