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New watchdog app promises to alert parents when their kids are sexting

For parents who are worried about the teen sexting epidemic, there could be a solution. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Teen Vogue)

What is it?

Gallery Guardian, which was released in the U.S. last week by YIPO Technologies, is a smartphone application designed to protect children from sexually inappropriate messages also called "sexting." It is available for both Android and iOS platforms.

How does it work?

The app uses artificial intelligence image recognition and advanced algorithms trained to detect nudity in images, according to the company's press release. Once the AI software recognizes nudity in a photo, it sends a real-time notification to the parent alerting them of possible inappropriate messaging either being created or received on their child's device.

But there's a catch: the parent cannot actually view the flagged photo in question, which was done by purposeful design, according to YIPO Technologies founder and CEO Daniel Skowronski.

"Social media has created new challenges for parents, but the answer isn’t to load spyware on your child’s phone,” Skowronski said. “With Gallery Guardian, parents can protect their children while respecting their privacy.”

Skowronski wants to highlight the importance of open, honest communication between parents and their children.

"Sexting has become an epidemic among teens and pre-teens among both boys and girls,” he said. “We want to help parents navigate these situations and turn it into opportunities to talk to their children. With Gallery Guardian, parents will know when a conversation is needed, and it all starts with a simple notification.”

How much does it cost?

The app is free to download, with in-app purchases available.

Why does it matter?

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the likelihood of both teenage boys and girls engaging in sexual intercourse was far greater if he or she had sent a sext to her partner beforehand. Further, both sexes had a considerable amount of respondents report that they felt at least a little bit pressured to send the explicit pictures.

One last thing…
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