Parenting App - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Parenting App

(WFLX) - At the Harrison house, 12-year-old Seth has a cell phone, but the first conversation was the one he had with his parents. "The way we parent is we trust our children. We talk to them about what's right, what's appropriate, what's inappropriate to send," said his mother, Elaiana.

Even at his young age, Seth says, he has received messages that made him uncomfortable. "I don't really like what they say sometimes, like if they're about drugs or sex then I just delete them."

A Maryland father believes those words can open the door to more trouble, so Chet Thaker created an app for that. "Parents have a way of being notified when a specific word or text is used," he said. 

Thaker is the father of two teenagers. From his office, he came up with Code 9 Mobile. Code 9 is a texting slang that kids use to tell each other that a parent is watching. "I found them using inappropriate language in response to specific events that may have happened," said Thaker.

There's no secret, Thaker's kids know Code 9 is active. The software allows parents to type in certain keywords that pertain to drugs, sex or anything they want to track.

If a text is sent or received with a word that was entered, parents will see it. "We will not see every one of their text messages.  We don't have the time, nor the interest.  We will only see those that violate the rules," said Thaker.

The technology also tracks when kids use the phone. If it's after their curfew, parents will know. "With the click of a button, I can now find out where the phone is on the spot at this time," said Thaker.

It has GPS technology showing where the phone is and where it's been. Internet security expert Ira Winkler says while all the features aren't new, the app may be more user  friendly. "If you see keywords and just look for words that appear to be relevant, that could have a good time-saving feature," said Winkler.

But saving time doesn't beat parenting, according to Harrison, who thinks the app will take away the trust she established with her children. "The bigger picture is you have to continue dialogue with your children about what's appropriate and what's not appropriate," he said.

"I think that they understand the importance of parents caring to know what they're experiencing," said Elaina Harrison.

The app costs $10 a month, and you can receive it here http://www.code9mobile.com/.

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