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This App Could Revolutionise How We Deal With Cyber-Bullying

A must-read for parents

This App Could Revolutionise How We Deal With Cyber-Bullying

According to research, less than 20 per cent of parents monitor their children's online activity.

While current measures for patrolling the web barely extend beyond an occasional check of the computer's browsing history, the dawn of the app Wangle Family Insites attempts to curb the gap between children on the internet and parents attempting to monitor their kid's browsing behaviour.

Rather than keeping a log of sites visited or blocking access to certain types of content, this app instead uses an alert system to make the parent aware of any fluctuations in the child's internet activity - whether it's flagging attempts to access porn, or a noted change in behaviour that could signal that the child is a victim of cyber bullying.

And with 90 per cent of parents of children experiencing cyberbullying unaware of the issues their child is having online, this sort of technology may curb the easily-circumvented method of merely checking the computer's browsing history or installing restrictive blocks on content.

"Blocking and spyware have always been a challenge to kids," cyber safety expert Robyn Treyvaud told Triple M.

"But the problem is that you don't actually know what your kids are looking for and what is being blocked."

This app attempts to bridge this disconnect, and strike a balance between informing the parent and bombarding them with information about their children's browsing habits.

"The only way you could circumvent anything to do with this app is to delete the app, and that would actually be a trigger sent to the family straight away," Ms Treyvaud said. 

"Unlike blocking and spyware, this is about families negotiating media use, and also parents keeping a semblance of vigilance when right now they don't have any."

And this vigilance is in real time.

The app provides detailed reports to the parents when triggered by a change in behaviour, including advice on how to handle the situation and resources for approaching the matter.

"The software that we're talking about allows the family to install the apps on all their devices so the children know exactly what's being monitored," she said.

"And then if, for example, the children trigger an alert, that means they might have accessed harmful content including pornography, or they might have been online for an excessive amount of time, or they're using it 'after hours' from the negotiated time."

However, the usefulness of this technology is not limited at just limiting access to harmful online content, but can also be used to monitor whether the child is a victim of cyber bullying.

"What we see with young people who have been targeted for either online bullying or harassment is that social media is where the online and the offline collide," she said.

"A lot of kids who are having those issues and are very harmed by them will actually avoid using social media. So you would get an alert as a parent that there is a pattern of behaviour that's changed. 

"So this is analysing behaviour changes rather than just the content."