‘Sexting,’ text messaging and ‘cyber-bullying.’ Most parents know the danger is out there, even if they are not quite sure what to do about it.
But a new service offers monitoring of a child’s cell phone in the same way software can scan websites visited by the child’s computer.
A Katy-area woman called “Mary” wishes she had heard of it sooner.
She says she tried to control her 13-year old daughter’s cell phone usage by allowing the girl to share her phone.
One day, concerned about a flurry of text messages from someone named “Mac,” she posed as her own daughter.
“I’m like, okay, so I’ll text him and say, ‘hey I’m scared,’ and just generate a conversation like that,” says the mom. “And sure enough, he started texting me back.”
She showed FOX 26 one of the text messages she says she received: “i dnt think u pregnant cuz i dont think the condom broke but it might have.”
The alleged sender, Harold McArthur, 25, has been charged with two counts of “Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.” He remains jailed in lieu of $30,000 bond.
“He doesn’t understand that what he took, he can never give back,” says Mary, whose identity is being shielded to protect her teenage daughter.
The phone’s “delete” function kept this mom in the dark.
But a newly-launched service aims at keeping parents “in the loop.”
It monitors text messages for certain keywords, alerting mom or dad if the content is sexual or bullying.
“It gives them back control that they really don’t have,” says Andy Kahan, a crime victims’ advocate who is on the advisory board of the company, WebSafety.
He says its service also tackles the problem of “sexting,” which is when a teen takes a nude self-portrait with the camera-phone and sends it to a significant other.
“Whatever image is either sent to your child or your child sends to another individual, Bingo! You get it as well,” says Kahan.
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