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Software Can Warn Parents If Kids Are Sexting

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Social media is going mobile. And the dangers for young people online are traveling with them.

“In the last 30 days, 27 percent of parents found objectionable content on their children’s phone,” said Mitch Butler with ImageVision, a company working on content filters.

Butler stumbled across a sext message sent to his teenaged daughter. He’s since done work on filtering systems for social media like Facebook.

“We’ve actually set it up to where we look at images, we look at texts and we flag objectionable imagery for a parent to be able see for a minor,” Butler said about the Facebook monitor Eye Guardian. “We’ll flag objectionable language, curse words or even hate languaging.”

Now, Butler is focusing his filters on sexting. New software can identify human skin and body parts.

He’s working with social media and phone providers to install software that can instantly recognize nude or semi-nude figures and immediately let parents know. The only other option parents have right now is to turn off texting.

“It’s either all or none,” Butler said. “But we’re here to say there’s an in-between.”

Experts agree portable or desktop some form of monitoring is essential. But they say whether the monitors are software or a visual inspection by parents, there’s one more element parents must have.

“And of course with all of these things its a good idea to communicate with your kids so that they know the dangers that are there and that when you look through their information they know you’re not just spying on them but you’re worried about their security,” said Matthew Wright, a computer professor with the University of Texas at Arlington.

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