FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – Mother Erin Shults spent some time wrestling with the idea of granting her 7th grade daughter’s wish for a Facebook page.
Eventually, she gave in –– there was a compromise involved, though. Shults would keep tabs on her daughter Meghan’s page. Anything she didn’t approve of ended up being deleted.
That came with a catch that Shults didn’t expect: Monitoring was time consuming.
“It’s very difficult to monitor them when it is something as secretive as an online avenue for them to communicate with people you normally wouldn’t want them to,” the Frisco mother said.
“I have seen her friends,” she said, pausing to make air quotations with her hands, “’friends,’ post things on there I think are inappropriate so I’ll actually go on their profile and de-friend them.”
Her daughter hasn’t noticed a big difference, but Shults says it’s a time crunch nonetheless.
Enter Eye Guardian: An Anna-based software company created this app as a watchdog for parents in this very situation. Stephanie Ochoa, who helped launch the app, created it after finding her in a similar situation.
“It was a lot of time,” she said of monitoring a page. “I would set two hours a week for this task but it wasn’t enough.”
Ochoa is the mother of two teenaged boys. She uses her app to monitor social media sites for sexual content and cyber-bullying, known more colloquially as trolling.
“It scans the images that are transferred back and forth in Facebook and it also scans the text messages,” she said. “Like, for cyber bullying speech we have trained it to identify kick, hit –– things like that –– or punch.”
If something offensive pops up, parents get an alert sent to their email or cell phone. They then log into Eye Guardian and see the questionable words or pictures highlighted.
“I think it would help a lot,” Shults said.
And for her, less time online means more time in person with her own daughter.