Parents, do you really know what your children are up to? Do you know where they are or who they might be texting?
Maybe you think you do – but you do not.
As parents, we are constantly exposed to news about the dangers that threaten our children in the digital age. Shaming, verbal and physical violence, and shunning are just a few of the many phenomenons that can harm our children at school or in their free time. New research is published daily, warning us about the dangers of excessive mobile phone use and the ways in which it affects our children.
I have no doubt that we parents do our best to maintain a close relationship with our children (How was school? “It was fun.”), guide them, and explain the world to them, but still, they don’t tell us everything. Why? Maybe they’re reluctant to confess and ask for help, unwilling to admit they can’t solve the problem on their own, or scared they’ll become known as the school snitch.
Just last year, Netflix released 13 Reasons Why, a series about a teenage girl who commits suicide, seemingly for no apparent reason. The girl leaves behind detailed explanations for each of the thirteen people that – unbeknownst to them – drove her to take her on life, from the school counselor to her close friends and even her parents. (I highly recommend the show to all parents.)
As parents, we want to be able to trust our children and give them freedom to act responsibly and mature. On the other hand, they’re just kids who don’t always know right from wrong. In spite of our best efforts to educate them and raise them properly, our children lack the experience to know when they’ve done something wrong or realize that saying “sorry” doesn’t always make the problem go away.
As a father of three children aged 5, 12, and 14, I’m often troubled by this issue – not because I feel like I’ve lost control, but because I won’t be able to help my children in their time of need simply because I won’t know they need my help. Let’s face it: we gave our kids phones so we can call and ask them where they are or tell them to come outside when we pick them up. As a concerned father, I’ve been searching for a service that will allow me to find out what my kids are up to on their phones and which dangers they might be facing. I realized that no such service existed. As things stand today, most parents have to choose between two options:
- Tracking services – services that let parents see what’s happening on their children’s phones. This method is ineffective, as the average parent can’t keep track of every little piece of information or sort through thousands of text messages on multiple platforms. And even then, parents don’t always know what to look for and where. For example, we use Instagram simply as a photo-sharing tool, but to our children it is also a messaging platform, where they receive hundreds of messages every day. Besides, spying on your children hurts their sense of trust and security and puts a strain on family relationships.
- Parental control services – Children can easily bypass controls set by their parents, and may even be driven to hide their activities on social media platforms by managing private secret accounts.
Existing solutions just didn’t give me the peace of mind I needed, so I decided to develop a service of my own. And so, Bosco was created. The app was developed together with a talented team of professionals and entrepreneurs – all of whom are also parents.
To develop Bosco, we brought along two of the world’s leading behavioral psychologists from England to help us fine-tune the app’s behavioral research capabilities. It was clear to us from the beginning that we never want to violate our children’s privacy. The service we developed notifies parents only when their child requires attention, without exposing his or her everyday interactions. Because our children live on their phones to great extent, Bosco is designed to be installed on the parent’s device as well as the child’s, with his or her consent. Children are happy to cooperate with their parents, and they even spread the word among their friends.
Once the app is installed, it begins collecting behavioral data about your child and alerts you of any irregular activities. And if you’re afraid of how your child might react, I’ll remind you that even though we never wore a helmet when we rode our bikes when we were little, as adults we are aware of the dangers and will never let our own children ride around unprotected. The app follows the same principle – our children must understand that we’re only looking out for their safety.
Watch a short video about our service: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk2dNpmvqt8&
Bosco will share the following information with parents:
* The child’s location on demand.
* Arrival to or departure from a predetermined location (home, school, and so on).
* Phone calls to and from unidentified numbers – and whether the child answered or rejected the incoming call or placed an outgoing call to a number that’s not in the phone’s contact list.
* The child’s mood according to the tone of their voice, if the child sounds scared or upset when talking on the phone.
* Sending or receipt of inappropriate images – such as violent, sexual, or disturbing photos – on all popular messaging services (WhatsApp, SMS) and social networks.
* Social media activity (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) – when the child is removed or blocked on social networks, which may indicate bullying or shunning.
* The phone’s battery level when it’s low, including the child’s location.
* A daily summary of the child’s activities.
* And more…
The app is available for free on Google Play and on the App Store.
I highly recommend it to each and every parent out there!
Watch a review from an Australian mother who uses Bosco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyx7ShReuoA&
Enon Landenberg, tech entrepreneur, combines advanced technologies and human insight to solve everyday problems. Co-founder of E-Dologic, which was subsequently acquired by Publicis; currently presiding as Bosco founder and CEO.