KoalaSafe is a simple tool to make your kids healthier internet users
KoalaSafe is a simple, Australia-designed device built to help parents monitor their children's online activity. Co-founder Steven Pack had the idea for KoalaSafe when his niece and nephew receive their first tablet and first laptop. After discovering Minecraft, Zac, Pack's nephew, slowly began spending much more time indoors.
"It wasn't sudden, but Zac especially spent more and more time on the computer," said Pack. "Getting him off to play outside, or to get him off in the evening to start winding down before bed, got harder and harder and was a constant source of arguments at home."
Pack's solution, KoalaSafe, plugs into any modem or router and creates a second, separate wireless network that parents can control and monitor. Once a child's device is connected to KoalaSafe's network, parents are able to see how their children are spending their time online as well as block access certain to certain websites or apps. In addition, KoalaSafe also lets users create schedules during which their children are able to use the internet. For example, a child may only be able to use the internet between 4pm and 8pm on a Tuesday, but might have access to it between 2pm and 9pm on a Saturday. Blocking and scheduling is done on a per device basis.
At present, KoalaSafe is only able to block access to the online components of apps and games. Devices have to be connected to KoalaSafe's network for its functionality to take effect; this means that children on cellular networks would not be subject to filtering or blocks.
A KoalaSafe app is available for iOS, and a web interface is available that works across Android, Windows Phone, Windows and Mac. Pack said the company will to make a native Android app in the future. Parents are also able to download an optional "client" KoalaSafe app onto their children's devices that provides notifications warning them when their internet access will be cut off.
KoalaSafe is being funded through Kickstarter, but the company is also investigating telcos as a potential point of distribution. Customers can "purchase" a KoalaSafe through the Kickstarter campaign from AUD$70. The company is hoping to raise AUD$98,000.