Bosco is a parental app that takes a unique, algorithmic approach to unraveling children’s well-being from their smartphone activity. Unlike the majority of parental apps, which control and track children’s online activities, Bosco performs real-time algorithmic analysis to detect unusual events and irregularities that may require parental attention.
Features include an alert and location status when a child’s battery runs low, notifications of significant changes in friends or followers that might suggest cyber bullying or depression, out-of-home, and out-of-school notifications, and monitoring and detecting changes in a child’s sleeping patterns. A mood detection feature is planned for the future. This innovative approach increases parental awareness with the aim of enhancing communication between parents and their children.
With kids getting smartphones earlier than ever, and spending hours each day staring at their screens, parenting has become a more complex task. The question of whether to spy or not to spy on one’s children is much debated, encompassing issues of privacy, mutual trust, and independent personal growth. Some parents do spy on their kids.
Bosco strikes a happy balance between the two sides of the debate, as it was developed with the protocol of identifying key features that could stop bad trends at their source. The app does not give parents access to everyday conversations and posts, restrict how they use their smartphone regularly and will not “tell on them” or be a “tattle-tale,” therefore facilitating a way to better communication with parents in the digital age.
The past year has seen a number of interesting innovations for parents that want to give them children more freedom to roam while maintaining a peace of mind that they can reach out to them if necessary. Koala is another early stage app that offers similar services to Bosco. They offer additional services for a pro-version that give parents more control over their child’s device, which in a sense decreases the value of being less intrusive to start with. There are a number of hardware solutions like the Snowfox Tracker phone that give parents a simple communicator and tracker, without the other bells and whistles of a smartphone.