Oyoty: Your Child’s New Online Safety Personal Assistant

Worried about your child’s online safety? There is a new AI-powered bot that acts as a child’s online safety personal assistant.

Oyoty is the name of this new child-friendly bot that aims to protect kids as they take their first steps online. Still on its soft launch, the bot can be availed by downloading Oyoty from Google Play to your child’s smartphone or tablet. As a parent, you can test Oyoty for a trial period by following the instructions via this link. It currently supports Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Capabilities of Oyoty

Oyoty analyzes a child’s social network activities –  the bot is capable of spotting problematic posts minutes after publication. The bot will then alert the child of this risk like this: “Hey buddy! You have disclosed your phone number on Facebook. This might not be safe. Should we delete it together?”

The bot can also deliver information to raise awareness like this: “Let’s learn how to setup a strong password.” 

As a parent, you can view a dashboard containing the interactions between your child and the bot Oyoty.

The bot can detect safety issues such as email addresses and phone numbers shared publicly. It can also detect sharing of sensitive selfies, offensive or inappropriate comments.

Whenever the bot flags a post, a child has a chance to discuss the issue with the bot. The conversation between the bot and your child may run like this:

 

Oyoty: It’s always advisable to use private channels to exchange e-mail addresses. Should we fix it together?

Child: I’m not sure….

Oyoty: Why not?

Child: I think there is nothing wrong with my post.

Practical advice and recurrent progress reports are also sent to parents. Most importantly, those issues that cannot be solved by the children are escalated to the parents.

Why doesn’t Oyoty just prevent children from posting risky contents?

The company stressed, “The goal is not to censor social networks usage, but to empower young people using social networks, with a tool allowing them to understand why content may be considered risky and make an informed choice about whether that content should be updated or amended.”

Founder and CEO of Oyoty Deepak Tewari told TechCrunch that Oyoty’s main focus is educating children about what they are trying to share online. The Founder and CEO of Oyoty added the bot does not automatically prohibit the child; rather, the child is given the chance to actively participate in the discussion and in the decision-making process.

The Oyoty team was assisted by UK child psychologist Catherine Knibbs in writing the bot’s dialogue.

In the paper entitled “Parental controls: advice for parents, researchers and industry” published by The London School of Economics and Political Science, Bieke Zaman and Marije Nouwen wrote that “the potential of parental controls lies beyond preventive and protective affordances.”

The tools should not just be conceived of as helicopter apps that serve the needs of parents who would like to ‘hover’ over their child wittingly or unwittingly at all costs (Clark, 2013; Haddon & Livingstone, 2014). In the end, a more nuanced approach helps to avoid over-controlling or overprotective parenting, which is found to negatively affect the development of the child (Janssens et al.,

2015),” Zaman and Nouwen added.

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