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$2,086 pledged of $50,000 goal
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About this project

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Making the Internet safe while preserving privacy

Our children are living an increasing portion of their lives online and do most of their socializing using messaging services like Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Snapchat.  Until now, parents had to choose between protecting their children from harm online by reading all their children's text messages, or giving them privacy and hoping for the best.  

Artimys Language Technologies has created software -- based on thousands of real-life situations of threats to kids -- that learns to spot potential dangers. It monitors your children's text communications for you, flagging potential bullying, sexual predation, dangerous or suicidal behaviors, and more.  This technology is currently in beta as a Facebook app that protects children's Facebook profiles.  We need your support to create apps that protect all messaging services on kids' Android smartphones.  

Currently Available Technology

Existing parental monitoring products search children's text messages for key words that may indicate a threat. With this approach, for example, the word "drink" would be flagged with no ability to distinguish between a child at risk of binge drinking and a thirsty child.  As a result, parents must read through many messages to find the true threats.  Parents can become fatigued and lose interest. They also might not have the stomach to read the juvenile, yet normal things kids say. This approach also leaves the child little privacy and room to grow — and quite often they dislike being "spied on."  

Artimys Language Technologies is developing technology that CAN distinguish between a child at risk of binge drinking and a thirsty child, to free parents from reading ALL of their children's messages and allow ALL parents to offer their children protection from the major threats of the Internet.  

Learn from the Real World: Machine Learning

Click here to learn even more about our technology.
Click here to learn even more about our technology.

Machine Learning is a branch of Artificial Intelligence that allows computers to learn the patterns found in real-world data and applies that learning to new data to spot the same patterns.  It’s one of the first effective and impactful uses of “big data."  The Artimys system uses Machine Learning that has been trained on real cases of sexual predation, bullying and children at risk for suicide.  Our technology spots the subtle linguistics patterns that distinguish bullying from simple vulgarity. It achieves an unprecedented level of accuracy so that parents need monitor only those messages and threads that are likely threats.  Not spying.  Not having to read every word a child sends and receives.  

The Artimys technology offers another unique feature: adjustable sensitivity. By adjusting the sensitivity, parents select their preferred comfort zone between privacy and security, choosing how much to see.  But in all cases, only the messages and threads most likely to be threats are presented.  

Try it For Yourself

The Artimys Machine Learning technology that will be used in the Spitball app is available to try for free via our Facebook Guardian app during this Kickstarter campaign.  Sign up for the app and register your child's Facebook profile to see the Artimys technology at work.  Click the Artimys logo below to get started:
Try the Artimys Guardian Facebook app for FREE and see how well this technology works!!
Try the Artimys Guardian Facebook app for FREE and see how well this technology works!!

Spitball and Fireball

The Spitball app is installed on a child's Android smartphone.  Spitball collects all of the child's messaging in one place.  This includes Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, SMS/MMS, and more. The child will appreciate this tool as it simplifies communications with friends across multiple apps.  

In addition to organizing your child's messaging, Spitball includes the Artimys Machine Learning system which monitors the text messages and looks for threats behind the scenes. If a threat is detected, it is reported to the Fireball app.  

Fireball is the companion app to Spitball.  Fireball is installed on the parent's Android or iOS smartphone.  It reports messaging activity levels as well as any threats that are detected.  

Benefits of the Artimys Technology and the Fireball and Spitball apps

Most Advanced Technology Available:  The Artimys Machine Learning technology is by far the most accurate parental monitoring technology on the market.  It offers the greatest protection, the most privacy and the least parental involvement.  Click here to try it for yourself.  

Monitoring, Not Spying: Because the Artimys technology is so accurate, you only read messages and threads that are likely to be threats. The rest of your child's messages remain private. This will make the child more open to the monitoring. This will also reduce parental fatigue and make the parent more attentive to the alerts that are presented.  

Messaging Inbox: Your child will appreciate the messaging inbox and therefore be more accepting of the monitoring.  

Pay Once: When the Spitball app goes on sale, it will cost $10 per copy. When parents purchase the Spitball app, they are protecting the child's phone for life. Most other parental monitoring products are services that charge monthly or annual fees. For the price of one month of service for competing products, you get superior protection for life with Spitball and Fireball.  This makes Artimys the most affordable and best option available.  

Adjustable: The parent chooses the trade off between safety and privacy. Setting the sensitivity at the highest level increases the chances that Spitball will report false alarms, but there's also a much greater chance of catching all threats. By reducing the sensitivity, the parent gets fewer alerts and more of the child's communications remain private, but there's an increased chance that real threats will not be detected.  

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q) Can the child just delete the app or disable it?  

A) The Spitball app takes measures to not be disabled.  It detects and reports when it's deleted or when it's disconnected from the parent's Fireball app. In addition, it reports when apps are installed and deleted. The Spitball app is meant to be a conversation point and way for parents to interact with their child regarding dangers on the Internet.  Other products are more geared to spying and control. While no technology is unbreakable, we have taken every precaution to prevent the child from defeating spitball.  

Q) Why is the Artimys Guardian Facebook app not a commercial product?  

A) Facebook recently changed its policies; the port the Guardian uses to access children's Facebook profiles is being closed on May 1st, 2015. This is a primary motivator for the creation of Spitball and Fireball. With widespread focus on data privacy, much attention has been shifted away from child safety. Spitball and Fireball will help parents shift the focus back to child safety.  

Q) Is Spitball available for the iPhone, or only Android?  

A) Currently, Spitball can only be written for Android. iOS does not allow apps to access the information required to implement Spitball. If in the future iOS allows this, we will explore that option. For now, Spitball is possible only on Android phones.  

Fireball will be available on both iOS and Android.  

Q)  My child uses both a smartphone and a tablet. Will this work on tablets or just smartphones?

A) Spitball will initially support phones, but tablet support will come in future updates. The same is true of Fireball.  

Q) How does the reward system in this Kickstarter campaign work for contributors?         

A) First and foremost, our goal is to get this technology into parents' hands. To this end, all supporters who contributes $10 or more will receive a copy of the apps for their personal use.

We will recognize supporters with a credit on the loading screen in every app they contribute: "Made possible through the generous support of: INSERT_NAME_HERE" (see example loading page below). But there is more ...

Our goal is for broad availability of the app so we've reached out to a variety of organizations whose mission relates to protecting children from the threats the Artimys technology can detect. By supporting this Kickstarter campaign, supporters will allow our partners to distribute apps to people who can use them. For example, supporters who contribute $50 will get one copy for their use and will make 9 additional apps available for distribution by our partner organizations in the supporter's name. When you make your contribution to the campaign, simply select the partner organization you'd want to distribute your apps. If you prefer, select "Artimys" and we will distribute them for you and put your name on the loading page. The image below shows an example of the Spitball app loading page with credit given to a supporter.  

Spitball loading page with partner branding and Supporter recognition.
Spitball loading page with partner branding and Supporter recognition.

Q) How does the reward system in this Kickstarter campaign work for promotional partners? 

A) Our promotional partners are asked to reach out to their constituencies through email, social media or whatever means they choose to reach their audience. The partner is asked to make its audience aware of the campaign and to encourage their audience to support the Artimys Kickstarter campaign and to select their organization to distribute their contributed apps when they contribute to the campaign. All apps attributed to the promotion partner will include the partner's branding in the launch page along with the supporter's name. An example of this is shown above. This is a win-win-win-win scenario. Parents win by getting the app to protect their kids. Contributors win by feeling proud of supporting this important technology and being recognized for it. Our promotional partners win by getting their messages out and delivering tangible benefits to their audiences. Awareness of your cause and your contribution to addressing it is raised. Finally, Artimys wins by being able to get this technology into as many people's hands as possible.  

Risks and challenges

The project consists of the following major activities:
1) App functional specification - Define the major features of the apps and how the overall system functions.
2) Spitball user experience design and graphic art - Define the screens of the app and create the graphic art to compose them.
3) Fireball user experience design and graphic art - Define the screens of the app and create the graphic art to compose them.
4) Collect training data to train the machine-learning models.
5) Language model creation - Build the machine-learning models that are used to detect threats.
6) Spitball coding - Write the code for the Spitball app.
7) Fireball coding - Write the code for the Fireball app.
8) Testing.
9) Multi-phone support.

Activities 1 through 5 are completed. The Artimys Guardian language models will be modified for use on a smartphone and for one-sided conversations, but this is low-risk work relative to the initial build of the models.

Most of the work that remains is the coding and testing. The Spitball app uses Android system facilities and so will require significant testing for compatibility; getting a design to work on a variety of screens is always challenging. The apps will communicate with each other using a cloud service. Systems engineering of this communication is time consuming, but not very risky.

The major risks of the program are the model tweaks, interfacing with the Android notification system and screen variety support.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    - Supporter -

    1 copy will be delivered to you for your use.

    Our undying gratitude (Thank you!), acknowledgment of your support on your Facebook page or Twitter feed and the opportunity to follow our progress on the project.

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    - Watchdog -

    You will protect your children and 4 other children*.

    3 full copies of the apps.
    1 copy will be delivered to you for your use.
    2 copies will be distributed on your behalf to others and you will be credited in the app!

    Plus our undying gratitude (Thank you!), acknowledgment of your support on your Facebook page or Twitter feed and the opportunity to follow our progress on the project.

    * The average American family has 2 children so each gift app will protect 2 children on average.

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    One group license that covers your children and 20 other children*.

    One group license to install 10 copies of the apps.
    1 copy for your family.
    9 copies installed by others.

    You will be credited in the app!

    Plus our undying gratitude (Thank you!), acknowledgment of your support on your Facebook page or Twitter feed and the opportunity to follow our progress on the project.

    * The average American family has 2 children so each Spitball installation will protect 2 children on average.

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    One group license that covers your children and 50 other children*.

    One group license to install 26 copies of the apps.
    1 copy for your family.
    25 copies installed by others.

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    - Club -

    One club group license that covers your children and up to 140 other children*.

    One club group license to install copies of the apps on the phones of children who members of a club such as Boy Scout group, school club, Church, Synagogue, etc.
    1 copy for your family.
    Up to 500 copies installed by any child in a club/group. Contact us to arrange before selecting this level.

    You will be credited in the app!

    Plus our undying gratitude (Thank you!), acknowledgment of your support on your Facebook page or Twitter feed and the opportunity to follow our progress on the project.

    * The average American family has 2 children so each gift app will protect 2 children on average.

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    - School -

    One school group license that covers your children and up to 500 other children*.

    One school group license to install copies of the apps on the phones of children who attend a single school.
    1 copy for your family.
    Up to 500 copies installed by any child at one school. Contact us to arrange before selecting this level.

    You will be credited in the app!

    Plus our undying gratitude (Thank you!), acknowledgment of your support on your Facebook page or Twitter feed and the opportunity to follow our progress on the project.

    * The average American family has 2 children so each gift app will protect 2 children on average.

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    - Town -

    One school group license that covers your children and up to 4,000 other children*.

    One school district group license to install copies of the apps on the phones of children who attend a single school district.
    1 copy for your family.
    Up to 2000 copies installed by any child in one school district. Contact us to arrange before selecting this level.

    You will be credited in the app!

    Plus our undying gratitude (Thank you!), acknowledgment of your support on your Facebook page or Twitter feed and the opportunity to follow our progress on the project.

    * The average American family has 2 children so each gift app will protect 2 children on average.

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    - County -

    One county group license that covers your children and up to 10,000 other children*.

    One county group license to install copies of the apps on the phones of children who live in a single county.
    1 copy for your family.
    Up to 5,000 copies installed by any child in one county. Contact us to arrange before selecting this level.

    You will be credited in the app!

    Plus our undying gratitude (Thank you!), acknowledgment of your support on your Facebook page or Twitter feed and the opportunity to follow our progress on the project.

    * The average American family has 2 children so each gift app will protect 2 children on average.

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Funding period

- (30 days)