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Famed cattleprod-launcher firm Taser International has diversified out of its core business in electric stun weapons. The firm has announced that it will soon release a "family safety platform" allowing parents to monitor their children's mobile phone use, location and driving.

The parental spy/control tech is called "Protector™". It made its public debut last week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, but Taser hasn't yet given a firm date for actual availability.

Protector is intended to present a worried/obsessive parent with a "control panel" accessible via smartphone, computer or other netted-up device. The location of a child's phone can be viewed, and the calls, texts or other communications it can send or receive can be controlled.

Parents can choose to allow a call or message through, block it, answer a call themselves - perhaps passing the caller on to the child subsequently - or listen in. Rules such as "alert me when a new person contacts my child" or "always allow this person to contact my child without notifying me" can be set up. A phone can be silenced altogether during meal times, exams or other occasions as deemed appropriate by a grumpy mum or dad.

The location feature can also be used to monitor a teenager's driving habits, and in particular to prevent such risky activities as texting while driving. A kid's phone can be deactivated or set to allow calls in handsfree mode only when in the child's or the family's car, using a bluetooth gizmo in the car to recognise the situation.

"Many kids spend more time with their mobile phone than their families, and most parents have been helpless, in the dark as to who their kids are interacting with and what kind of content their kids are exposed to every day," says Taser CEO Rick Smith.

"PROTECTOR empowers parents," he adds.

Though some of its features are already available in different products, Smith argues that Taser is the first to bring it all together in one product which can be used across platforms and service providers. The company intends to offer the kit as a subscription service costing as much as $30 monthly, or less if fewer features are selected.

There's a corporate website here, complete with pictures of scary, copiously-tattooed and -pierced deviants of the type your kids are likely to end up exchanging nude pictures with unless their parents buy Protector™ as soon as it comes out. ®

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