Worried your kid is ‘sexting’? This AI-powered watchdog app can help

For anyone who grew up in an age before smartphones, “sexting” simply wasn’t something we had to worry about as impressionable kids. But it’s a problem for today’s youngsters — with Pew Research claiming that approximately 1.2 million teens have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images of themselves to another person via text messaging.

While consenting adults should be free to do what they want, so long as they’re not hurting anyone, when you’re talking about underage kids, the idea of sexting becomes a whole lot more problematic. That becomes even more concerning when an estimated 61 percent of “sexters” who sent nude images admit that they felt pressured to do so at least once.

Fortunately, artificial intelligence is here to help.

Called Gallery Guardian, the A.I. solution — designed “by parents for parents” — is a new mobile app for iOS and Android, which uses image recognition to protect children from taking or receiving inappropriate images and videos through social media apps. It also aims to open up a dialog by alerting parents, who can pair their phones with those belonging to their kids. The parents don’t get to view the offending content, but the alert system will give them a heads-up so they can intervene. The app additionally offers resources to help teach parents how to approach a conversation that could be incredibly difficult for all parties involved.

“We built a library of pornography to train our algorithm,” Daniel Skowronski, founder and CEO of developer YIPO Technologies, told Digital Trends. “To improve the detection, we also leveraged data sets that were mostly ‘selfie’ style images, since it’s the most common photo style taken with smartphones.”

One potential issue with the concept is that the image processing is not done locally on your device. Skowronski says that the goal is for this to be the case, but the processing power needed to run the algorithm and keep detection levels high would result in too much battery drain on the average smartphone. However, he notes that the company uses the “tightest encryption available on the market today to keep your data and your child’s data safe.” All data is deleted immediately after scanning has taken place.

Gallery Guardian is available for free download (with in-app purchases) on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Samsung beefs up just about everything in its Galaxy S10 smartphone range

Samsung has unveiled its 2019 flagship smartphone lineup, and there aren't just two phones as usual -- there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.
Mobile

How to perform a reverse image search in Android or iOS

You can quickly use Google to search, and reverse search, images on a PC or laptop, but did you know it's almost as easy to do in Android and iOS? We explain how to do it here, whether you want to use Chrome or a third-party app.
Mobile

Google insists it’s doing what it can to purge Play Store of malicious apps

Google's efforts to provide a secure and safe Play Store for Android users resulted in the company rejecting 55 percent more app submissions in 2018 compared to a year earlier. But the challenge is ongoing.
Smart Home

No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

Now on Kickstarter, the Levia lamp is a cool industrial-looking lamp which boasts a levitating bulb. Looking for a table light that will dazzle visitors? You've come to the right place.
Emerging Tech

The Great White Shark’s genome has been decoded, and it could help us end cancer

In a significant step for marine and genetic science, researchers have decoded the genome of the great white shark. The genetic code revealed a wealth of insight into what makes these creatures so successful from an evolutionary standpoint.
Emerging Tech

‘Guerrilla rainstorm’ warning system aims to prevent soakings, or worse

Japanese researchers have created a "guerrilla rainstorm" early-warning system aimed at preventing severe soakings, or worse. The team hopes to launch the system before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Mobile

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…
Emerging Tech

Japanese spacecraft will collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu by shooting at it

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 will soon touch down on the asteroid Ryugu, where it will collect a sample by shooting a bullet into the soil. The sample will be returned to Earth in 2020 to learn about the formation of asteroids.
Emerging Tech

Hong Kong’s vision for a smart prison is a full-blown Orwellian nightmare

Hong Kong wants to bring prisons up to date by introducing new location-tracking wristbands for inmates, and a robot arm whose job is to comb through poop on the lookout for contraband.
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.