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App ethics question / Should I or not

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by textlogic, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. textlogic

    textlogic Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I have the capability but not sure if I should or not. I can see value to parents but scared that it will be used for unintended purposes.

    Please advice. I will not release if I get reasonable -ve opinions.


    App Name: Parental Monitor

    Functionality: Send calls, sms, mms (with pics) to a configured email real time. Sends location of the phone every 30 mins or so to an email.

    App will be protected with password and keeps a log when on/off and can not be killed. Remote start of the app.

    Silent mode no visibility or info that app is running.

  2. Redflea

    Redflea Android Expert

    This kind of app has existed on PCs for years, and I'm sure (or already has?) migrate to smartphones...

    As a parent of two teen boys, I would consider an app of this type only if I was already concerned due to other behavioral indicators that my sons were involved in drugs or other dangerous activities. I would not use it preemptively, just to see what they were doing/saying. I have a sister who spent 13 years dealing with a meth addiction, so I'm sadly very well schooled in what to watch out for...

    The one feature that I would consider (and Verizon already offers this on a portion of their GPS enabled phones) is the location monitor...a mostly benign monitoring that would allow me to find my sons in the event of an emergency (or even just find their phone if they left it somewhere!). :)
  3. Fadelight

    Fadelight Android Expert

    Why use SMS/MMS instead of using real-time tracking? There are a ton of GPS apps out there, so it would be feasable to write one that has the ability to be locked.
  4. magnus

    magnus Well-Known Member

    I'm not a parent yet.....but trying to think that way......I would think an application that does the following would be useful.

    - Triggers a warning (SMS, Email whatever) when a certain phone has reached 90/95% of its alloted SMS. Teen texting can rack up a huge bill
    - Data is usually unlimited, so no worries there....but an app download/browser history emailed to parent once a week/month to serve as a deterrent for downloading Pr0n/sensual content
    - Location option would be useful to a parent....I think.
  5. Tymanthius

    Tymanthius Well-Known Member

    As a parent, I like the idea.

    But it's a tool. Any tool can be misused (think of putting this on your g/f's phone and keeping it there after you break up).

    Make the tool with the best of intentions, but don't be blind to the fact that bad things can happen.

    I'm sure Fiskars never intended their scissors to kill ppl, but it's happened. Does that make Fiskars bad? Or scissors bad? No.

    I just way over-thought this, didn't I?
  6. kennyidaho

    kennyidaho Android Enthusiast

    Not sure about other carriers but I assume they have a similar offering to Sprints Family Locater. I wouldn't worry to much about it being used for the wrong purposes - if people want to do bad they will do bad one way or another.
  7. cwrig

    cwrig Well-Known Member

    Its a sure fire way to let your kids know you dont trust them.
  8. daddio

    daddio Newbie

    Give this some thought. My grandson is 12 and is in junior high school. His friend recently freaked all of us out. A sheriff's deputy showed up and took the 12 year old buddy off in handcuffs. This is a kid that is quiet, polite, and friendly and as one parent responded, was showing no signs of being on drugs or showing no other reason to question him. As every one of us did at that age, he became interested in girls. I was in junior high in the late '60s and remember all of us having done something very similar to what this kid had done, only we didn't have instant gratification as brought about by phones with cameras and video cams. We used to see photos that came from those photo booths that spit out 4 black and white pictures for a quarter. Every now and then we would get a hold of one of these pictures with a faceless girl showing her boobies, or what would one day become her boobies. This friend of my grandson had texted a girl that said, "If you text me a pic of your junk, I'll text you a pic of mine.", and his life is now ruined. The girl got mad at him a couple days later, showed her dad the photos the kid had sent, and now he faces 3 felony charges of indecency with a minor, exposing of genitals to a minor, and one other ridiculous charge. This 12 year old kid will now have to register as a sexual offender every time he makes a move in his life. Even though this happened off campus, he was expelled from school for 3 days and will never be allowed to participate in school sports programs the rest of his young school life. Upon reaching adulthood he will be called a sexual predator and will not be likely to find too many jobs once this charge is revealed, regardless of how ridiculous it may seem now to treat a kid who showed a picture of his junk to a schoolmate on his cellphone.

    Now you have to question whether your kids are showing any "signs" of doing anything. This was something that every junior high kid I know was involved in back in my school days, but now it has become the crime of the century and regardless of how innocent your kid may seem, his reaction to his hormones could cost him dearly. Think about that as you hand that cell phone over to your school aged kid, just because every other kid has one. When he takes that little pic of him or his buddy and thinking he is innocently goofing around by showing it to his friends, think about what will happen to him or her if just one kid who wasn't brought up the same way sees it. This friend of my grandson is ruined for life, and his parents who can't afford a lawyer can do nothing about it to save their kid. KID! He will be treated as a criminal for the rest of his life. This is how easily your kid can go from a "normal" happy kid to a "dangerous sexual predator" in the eyes of society, so don't take something like this lightly. If there is an app you can use to watch your kid, do it so your kid doesn't end up in the same bullshit trouble this 12 year old is in.
    Rocstar likes this.
  9. hrbib21

    hrbib21 Android Expert

    Well said; I completely agree (yes, I am a parent).

    The fact is, as parents, we are responsible for our children until age 18. I see no difference between this and calling the parent of a child having a sleepover to verify info.
  10. textlogic

    textlogic Lurker
    Thread Starter

    After going through replies from couple of forums - I am not going to release the app as there is a chance this can be used for unethical purposes. But changed the specs based on the feedback - will change the spec to a positive one:

    new App sends out email alerts of missed calls/received sms/mms (including the actual message + from + time etc).

    One member requested it as he works in a builiding where there is no signal and he want's to leave the phone in car but still want to get SMS/MMS messges and missed call information. I can see this can be used by students and employees where it's considered bad to look at phone during class/work day.

    When the app is active, there will be explicity icon/flashing light to let the owner know that the app is active and the user can switch off the app.

    Will call the new App: Alert2Mail - probably release in a week or two,
  11. brykins

    brykins Android Enthusiast

    I would probably use it but would make my 13yr old aware that it was on his phone. He has Child Control installed on his laptop which blocks access to "questionable" sites and also restricts his access to two hours PC use per day, of which only one hour is internet enabled. He also knows that his MSN conversations are saved and I have access to them and his emails IF I needed them, but he is also well aware that I don't go snooping just for the hell of it.

    Something that kept a log of calls, texts, sites visited and locations would be good to have, just not to over-use.
  12. Th3sandm4n

    Th3sandm4n Newbie

    Plus, any kid with half a brain would know how to disable it. I'm just totally against this kind of stuff, though. I'm not a parent, so take it with a grain of salt.
  13. sthoeft

    sthoeft Newbie

    Someone will anyway, so do it!
  14. DanSan

    DanSan Android Enthusiast

    What happened to good old fashion parenting??

    Stop using technology to spy on kids and monitor what they are doing. Learn how to parent your kids correctly and you wont have to do this. if you step up and teach them right from wrong and give them a set of morals you wont have to second guess them or have trust issues. my parents raised me with the understanding of right and wrong, good virtues and values and because of this they have never had the need to spy on me or think i am doing anything dishonest or wrong.

    I would have only used this type of app if my kid was an absolutely piece of crap but that would only reflect on me on how bad of a parent i am.
  15. InstantKarma

    InstantKarma Android Expert

    I think it went out with good old fashioned childhoods. :)
  16. DanSan

    DanSan Android Enthusiast

    Yea i think so.. im only 22 but i can say if my ass got out of line when i was a kid, my ass got its ass kicked til i learned not to get out of line again.

    dont see that anymore
  17. SamFen

    SamFen Newbie

    Here's what I think would be a better app: it's useful, can be used to find your kid and is less sneaky:

    Text a certain message to the phone. Phone texts back with location (e.g. link to a Google map with coordinates). This could also work from a website. If GPS is disabled, use wifi or last known location (and time of last known location).

    This can be used for:

    1) Lost phones
    2) Stolen phones
    3) Wondering where kids are

    ...and it's less sneaky, because you can't do it without your child/ex knowing. (Though if the message is innocuous enough, e.g. "Where are you sweetie?", a thief won't know you're on to them.)
  18. InstantKarma

    InstantKarma Android Expert

    Well, there's that, but I was referring more to the level of safety or, more accurately put, perceived safety. When I was growing up, my friends and I ran around in the woods by ourselves for hours. My parents often never saw me between meals, and this was many years before cellphones.

    Any parent who allowed their kids to run around loose like that these days would have them taken away by the state. And probably rightfully so.
  19. DanSan

    DanSan Android Enthusiast

    haha yup exactly.. we survived before all these cellphones and technology. we are conditioning these kids for a pathetic grown up existence. when i was in my younger teens i used to cross southern state parkway (if anyone is from long island area, you will know how scary this is) to go to school almost everyday. didnt seem to bother my parents lol..
  20. Hegemony

    Hegemony Android Enthusiast

    Hmmm, is it actually possible to make an app that cannot be killed? Interesting.

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