EyeGuardian lets parents keep an eye on kids online

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COLLIN COUNTY, TX-Kids today are exposed to many things on the Internet, including inappropriate content. Now, there's a way for parents to monitor their child's online activity and a local police department is testing it out.

EyeGuardian was launched a couple of weeks ago by a software company in Anna to help parents see what their kids are up to on Facebook and the Anna Police Department is testing it out.

"Based upon what I've seen, it's a very helpful tool. Obviously, from a police and law enforcement standpoint, we have to make sure that we're within the guides of first and fourth amendments."

Sgt. Jeff Caponera of the Anna police department has been testing out EyeGuardian, a software that lets parents monitor their child's online activity on Facebook, since it was launched in August. He said it can be useful to keep track of any illegal activity targeting minors.

"People would do their illegal transactions through social networking sites and that's how kids become wrapped up in narcotics and porn. Child sex predators are big on social media networking sites," he said.

EyeGuardian was developed by Steven White, C.E.O. of Image Vision, based in Anna, and he said he got the idea of making the software when his co-founder's daughter received an inappropriate text message.

"Big growing problem today is online predators and kids are constantly being viewed," he said.

The software is designed to monitor any inappropriate images or words on Facebook, highlighting them in red, then alerting parents through e-mail or text. Sgt. Caponera said the software can help them work with parents if suspicious activity is detected on their child's Facebook page.

"With a parent having that access to that information and bringing it forward to us kind of gives us that ability to have that parental consent to take a look at that Facebook page so we can track down the individual responsible," he said.

White said the software is not spyware. In fact, parents need their kids' username and password to monitor their accounts.

"We encourage parents to educate their kids to inform them that they're using EyeGuardian to monitor their activity and to let them know that 'hey what we're trying to do is help you make the right decisions online,'" he said.

White said they are now working on a mobile version of EyeGuardian, which will monitor your child's cellphone for sexting or any inappropriate content. They are planning to launch that version in a few weeks.

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