Canopy: An Innovative Parental Control Tool to Make Kids Safer Online

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Around 35% of all teens have received a sexting message and nearly 20% have sent one, according to a 2021 study. On top of that, Common Sense Media found that 54% of all teens have seen an explicit image online. If you're worried about protecting your child, there's a new digital parentingl app designed specifically to protect kids from sexually explicit material: Canopy.

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I recently sat down with Yaron Litwin, Digital Safety Expert and Chief Marketing Officer at Canopy. Mr. Litwin shed light on Canopy’s mission-driven approach to ensuring online safety for kids. Here's what parents need to know:

Background: Canopy is a four-year-old spinoff of NetSpark, a company with a 14-year history in AI technology focused on identifying explicit content in images and videos. The primary aim of Canopy is to protect children from explicit content online by filtering it in real-time, rather than merely blocking it.

Family oriented: While NetSpark collaborates with schools and government agencies, Canopy is designed for consumers, aiming to assure parents that their kids can safely explore the internet without stumbling upon inappropriate content.

Real-time filtering: The platform's real-time filtering means that if a child encounters explicit content online, the offensive material will be instantly blurred.

"Our goal really is to educate and provide technology that we believe is going to be one of the ways to help parents fight the accessibility of some of the predators that are out there. Canopy really gives parents another tool that empowers them to protect their kids in a digital world."

—Yaron Litwin, Canopy

Other features: Beyond filtering, Canopy offers screen time management tools that work across multiple devices, which means parents can set different screen times for different gadgets. There's also a focus on curbing sexting, a starting point for many online predators. If a child attempts to send or receive such content, both the child and parent will be alerted.

AI's role in modern online safety: The rapid advancements in artificial intelligence present both opportunities and challenges. While AI-driven tools like Canopy are becoming smarter at filtering content, the creation and manipulation of explicit content using AI techniques are on the rise, necessitating the need for more advanced solutions.

The future: Canopy will be expanding its parental control applications with upcoming features that focus on monitoring text content, keeping tabs on social media use, and flagging potentially harmful or bullying text conversations.

Light Bulb
Kids can't remove Canopy

Removal Prevention and Removal Alerts, available on all compatible devices, ensure that Canopy stays active without interruption. When activated, these features prevent your child from disabling or uninstalling Canopy without your knowledge.

Canopy's recommendations for parents

  • Engage in open communication with children about the potential risks online and the need for safety tools.
  • Use Canopy's real-time filtering as a bridge to enable safer online exploration for kids.
  • Employ the software not as a means to”'control” but to “protect” children.
  • Consider implementing Canopy on a child's first phone, fostering healthy online habits early on.
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Canopy is set to be an important tool for parents navigating the challenges of raising digital natives in an increasingly online world. The software provides a vital blend of parental intelligence with artificial intelligence to ensure the well-being and safety of children online.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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