Science/Technology

New app for parents of teen texters

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Right Now on the Net shows how to keep tabs on your dog and how to monitor your teens' texting while driving.

This one is definitely for pet lovers only. It's called puppy tweets. It's essentially an electronic tag that you attach to your dog. It's a sound motion sensor that sends tweets to your computer based on the dog's movements througout the day. So if you're missing your dog while your at work, this tag will keep you updated on your dog's daily activities while you're away.

Remember when traveling used to be an adventure? Many consumer advocates believe now it just seems to drain your bank account with all the hidden fees that airlines impose. The site madashellabouthiddenfees.com is a website run by a few consumer organizations. Its purpose is to help travelers and travel industry professionals learn more about the hidden fees issue and tell their own stories through written or video submissions. They can also sign a petition urging their elected officials and government agencies to take action.

If you are a parent of a teen you know you do a lot of worrying. Well, there's a new app out there offering two features that may help ease all that parental anxiety.

A study out of the University of North Texas Health Science Center found 16,000 deaths since 2001 can be attributed to the increase in receiving and sending text messages while driving.

Although 30 states have banned texting while driving, Joel Magaziner who has two teenage sons, does not believe the law is deterring kids from exchanging messages behind the wheel. That's why he developed the smartphone app - textzapper.

"It's a phone application for smartphones, and what it does is while you're driving it prohibits your ability to text or receive a text message", said Magaziner.

Here's how it works: when you download the app, it is applied to your teen's phone, however you control the app. So the teen cannot deactivate the app unless he or she gets permission from the parent.

"If the child is a passenger in a vehicle and wants to be able to use the text feature, it can request from the parent to allow texting, and the parent can decide whether to accept or reject that request", Magaziner explained.

If a car is going more than 10 miles an hour, it is impossible to send or receive an email or text message. Instead, a message pops up. The app will automatically deactivate 3 minutes after the car stops moving.

A really neat feature in the app called the "Message Monitoring", notifies the parent by an alert text message that certain "bully" words are being detected in their child's text message. Any messages that make reference to cyber-bullying, sex, suicide, guns, weapons, or drugs are picked up instantly. There are more then 4000-keywords and phrases that will trigger the notification to the parent. The parent will also be notified of the phone number that the text came from.

The price is $4.99 a month, and you can get a free trial month.

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texting, air travel, science/technology, erin o'hearn
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