SafeChat helps parents keep tabs on kids' computer use

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Chris Proffitt/Eyewitness News

New software designed to protect your kids from the dangers of the internet gets a vote of confidence from one Indiana police department. A Purdue graduate invented the latest software program designed to protect your children and make your computer follow your rules.

It was the popular Dateline NBC program To Catch A Predator that's opened the eyes of parents to the dangers of the internet.

And it was To Catch a Predator that inspired the latest software protection for parents. It's called SafeChat and it was developed by former Carmel resident and Purdue University graduate, Gabe Luu.

"We don't know who's out there that could be a predator. So Safechat protects the family and kids at home before it's too late," he said.

Luu is in Kokomo demonstrating his software which was recently endorsed by the Kokomo Police Department. Investigators say it's the full range of parental control they like - restricting where kids surf, what they say and what's said to them. Safechat blocks inappropriate websites, foul language, peer to peer networks and file downloads and addresses and names.

"It gives you the opportunity to be proactive - stop something before it starts. The real benefit to Safechat is that I'm never going to see it because I won't get involved in the first place," said Don Whitehead, Kokomo Police.

Megan, a 17-year-old who spends two hours a night on the net talking with friends, took part in the Safechat demonstration and within ten minutes was propositioned by a stranger on the internet.

"Safechat allows us, in essence, to become a virtual parent. We're going to make the computer follow the rules the parent sets," said Kurt von Schmidt-Pauli.

Whether it's Safechat or a host of other software designed to protect children, police say that online protection is vital for an estimated 80 percent of kids on the internet that are vunerable.

According to the FBI, most children that fall victim to computer-sex offenders spend large amounts of time on-line, particularly in chat rooms. They're most vulnerable at night when the greatest number of predators are online.

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