Are you the parent or guardian of a young child that is learning the “dos and don’ts” of their first digital device? If so, then Canopy is an app you’ll want to consider downloading.
With the wide range of content that is readily available across digital devices today, some websites and apps can be harmful, especially for children. Parents need to prepare for this, but threats over the internet are complex, nuanced, rapidly evolving, and increasingly challenging to safeguard against.
In order to combat this ongoing issue, former Vice President of Baron Public Affairs Sean Clifford founded the Canopy app in 2019, with hopes to “create a healthy way for our kids to be online and enjoy the amazing things that come with technology, but without all the problematic content and challenges that accompany it.”
As the CEO of Canopy and a father of four young children, Clifford finds it more important than ever that families adopt healthy boundaries between their children and the internet.
With smart devices currently in the hands of 95 percent of teenagers, much of their interactions have moved online. Social media is used as a convenient space for people to keep up with friends, share content, exchange stories, and make plans. With the COVID-19 pandemic on the rise, Clifford believes that technology has provided us with a lifeline, one that has been “an incredible tool to facilitate education, to enable people to connect with friends and loved ones that aren’t nearby, to explore [topics] of interest, and to engage with content and entertainment.”
Canopy uses artificial intelligence that originated in Israel to help parents navigate this developing digital landscape. Once parents sign up with Canopy and connect with their children’s devices, the app is able to inspect every word, image, and video on every website searched on the connected devices. The software is 99.7 percent accurate at identifying and filtering out explicit content like pornography whenever it appears in a browser. There is also a sexting deference feature within the app that uses the same technology to scan every image saved to a device in real time. If any image is inappropriate or contains any nudity or minimal clothing, the software will flag it and for parental review.
Canopy also provides parents with other tools to control how their kids interact with their devices. Some of these features include time limits for certain apps, a curfew that cuts off access to the internet after a certain time, set periods for doing homework, device location tracking, and options to limit certain games or social media.
Although these restrictions may be greeted with an eye roll from some, all of the features can help protect kids from harmful content. Clifford sincerely believes that “what you say to your kids matters, and they might not thank you now, but they will thank you later. No matter how awkward or challenging it may be, it is worth it to have these conversations and take these steps.”
Parents have a huge role to play in setting their children up to be healthy tech users, and downloading an app like Canopy is useful in giving kids the space to be kids.
Clifford’s advice is that “parents should approach a smart device like a car. You don’t hand the keys to an eight-year-old. You first have to prepare them to understand what it is, the dangers associated with it, the opportunities, which ultimately equips them to become a good driver.”
The Canopy app is available for all smart devices including Android and Ios, and can be found on the App Store or on the Canopy website.