These days keeping children safe online is nothing short of an Olympic feat. That's why, with billions of dollars being spent on digital devices this year, it is important that parents not overlook one of the most important items on their back-to-school checklist: the digital safety of their kids.
One of the most vital tools parents can use to help shield their kids from potential negative online consequences such as cyberbullying, sexting and online predation is a parental control filtering app like, Surfie, a state-of-the-art mobile application just launched by Puresight Technologies.
Puresight has been protecting families all over the globe since 2005, providing online safety solutions for millions of children worldwide. Through this experience, they have learned that the management of time spent online and offensive content are universal concerns including countries in Europe and South America, and more. Now they are taking this deep foundation of experience and applying their knowledge to Surfie, an app that has been created specifically for families in the U.S.
While developing Surfie, Puresight identified that U.S. parents, while naturally apprehensive about online dangers, are also more aware and concerned about the amount of time their kids are spending online, on and off their school campuses. Like parents worldwide, they also struggle with keeping up with teen slang--words and abbreviations being used in social media conversations and texting.
“We understand that teen slang can change so rapidly that it's sometimes hard for parents, teachers, friends--even older siblings--to keep up, no matter where they live,” says Ouri Azoulay, CEO of Puresight, Developer of Surfie. “For example, the slang term for an ugly girl in the U.K. is “minger” versus “skank” in the U.S, and
someone who is “pikey” in Britain is considered “trashy” in America.”
Surfie specically addresses the nuanced online behaviors of U.S. kids and families, and is backed by a team specific experts to the culture, content specialists, and software engineers.
Since each child’s needs and maturity levels vary, having the ability to monitor digital behaviors at different age levels and situations is of equal importance. Surfie’s easy-to-use interface allows parents to tailor the desired device usage for each of their kids by their age. As an added bonus, the app provides suggested built-in default profiles with preset rules based on the age and developmental stages of children, which can help parents make better decisions.
The Surfie technology provides parents with the comfort of knowing the whereabouts of their children 24/7 via modern geofencing software--a particular plus for busy and working parents, guardians and blended families who are always on the go. Even grandpa or grandma can install the parent app at no extra charge!
Like Cyberwise, Surfie's makers believe that open communication about parental monitoring is vital. “It is key for parents to provide full transparency about using Surfie with their child. When kids realize that Surfie is used simply because their parents care and want them to be safe--not spied upon--it can enhance the trust between the parent and child, and encourage kids to feel more comfortable about opening up about their digital lives,” says Azoulay.
And what if the child does step out of bounds with language, gambling, or exhibits other poor online mobile behaviors that Surfie detects?
“The device for the child is a perk, it is a privilege, and using it gives them a license to drive and have fun on the Internet Superhighway. So lay the ground rules and consequences out up front. If kids step out of bounds, once, twice, okay. But then the third strike they’re out,” advises Azoulay. “Their license is suspended and phone privileges will adjusted until a discussion occurs and their need for commitment to appropriate behaviors is reinforced."
Parental monitoring can help kids perform better in school too, explains Azoulay. “A tool like Surfie helps prevent kids from watching harmful content, reduces the playing of violent games, and helps minimize exposure to offensive language, bullying and online predation,” he explains. “Add open communication to the mix and chances will increase that less bullying will occur and the child will perform better in school.”
If Surfie detects that a child has become the victim of bullying or stalking, parents and/or caregivers should talk with local school authorities right away. If the problem persists, they should consult with
local law enforcement. Surfie’s location-based services can assist in locating a missing child and in the case of bullying or stalking.
So why take any risks with your online kids? Make sure their safety—and your peace of mind—is on the top of your back-to-school list this academic season.
You can try Surfie for free by visiting this link.