Parents Want a Gatekeeper Against Online Threats to Their Children

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Statistics show that teenagers who own and use smartphones and have access to social media networks are vulnerable to numerous online threats. Smart Shepherd, the latest technology release from Legacy Technology Group, now offers parents a means to monitor the online activity their teens are engaged in.

One in four teenagers ages 12 to 17 owns a smartphone. Nine out of every 10 teens with a smartphone is engaged in social media like Facebook and Twitter. And 63 percent of teens exchange text messages daily with people in their lives, making this their most frequent form of daily communication.

Those are the statistics from a 2012 Pew Internet and American Life research study. Here is another set of statistics:

According to a 2011 Pew Research Center study, 12 percent of teens have witnessed cruel behavior – “cyberbullying – on social networking sites. A study by the American Osteopathic Association reports that over 50 percent of parents worry their child will be a victim of cyberbullying. A 2008 study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy says 48 percent of teens received a sexually suggestive message. And the Journal of Adolescent Health reports that in 2010 there were more than 2,300 arrests for Internet sex crimes against minors involving social networking sites.

Much of this online activity involving teens goes on without their parents’ knowledge. But parents now have a means to keep track of their child’s forays in the digital world and be vigilant against online dangers.

Smart Shepherd is a product released by Legacy Technology Group and its founder, Damon Davis, a father of five who took note of the digital activity on his children’s phones. Davis spoke of what inspired him to develop Smart Shepherd recently with radio show host Rick Probst.

“There’s a whole lot of activity, an entire life of my kids playing out on these phones and these social networks that they access to through these phones, As a parent, I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what they were doing, who they were talking to, who they were texting, who was texting them,” Davis says. “It wasn’t until I started seeing in the news the flurry of reports about things happening on these phones. Kids that are sexting, texting each other in a sexual manner. Or sending nude photos of themselves or visiting pornographic sites. Or, worse, predators that are getting to our children through these gateways.

“I started developing a tool, a software called Smart Shepherd that allows me as a parent to know what’s going on on these phones.”

Smart Shepherd allows a parent to monitor real-time activity on their child's smartphone from their own smartphone, including incoming and outgoing calls, text messages, emails, social media activity, pictures and videos viewed, and all Internet activity. Smart Shepherd also provides a Panic Button, a unique feature installed on the child’s phone that automatically sends a text notifying the parents of an emergency situation. The feature also provides a map to the child’s location while simultaneously taking photos of the area and uploading them to the parent’s portal.

“I think it is for every parent that is choosing to know what is going on in the lives of their children, to provide some sort of monitoring, some sort of measure of control over these little devices called smartphones that are not just communication tools anymore,” Davis says. “They are becoming weapons in the hands of those that want to infiltrate our children’s lives, our children’s minds, and we have to do something about it.”

Smart Shepherd offers protection, security and vigilance for their children engaged online. It’s a measure of trust for parents who want to keep their kids safe in the digital world.

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Kent Miles

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