Smartphone App for Tracking Teens

Smart Sheriff_01

The Korean Communications Commission (KCC) has mandated that everyone who is 18 years old and younger must have some sort of parental security software on their phone. As such, the government has invested in the data-tracking app, named “Smart Sheriff,” which will block things like pornography and gambling sites as well as tracking the use of any one of several hundred keywords like “kill,” “rape,” or “suicide.” Implementation of the app is not required on older phones, but parents are urged to ensure the app is installed on their children’s phones regardless. In a country where the smartphone market is booming, this new development has raised the eyebrows of more than a few with some students claiming it is a violation of their privacy. And “Smart Sheriff” isn’t the only app that is being put to use to track Korean children’s activities. There are several that have been on the market for some time that offer similar services. Though the app may help parents protect their children from harm, it may also open the doors for parents to become involved to a point of micromanaging their children’s lives. Open Net Korea, and NGO that promotes freedom and openness for South Korea’s internet, believes that forcing children to use this app is going too far and that it is harmful to them. There are even some rising concerns about whether or not this slippery slope could lead to similar apps being required for all citizens in the future.