Due for installation with UK Internet Service Providers and Instant Messaging networks in January, the Anti-Grooming Engine (AGE) is supposed to protect young people from external threats rather than moderating what they can look at online.
The AGE technology system analyses conversations taking place in public and private chat rooms to understand whether a relationship poses a threat to a young
person. It’s installed at the ISP level and provides secure recording of all online interactions. It includes heuristic techniques to spot possible grooming activity, according to pattern matching it has developed. The system allows parents to specify how warnings are handled.
Two independent studies have shown how important this kind of technology is. According to a new ICM poll, commissioned by Crisp Thinking, the availability of anti-paedophile and anti-bullying technology is the most important factor to parents when buying a computer. The poll also reveals that parents have the greatest responsibility for protecting their children from online grooming or bullying.
A second survey carried out by Dubit Limited, discovered that two thirds of parents make no attempt to monitor their children’s online activities. In addition, less than one in three parents check which websites their children visit, check who they chat to online, or set limits on the time spent on the web.
The study also questioned 1,000 7-16 year olds and found that many are putting themselves at risk online because they ignore safety warnings. Almost three-quarters admitted they’d given their email address, photo, or phone number to a stranger online.
Adam Hildreth, CEO of Crisp Thinking and the inventor of the Anti-Grooming Engine, said, “By monitoring the language of developing conversations online, AGE can flag up any potential attempt to draw young people into an unhealthy relationship.”