If you want to ensure your kids are using their smartphones safely but don't have the time or desire to check up on them constantly, there's an app for that.
CellFamily, created by the father and son duo of Chad and Alexander Salahshour of Mayfield Village, provides security alerts to let parents know about potential problems.
Chad, an auxiliary policeman in Bentleyville for 23 years, has written programs for computer-aided dispatching and records management. He saw a negative trend regarding cyber bullying and texting and driving and sought to address the need through his company, Beachwood-based InCell Technologies.
"Eighteen teens die every day as a result of texting and driving," he said. "We wanted to come up with a product that will hopefully save lives."
Unlike other products on the market, CellFamily focuses on keeping some level of privacy, Alex Salahshour said.
"It hinges on a positive relationship between parents and children. There is a lot of spy stuff out there," he said.
CellFamily costs from $1.95 to $7.95 per month, depending on level of service, and is available for Android phones.
One feature involves monitoring text messages and sending alerts when the messages could be about cyber bullying, sexting and other concerns.
"The software looks for words and phrases and scans correspondence to pick up key words," Alex said. "Our philosophy is that parents need to remain involved in their children's lives."
The SafeDrive Package protects children by disabling phones when they're driving so they can't text or surf the Web from behind the wheel.
"It monitors the speed of the phone and they can't receive email or access Facebook," Alex said.
However, they are still able to call a family member or 911 and there's an override feature if the child is a passenger. That can be set by the parent or the child can push a button to request an override and notification will be sent to the parent.
CellFamily can also block harmful numbers and let parents know if usage suggests a problem.
"If you suddenly see a number and it's not someone set up as a contact person and they're suddenly making 50 calls to it, that's going to stand out," Chad said.
A panic alarm feature sends an email or text message to parents to let them know their child's location.
"We're getting a lot of positive feedback on that," said Alex.
The CellFamily service launched about a month ago and can be purchased through the Website and retail outlets, including in Mayfield Heights, Chad said.
He added that interest in the service has increased since the Chardon High School shooting.
"This product seems to really take a foothold when there's a disaster," he said.
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