No more barking up the wrong tree. Monitoring algorithms aren't the solution!

Online Safety
By
Cyber Dive
Oct 19, 2022
6 min

Let’s be honest. Algorithms are a pain.

Why are we shown ads for a $200 pair of pants and not the Instagram post about our friend’s baby? Why is the stuff we want buried beneath suggested TikTok videos we don’t care about?

Now, we know. “Blame the algorithm” is our go-to response whenever our social media feeds get messed up. We just want to see some funny dog videos, not random content!

Yet, the truth about algorithms is they do so much more than cause frustration on social media.

They’re in every area of our online lives and that can be a big problem.

Algorithms are inherently skewed systems.

They may be designed to make our lives better, but they’re not foolproof. They can be deeply flawed based on who builds them, how they’re developed, and how they’re used. With the code locked away in black boxes (and no regulations to make sure they’re used for GOOD), algorithms guide our choices in ways that we can’t control.

There’s even a name for this!

It’s called algorithmic bias.

They create filter bubbles, limit our choices and our creativity, lead to and perpetuate bias, and increase inequality and unemployment.

Scary, right?

Now, here’s the deal with other monitoring solutions.

When you install them on your kid’s phone, they “run quietly in the background in search of issues that might indicate that something is wrong in your child’s online world… [with] algorithms that detect potential risks, so you don’t have to comb through every post and text.”

(Yes, this is an exact quote from one of these software solutions!)

Yet, we just established that algorithms are far perfect, even down right harmful.

That begs the question:

Why would you trust all your kid’s online safety to an algorithm?

These monitoring solutions are built on inherently skewed systems and it’s your family that will be affected. Telling you differently is just barking up the wrong tree.  

Let’s break this down a little more.

Monitoring softwares are like trusting a stranger to protect your kid.

Imagine this.

You just got home from a long day at work to find a stranger sitting on your couch. They’ve been watching your kid’s every movement the entire time. Even worse, they won’t let you speak to your kid directly. This stranger stands in your way, only letting you hear the things they feel are important.

This is EXACTLY what other monitoring solutions do.

  • They observe, gather, and analyze the data on your kid’s phone and run it through an algorithm.
  • That algorithm pushes out alerts, deciding FOR YOU what you can and can’t see.
  • They maintain full control over what happens to your kid’s data after it’s analyzed.

In other words, your ability to decide what is or isn’t harmful to your kid has been ripped away. The algorithm built into these monitoring softwares makes the choice for you.

Are you willing to take it on good faith they have your best interest at heart?

But, that’s not the worst of it.

Monitoring softwares are like accepting a piggyback from a stranger.

Remember jumping on your friend’s back for a piggyback ride as a kid? It was fun but let’s face it.

You weren’t in control. Not even a little bit!

You could only hang on as your friend decided where to go. Even though you weren’t in control, you didn’t have to worry because you could trust them not to take you somewhere dangerous.

Now, imagine a stranger offering to give you a piggyback ride.

You have no idea who they are and if you accept that piggyback, you’ve given them complete control over where they can take you.

Sound like a true crime podcast waiting to happen? Sure does!

This is what monitoring softwares do when gathering your kid's online activity.

To collect and analyze your kid’s data, these solutions rely on data portability.

If you’ve never heard the phrase, you’re not alone.

In non-technical terms, monitoring softwares use data portability to:

  • Piggyback apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and access the personal data collected by those platforms.
  • Pull this personal data into their own monitoring system.
  • Store this information before running it through their algorithm to generate the alerts they send you.

Here’s the big problem.

The exchange isn’t open.

  • Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter only allow access to certain parts of the information they’ve collected.
  • Platforms like Omegle, NGL, and Wickr (where online predators abound!) give zero access to monitoring softwares that attempt to see into them.

The monitoring software that’s supposed to keep your kid safe online can only see a fraction of what’s actually going on (if it can see anything at all). No matter how good the software, as long as it relies on data portability, it’ll always be subject to the rules and whims of the platform it’s piggybacking.

In other words, they’ve accepted that piggyback ride from a stranger. They’re headed somewhere but they have no control over the journey or final destination.

Thought we were done with the bad news?

Sorry, it gets worse still.

Imagine accepting that ride from a stranger only to find out you both have to be blindfolded.

Even if they’ve decided to take you someplace safe, they won’t see bumps in the path until they’ve tripped and thrown you off. Because your blindfold prevents you from seeing the danger, you’ll smash into the ground and become one giant mess.

The monitoring software on your kid’s phone is the same.

Let us explain.

Kids are clever. We know this! Social media platforms introduce changes intended to catch negative content and within a few days, kids have found a way around it using a special slang called “algospeak” to evade content detection.

Here are just a few examples of algospeak in action and their real world meanings:

  • the “ABC” diet = Anorexia Bootcamp Diet
  • “Seggs” or “S3X” = sex
  • Emoji combinations = sexual, self harm, or drug phrases
  • and many more

If social media platform don’t adapt to the new “algospeak”, they’ll miss that negative content and allow it to be posted.

As monitoring softwares take in that content passed off from these platforms and run it through their algorithms, they’ll miss it too because they haven’t kept up with every single little work-around.

Self harm posts. Mature content. Drug phrases.

That negative content will pass through two different screens and make its way to your kid.

Because monitoring softwares have full control over what you can and can’t see, it’ll go unflagged and you’ll miss it too.

It’s like flying blind.

Except it’s your kid that’s the one at risk.

Alright, time for a deep breath.

You don’t have to suffer through this anymore.

The Aqua One is the solution that cuts clean through the mess. How?

1) No more prying eyes. Only you have access to your kid’s data.

We ditched an algorithm and built a pipeline. Whenever your kid uses their Aqua One, that activity flows into your Parent Dashboard, uninterrupted.

Now what about the alerts in your Parent Dashboard? Don’t they need someone to push out the notification if concerning content is detected?

Not at all!

Unlike other monitoring software, our artificial intelligence is a self-contained, machine learning program that’s constantly evolving to send you relevant notifications. There isn’t an algorithm or team of people reaching into flow of your kid's data to analyze what they’re doing. EVER. When our self-contained AI detects potentially concerning activity, those alerts go straight to you and no one else.

What happens on your kid’s Aqua One stays between you and them. Just like it should be.

2) Say goodbye to blindspots. Nothing is hidden from you.

We got rid of the darkness and turned on the lights for every area of your kid’s online world. With Aqua One's Parent Dashboard, checking in on your kid is as easy as scrolling your social media feed.

Every single action they take on their Aqua One is displayed in your Parent Dashboard. By simply clicking on the app you want to view, you can watch everything your kid did.

No more worrying what your kid was doing on TikTok at 3am. Just hop onto the “Activity” section of your Parent Dashboard, click the TikTok icon, and watch the recording of everything they saw or did on the app. Literally everything.

Instead of deciding what’s important for you, we’ve given you the ability to see everything. No more flying blind. You’re in the driver’s seat.

So, can we agree?

When it comes to keeping your kid safe online, trusting a monitoring software is barking up the wrong tree. Or as wise as accepting a piggyback from a stranger.

Elizabeth Smart, Elizabeth Smart Foundation
"It's encouraging to know that, as parents, you do not have to be left in the dark, you can be involved. That's quite a powerful tool."
Elizabeth Smart
Elizabeth Smart Foundation
Georgann Yaya, AZCentral
"Helping parents prepare for the gamut of situations to which social media opens the door has made [Cyber Dive] venture more valuable than the bottom line."
Georgann Yara
azcentral
Billy Harfosh, iHeartRadio
"If we're concerned about stranger danger... what about a stranger getting into your child's direct messages? It can be just as dangerous, if not more so."
Billy Harfosh
iHeartRadio
Desiree Briggs, Mama Army
"[Aqua One] was just launched and is going to change the way that our children grow up in a technology-driven world."
Desiree Briggs
Co-Founder of The Mama Army
Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb
"As a Lawman and a parent I love seeing solutions for protecting children from the child predators. This Aqua One phone helps parents and even addresses the mental health of the child. Well done Cyber Dive."
Sheriff Mark Lamb
Sheriff of Pinal County Arizona
Dawn Van Camp, Mama Army
"In a society that relies so much on virtual connection, it is necessary that we teach our children how to navigate and use technology responsibly."
Dawn Van Camp
Co-Founder of The Mama Army
Phoenix Dream Center CEO Brian Steele
“One of the neatest parts about the tool is that it gives insight into not only the safety of what my child is doing out there but what my child is thinking.”
Brian Steele
CEO of Phoenix Dream Center
Larissa Marulli, Moms.com
“Being informed of your child's social media habits isn't just beneficial from a safety standpoint. You'll get an inside look at what your kid is into and enjoying.”
Larissa Marulli
moms.com
Elizabeth Smart, Elizabeth Smart Foundation
"It's encouraging to know that, as parents, you do not have to be left in the dark, you can be involved. That's quite a powerful tool."
Elizabeth Smart
Elizabeth Smart Foundation
Georgann Yaya, AZCentral
"Helping parents prepare for the gamut of situations to which social media opens the door has made [Cyber Dive] venture more valuable than the bottom line."
Georgann Yara
azcentral
Billy Harfosh, iHeartRadio
"If we're concerned about stranger danger... what about a stranger getting into your child's direct messages? It can be just as dangerous, if not more so."
Billy Harfosh
iHeartRadio
Dawn Van Camp, Mama Army
"In a society that relies so much on virtual connection, it is necessary that we teach our children how to navigate and use technology responsibly."
Dawn Van Camp
Co-Founder of The Mama Army
Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb
"As a Lawman and a parent I love seeing solutions for protecting children from the child predators. This Aqua One phone helps parents and even addresses the mental health of the child. Well done Cyber Dive."
Sheriff Mark Lamb
Sheriff of Pinal County Arizona
Desiree Briggs, Mama Army
"[Aqua One] was just launched and is going to change the way that our children grow up in a technology-driven world."
Desire Briggs
Co-Founder of The Mama Army
Phoenix Dream Center CEO Brian Steele
“One of the neatest parts about the tool is that it gives insight into not only the safety of what my child is doing out there but what my child is thinking.”
Brian Steele
CEO of Phoenix Dream Center
Larissa Marulli, Moms.com
“Being informed of your child's social media habits isn't just beneficial from a safety standpoint. You'll get an inside look at what your kid is into and enjoying.”
Larissa Marulli
moms.com

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