I was fourteen when I received my first Smartphone. I remember begging my parents to let me have one and the arguments that we used to have. In particular, my mom was concerned about discovering ‘adult material’ on the Internet, saying that I was too young to understand a lot of the available information online. I didn’t understand their worries at the time. Like most kids my age, I just wanted to own the latest gadgets and to fit in with my peers. Finally, as a graduation present, my parents bought me the phone of my dreams.
It wasn’t long after receiving it that I became subject to bullying and inappropriate via text messages from older guys in my school. As a young girl, I sometimes made the wrong decisions in choosing how to respond. I kept this a secret from my parents because I didn’t want to get into trouble. But behind their backs, I was called names by people in my class, and even had strangers message me to tell me that I was ‘ugly’ or ‘fat,’ with all of this happening right on my phone!
Eventually, as I got older, I moved past it, but I never forgot how vulnerable I was. My little brother is now eleven years old, and like me, he wants to own a Smartphone too. As an older sibling, I tried to find a way to protect my brother from the things that I had experienced. My parents spoke to me about whether they should let my brother have a Smartphone at his age. “Isn’t he too young?” they asked? While that may be true, we currently live in the digital age, and nowadays, owning a phone is less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
I told my parents that I would look into apps that could protect my brother against bullying and inappropriate material, and that is when I came across SafeForNet.
SafeToNet is an application that helps to support young adults who are navigating the world of Smartphones for the very first time. Upon checking out the features, I discovered it uses Artificial Intelligence to detect potentially harmful messages and conversations. When a kid receives a cryptic message, the special keyboard prompts warnings, suggesting that a message is inappropriate. It also assists new phone users on better ways to respond.
Honestly, I was blown away. If only something like this was available to me when I was younger.
Unlike similar systems, SafeToNet is not spyware. It is meant to educate kids about the dangers lurking on the net and helps to build their confidence so that they can possess the tools to navigate these tricky situations. The app also includes helpful tips on managing anxiety and even an ‘emotion diary’ where the user can track their feelings throughout the day.
SafeToNet is about empowering young adults, and while a parent or guardian also needs to install the app on their phone, the application maintains the child’s privacy. Since my parents are not big Smartphone users, they suggested that I add the app to my phone instead. It gives me such peace of mind, knowing that I can protect my little brother and allow him to grow and discover technology at his own pace.
SafeToNet is the Smartphone superhero of the digital age!