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Anti-sexting app developed in St. Louis hits cell phones, helps parents

by Maggie Crane

KMOV.com

Posted on October 20, 2010 at 10:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 20 at 10:50 PM

Sexting is on the rise, but parents are no longer powerless to stop it.

News 4 has discovered a tool made right here in St. Louis that shows you the exchange of nude photos  between your teens and preteens.  That way, hopefully you can put a stop to it.  It's affordable and easy to use.

It's called Mobile Media Guard, and if your kids have a smart phone, you're in business.  For about $4 a month, you can monitor what pictures they're getting and sending.

"A girl I know -- her parents do know about it.  She's gotten caught a couple of times," 12-year-old Alyssa Abbott says.

"I have clients whose kids are like 8 years old and they're like getting pictures of their friends and stuff naked," Braxton Campbell, a hairstylist, says.

Ask almost anyone with kids, and "sexting" is part of their lingo.  It's a sexually-suggestive text or picture message.  In other words -- a parent's nightmare.

"I think any type of parental monitoring would be a fabulous idea," Jennifer Mossman, mom to two young children, says.

And that's just what new dad Craig Spenner has developed.

"It just seemed like I was hearing story after story of these kids who would take inappropriate pictures, and they'd end up on the Internet and their lives would be ruined," Spenner says.

Spenner and co-developer Sean Tierney say Mobile Media Guard can stop the sexting trend almost as soon as it starts.  The smart phone app continuously scans images sent to and from your child's phone, and alerts you when it discovers new media.  The software cannot detect the phone number of the "sexter."

Once a picture is taken or sent to your kid's phone, you can see it on the Mobile Media Guard website.  It looks just like an email inbox.

"You can quite readily tell what the picture is and whether it requires any intervention on your part," Tierney says.

Developers say the app is also an easy excuse for kids to stop peer pressure to "sext."

"'You know, I'd really like to do that, but my folks are going to see that,'" Spenner explains.  "And who wants their folks to be looking at pictures like that?"

The app just launched this week.  And while it only works on smart phones, iPhone does not yet support the software.

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