CRIME

Utah company uses AI to catch online predators

Jun 20, 2023, 1:17 PM | Updated: 2:14 pm

 OREM, Utah — A Utah company is using artificial intelligence to help catch online predators on gaming devices. The company is using AI to eavesdrop on online game chats to spot bullying, threats, and even strangers preying on your kids.

The games that may seem the most innocent can also attract some of the most unsavory characters.

“Don’t get me wrong, they’re actually really creative and they’re fun for the children,” Sean Bair, CEO of GameSafe said. “But unfortunately, the predators use those games to get at kids.”

Sean Bair with the GameSafe app.

Bair and others launched GameSafe a couple of months ago. It uses artificial intelligence to monitor those chats.

Bair said the company’s founder, David Everitt Jr., got the idea after one of his own kids received some inappropriate chats.

“There’s not protections. There’s no verifications of age. It’s you join, and you’re in there and you can see everything else,” Bair said.

Bair said within minutes of starting a game in Roblox he was invited into one of those rooms where the game chats and other things happening were not at all appropriate for kids.

“It is unbelievable, what is happening in these games,” Bair said.

Chat example from the game

“He partnered with me. I’ve got a background in public safety, sexual assault investigator, and so we’re able to work together to figure out how best to protect kids in these games,” Bair said.

Bair is a former police officer who is now trying to prevent crimes against children. The GameSafe app resides on PC, apple, and android devices and it’s always watching.  Parents get alerts from the AI when things look suspicious.

“It could also be hate speech. It could be self-harm, it could be drug use,” Bair said.

Notifications from GameSafe

The AI also recognizes speech patterns, when predators might be asking about where kids live or play or even asking them to move the chat to other apps, like Snapchat and Discord.

Bair said they’re constantly working to keep the AI updated.

“Because a lot of the vulgarity is not just using typical characters, it’s actually using dollar signs and emojis and other things that are problematic,” Bair said.

While this former cop would eventually like to use the AI to help law enforcement, the focus right now is on helping parents.

“I mean the whole point is to really stop it before it causes harm,” Bair said.

GameSafe costs about five dollars a month to monitor chats in Roblox and Minecraft. The company will soon add Fortnite to that list. Bair says it will be about another five dollars for that added feature.

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Utah company uses AI to catch online predators