When it comes to parental controls, some create a wedge between parents and their children. Where one feels the need for safety, the other feels smothered. The Jiminy app attempts to resolve this issue. It was created in 2017 as a way to bridge the digital gap between parents and children, allowing adults to stay on top of their kids’ activity while supplying the young person with a semblance of privacy.
“Kids are spending between three and five hours a day in this ‘place’ where there are no grown-ups,” Tal Guttman, CEO and co-founder of Jiminy, tells Parentology. He and his team found that parents were missing bad and good behavior. “Your child could be walking around with an incredible sense of accomplishment because they just had a high score in a game and you might be totally oblivious.”
So rather than simply alerting parents to only the worrisome things in life, Jiminy can also be used to help parents stay closer to their kids when they do the right thing.
How Jiminy Works
Jiminy is a phone monitoring app that is currently only available on Android devices. It analyzes signals coming from your child’s phone and uses machine-learning algorithms to find sources of concern or interest. The app’s artificial intelligence (AI) alerts parents via an instant messenger about problematic patterns and toxic behaviors in their child’s phone usage. It also provides strategies for navigating these challenges.
That said, it’s not simply scanning for negatives. Your child’s entire phone usage is Jiminy’s priority. The app alerts parents when a child spends extended time on any particular app or researching a specific topic. “It tells you: this is their favorite app and this is their favorite game,” Guttman says.
Jiminy also clues parents into other things, such as social media platforms or online behavior that the adult doesn’t know or understand. “If your child is really into TikTok, there’s a story that explains what TikTok is and why it’s cool,” Guttman explains. “It also suggests how to talk to your child about being careful there.”
However, if something concerning pops up, these “big-ticket problems” are immediately called to parents’ attention.
Tackling Big-Ticket Problems
Jiminy doesn’t block content on your child’s phone. Rather, it alerts parents so that they can make a decision about what to do next. It does, however, spot big-ticket problems, which are categorized by analyzing a range of issues:
- Social issues such as bullying, drama or loneliness
- Concerning content and interests (Sexting and adult content, vaping, gambling, etc)
- Toxic phone usage and game addiction
Another big-ticket problem is sexting. A data report from the Jiminy team details occurrences of online sexting between children in the US. The report sampled over 54 million text messages and over 1.5 million hours of children’s phone usage. What it found: “By the age of 10, one in seven children has already been exposed to or involved in sexting.”
But once you know there’s a big-ticket concern, you’re not alone. Jiminy co-founder and clinical psychologist, Dr. Oren Shefet, works with a team of educational experts to provide parents with “What should I dos?” in these cases.
“We still believe the most powerful parenting tool out there is the kitchen table where you sit and have conversations,” Guttman says. “We want to empower parents.”
Privacy Is a Spectrum
So where does a kid’s privacy come into the picture? The company states that it doesn’t share with parents the child’s messages, show their photos, or send links to sites they’ve been perusing. Instead, Jiminy looks for patterns in online activity. Every week the Jiminy app sends updates about:
- The child’s favorite groups, contacts, and friends
- Their favorite games and apps
- How they use their phone and how that compares with other kids their age
- Their favorite emoji of the week
Guttman says, “A lot of parental control software either blocks access to content or limits usage. Jiminy doesn’t block or restrict anything. That’s not our job. We believe kids need to learn to manage themselves. That’s our first show of trust in the child.”
This all supports Jiminy’s ultimate mission: to create an open space for communication between parent and child.
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What Is Jiminy App? — Sources
Tal Guttman, CEO, and Co-founder of Jiminy