Safeguarding with an App
It can be hard to keep up with the latest technological trends at times, and perhaps even harder to keep track of what your child is up to on their smartphone. And, despite its many benefits, internet usage can pose several potential dangers to children, such as cyberbullying and cyber grooming.
With this in mind, apps like SafeToNet are designed to help safeguard children and young people by guiding them towards navigating the internet safely and responsibly.
What are online safeguarding apps?
Similar to other kinds of safeguarding software, such as the ones used in some schools, these apps help protect the health and well-being of children. However, they specifically deal with online activity, helping parents protect their children from the potential risks of using the internet on their phone. Safeguarding apps come in various forms: some block potentially harmful online content or services, others allow parents to find their child’s location using GPS tracking, while still others simply regulate screen time.
The purpose of SafeToNet is in keeping with the principles of safeguarding, but is slightly different to other apps and software. Rather than controlling their behaviour, SafeToNet is designed to educate and nurture children into becoming more responsible smartphone users.
How does SafeToNet work?
- Intelligent Keyboard: SafeToNet’s built-in smart keyboard replaces all other keyboards on your child’s device. It analyses what they are typing and detects threats to their well-being or the well-being of others. This includes signs of stress or anxiety, dark thoughts, as well as bullying and abuse.
- Real-time feedback for children: The Intelligent Keyboard acts as a real-time safeguarding assistant for your child, providing them with friendly guidance alerts before they send a message. When the keyboard detects a risk, it displays a note to advise them. For example, it may encourage your child to consider the implications of what they’re typing.
- Safety Indicator: The Safety Indicator is a dynamic measure of a child’s online safety, presented as a graph. It allows you and your child to track their risk status over a certain time period – as their online activity moves them away from risk and towards risk.
- SafeToNet measures children’s online safety dynamically and displays it as a Safety Indicator on both the child’s and the parent’s apps. SafeToNet also alerts you if it detects imminent danger.
- AI technology: The safeguarding software uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to get to know your child over time and learn how to protect them more effectively. This is known as Machine Learning.
What does the SafeToNet safeguarding app not offer?
It’s important to understand that SafeToNet is not designed to safeguard children and young people through strict surveillance or restricting their access to smartphones or the internet. The app does not show you what your child writes, nor does it let you follow them via GPS tracking. Instead, it monitors your child’s general safety level online and allows them to share their location with you voluntarily. Your child can also disable the app if they wish, though you will receive a notification of this as their parent, giving you an opportunity to discuss this with them.
These aspects of the app ensure that the agency, autonomy and privacy of the child is maintained, while offering parents peace of mind. In this way, SafeToNet is focused on a key principle of safeguarding: fostering and strengthening trust between child and parent. With this trust in place, your child can develop into a responsible digital citizen, and they are more likely to keep you in the loop concerning their online safety and well-being.