A Site to Fight Cyber Bullying Gets Funding SocialShield's platform for monitoring kids' online activity attracts $10 million in funding.
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|Lookout: Arad Rostampour, left, and Noah Kindler.|
Photo© Eva Kolenko
A disturbing event inspired Arad Rostampour and Noah Kindler to go into business. In 2009, a friend posted vacation photos on Facebook, including one of his 13-year-old daughter in a bathing suit. More than 80 strangers downloaded the photo, and many of them contacted her.
Rostampour and Kindler realized that just tracking of kids' online histories wasn't enough to keep them safe. So that year, the duo left their jobs in the tech sector (Rostampour was a technical director at HP and Kindler was a consultant at McKinsey & Co.) and launched SocialShield. The San Bruno, Calif.-based company produces a cloud-based application that monitors online activity on social media and other websites for signs of bullying, stalking and other dangers.
SocialShield doesn't prohibit users from engaging in any behavior online and doesn't restrict access to websites. Rather, it acts as watchdog, monitoring children's contacts online, comparing friends and others interacting with the child to names and photos on sexual predator databases. Parents are alerted if there is a match or if there is a contact unrelated to other connections in the child's network, which can be a sign of stalking. The application also analyzes keywords in comments and posts and notifies parents if there are references to drugs, violence and suicide and words commonly used in cyberbullying.