New Delhi: A number of start ups are jumping into the market for feature loaded mobile applications that enable parents to monitor their children's activities on the Internet.
The apps, available easily as free downloads on both Android and iPhone devices, broadly enable parents to block specific web categories, set appropriate time usage limits and enable safe search to block harmful sites from search results. They also monitor social media content and more. For instance, ‘eKavach', developed by Delhibased Certus Technologies has introduced a feature that allows parents to receive instant notifications about their child's online activity and change settings on the move.
Another mobile app ‘Nischint', developed by Dubaibased Raghav Mimani comes with the option of monitoring phone calls - outgoing, incoming and missed calls while also keeping a tab on logs of SMS.
‘Nischint' also provides a feature where parents can be put on alert in case of the usage of a ‘Child emergency Shout Out with GPS location' to rush immediate help in a crisis. “Our ultimate goal is to create the most advanced open platform that adds new and interesting applications to keep up with the constantly changing threat landscape. “While making the experience deep but safe. Our vision is to ensure the next 1 billion children are digitally secure,” says Mimani.
US based app ‘Mama Bear' which was launched in 2012, is providing parents with an option to monitor “risky words” used by children on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.
“The app has a builtin dictionary of risky words that are monitored at all times. Alert notifications are sent to the parent if the account has posts or tweets, has new friends or uses any risky works such as words that might lead to cyberbullying,” says Suzanne Horton, CEO and President at Mama Bear.
Noopur Raghunath, a parent herself and the brain behind eKavach says the feedback she received from anxious parents about children's addiction to Internet was what got her started in the first place.
“It was alarming to hear that children who were in their adolescence were suffering from anxiety and depression due to an Internet infatuation. Concerns were raised about obsessive Internet children becoming obese as they had no time for physical exercise or an inclination to go outdoors,” says Noopur.
Despite palpable risks of Internet, most parents consider Internet and technology an essential part of education for their children, which is how these apps come into use. “Parents want their children to use smart phones, tablets, laptops for learning and fun - all they wanted was some way to make that whole experience healthy and balanced,” says Noopur. In India, it is not just metro city parents who are concerned about their child's safety on the world wide web, but a large chunk of app users hail from TierII cities, says Raghav.
“60 per cent of our families are coming from tierII cities like Gwalior, Mysore, Pune. We have been able to get 15000 families on board with us in six months,” he says. These mobile applications start ups have also gained recognition from technology platforms. ‘Mama Bear' has been awarded one of the “World's Most Promising New Companies” by CNBC, and ‘Nischint' bagged the Best App in the Lifestyle category at The Global App Summit 2014 in Dubai.