Software lets parents track text messaging

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Today, more and more predators are switching to cell phones to lure their victims, but parents can use the same technology as the criminals to help keep their children safe.

Amy Antley is a mother considering My Mobile Watchdog. She already checks her daughter's Facebook page every two to three days.

"That was one of the stipulations," she told her daughter. "If you have a phone or Facebook, I have the passwords."

Amy's daughter, 14-year-old Austyn, got her first phone two years ago. And like many teens, she's constantly texting. Austyn says she sends about 80 text messages a day.

But what if your child got an inappropriate text or picture from a stranger?

My Mobile Watchdog would actually let you know who the caller is and what kind of content he or she is sending.

Here's how it works: you download the software to your child's phone, then log in to the site and talk to your child to decide who is on their approved contact list.

Next, you type in your phone to receive notifications. That way, if an unauthorized person sends something suspicious, you'll know it instantly.

"I think I'd be okay with it because I would tell her anyway and I wouldn't have to tell her because she'd already know," Austyn said.

Other people have mixed reaction about these types of software.

"Kids in high school, I just think they need their independence because whenever they go off to college they're going to want to know what it's like to be on their own," Ashley Boccaccio said.

But at $9.95 a month, this safety software may well be worth the price for parents like Amy, who see this tool as a secret weapon against child predators.

Click here to link to My Mobile Watchdog. Or, for other options and more information about Internet and cell phone safety, check out the following web sites:

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