“To catch a predator” was a famous American reality show series which was aired from November 2004 till December 2007. The show featured hidden camera investigations in order to detain adults who tend to contact teenagers over internet, for sexual communications. Organizers of the show pretend like under age youth and tempt the people who contact them, to meet a decoy.
Now, International Business Machines corporation (IBM) has patented (US 8099668) a technology called “Predator and abuse identification and prevention in a virtual environment” that would perform similar operations automatically to protect users, especially child users from inappropriate interactions within an immersive virtual environment. When a child is a part of these types of interactions, the child undergoes stressful situations.
The proposed system continuously monitors the child’s stress levels and identifies characteristics of the interaction. The system may also receive and process software commands given by the child to show discomfort in any particular situation, so as to identify level of stress in the child. The system is also capable of detecting abusive and offensive actions directed at the child’s avatar. The system comprises a video/still image camera for analyzing facial gestures of the child, audio capturing device and audio processor for analyzing the child’s voice, sensors for measuring the child’s heart and breath rates and so on for continuously monitoring the child’s stress levels. Further, upon detection of any attack, the system may perform actions such as notifying parents of the child, terminating the interaction, notifying authorities of the behavior of the other user and so on.
Though hot debates are still on regarding internet content censorship in India, no sustained government policies and strategies are implemented yet to protect internet users, especially children from any adverse impact of internet. Assuming this debate will go on without any action like any other government venture, let us rely on these inventions and inventors to protect ourselves from being exploited by negative side of the internet.