How These Entrepreneurs Are Ensuring Child Safety Through Tech Innovations The recent spate of reports about children being attacked on the school premises have resulted in renewed fear

By Baishali Mukherjee

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According to the latest government figures, a child in India is sexually abused every 15 minutes. The National Crime Records Bureau report, released on December 2017, indicated steady rise in occurrence of crimes against children in our country. According to a 2016 report released by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh, 106,958 cases of crimes against children were recorded in the year, 36,022 of which were recorded under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. If BBC's Geeta Pandey's statements is true then India is home to the largest number of sexually abused children in the world, but there being a general reluctance to talk about the topic, the real number of cases could be even higher.

The recent Kathua and Unnao cases are further testimonies of how unsafe our children are. While candle-light marches are held across the country protesting against the violence on the twin victims, we continue to remain in quandary about child safety.

Naresh Babu Challagulla, founder, StudyMonitor, a robust school management system, is ensuring safety to school children by delivering services like school bus tracking, route deviation alert, SMS on pick up and drop, driver attendant verification details, etc. According to Challagulla, the recent spate of reports about children being attacked on the school premises or on school buses, have resulted in renewed fear and apprehension amongst parents and schools about child protection.

Study Monitor is specially engineered with an objective to enable academic institutions optimally a digital medium in accomplishing their objectives. With the perfect fusion of the adept team of experienced professionals and avant-grade technologies, it offers a comprehensive application that streamlines the end-to- end processes involved in operating the educational institutes. The platform uses all the latest technologies available in market including CCTV, RFID, GPS and others.

Challagulla thought about Study Monitor in 2015, when child abuse was a biggest challenge in India. "To address the challenge, I thought of a solution where child security and child monitoring at school can be addressed. While doing it, I also thought about how to improve the education and communication standards using the digital technologies," he shared.

Currently he has signed up with about 225 Schools and 45K students in all over South India including states like Karnataka, Telangana, AP, Tamil Nadu. "School need to engage with Study monitor, and we will enable all the required hardware in school premises as well as school vehicles. Then Parents will be provided access," maintained Challagulla who has 18 years of experience in IT industry and has worked as Program Manager for Tech Mahindra.

A visionary that Challagulla is, he is now planning to reach out the rural-education scene with his tech acumen. "Our Future Plans to improve School Education and we are working on connecting schools in rural villages with the schools in Cities through Virtual Class rooms and much more," he shared.

Monitoring Round The Clock

In 2014 California based entrepreneur duo Animikh Sen and Adris Chakraborty launched ParentsConcern, an integrated web platform and iOS and Andriod App that allowed parents to keep track of all their kids academic and non-academic activities.

"At ParentsConcern, we offer, itsmychild, a comprehensive online application that assists parents in playing a better role in child's development while providing means to ensure his/her safety," shared Chakraborty.

The app immediately sends alert via Push-notification, SMS and Email, to six pre-fixed contacts from your child's cell phone in case of emergency. "This helps you know where the kid is and allows connection without delay. It also locates children with a click and sends ping to inform that you are thinking about them. You can also search a doctor in case emergencies, set usage limits, times and categories on your child's phone, and get alerts when rules are broken. The app even encourages safe online behaviour for your kid, by notifying you on indentifying access/usage of age inappropriate keywords," he explained.

Ensuring Child Safety By Selecting Right Schools

Finding an ideal school is another stressful affair for parents. Would the pre-school be safe enough for my toddler, is the question that haunts the parents most. Building on this apprehension coupled with her own struggle while admitting kids, Pooja Kedia, a working mother, launched SchoolWiser in Gurgaon, as a platform where parents discover great schools. The platform has now spread wings across many other cities including Pune, Kolkata and Delhi NCR and has more than 2000 schools listed.

"SchoolWiser handholds parents across their entire school selection journey, starting from discovering schools to short-listing and to further connecting parents and schools," informed Kedia. The platform is refreshing in its ideology and paves its way at assisting parents know more about schools where a child's future is sculpted and safety is ensured.

"Selecting a school is an ordeal for working parents, and SchoolWiser makes it a process that is much eased out and helpful," she added.

Kedia started her child's school hunt while she was not in the country. Soon she discovered that for parents like her who were not residing in the city there seemed to be no sane way to go about looking for a school.

"In today's internet age who has the time to physically visit every school to collect information - this thought haunted me and I decided to do something about it. SchoolWiser initially was a by-product of my own research for schools for my kid which now has information of more than 300 schools in Gurgaon alone," she concluded.

Baishali Mukherjee

Former Freelancer

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