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[See other articles by Rich Tehrani]


VoIP: The Most Logical Parenting Tool to Monitor Children

[August 24, 2005]

TMCnet Technology Analysis Columnist

Today, Motorola chairman Edward Zander announced that Motorola will release a new cell phone allowing parents to monitor children's whereabouts as well as offering filtering software. I got to thinking that this makes a good deal of sense for parents who want kids to have the security and safety features of a cell phone but on the other hand feel that the child is given too much freedom at too early and age and needs o be checked up on from time to time.

Although I didn't see it in this article, I would assume that allowing parents to listen in on conversations would be important as well. In fact when you think of what could be an exciting VoIP service to roll out; monitoring children's conversations may be at the top of the list.

We have tools that allow us to monitor where kids are surfing and what e-mails they send and receive. The missing link is voice.

This is a natural for VoIP as there are already recording solutions refined in the IP contact center market that lend themselves perfectly to helping parents manage the process of raising kids in difficult times.

I keep thinking about Google's announcement that they are going to enter VoIP and couple this with their intention to manage the world's information. Parents are likely going to want to keep logs of conversations and maybe even search them for questionable content. This concept seems to be custom made for a company like Google.

Half of me thinks I am too KGB by writing this article but the other half thinks that if parents don't know what kids are doing and saying, then how can they make sure they aren't involved in illegal activities? The tools should be made available and parents can decide whether they need to be used depending on their situation and their kids.

In a way, fifteen years ago when less families has two parents working, one of the parents would act as a live filter. Think of VoIP monitoring as an extension of this concept but using technology to make our lives more manageable. Like browser based voicemail that lets you sort through and respond to messages much faster than an answering machine, VoIP monitoring, analyzing and filtering will be another tool that allow those of us with limited time to get more done each day.


Rich Tehrani is President and Editor in Chief at TMC.

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