This Wi-Fi Solution Moderates How Kids Use the Internet
Here’s a device parents will love
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Early this December, Facebook in the U.S. rolled out a preview of Messenger Kids, a new app that allows kids to chat with friends and family, but still gives parents a certain level of control. The standalone app that can be downloaded on kids’ tablets and smartphones, but is controlled using the parents’ Facebook account.
For digital natives, the Internet can be a kind of catch-22: On one hand, they have access to unlimited information as soon as they can work a keyboard (or a touchpad), but at the same time, it opens them up to a plethora of threats, such as inappropriate content and Internet addiction.
Parent Edel Alva experienced this problem first-hand—right in his own home. While he appreciated that his kids were savvy enough to use the Internet to watch movies, play games, and interact with friends on social media, they began to skip meals and sleep very late at night just to extend their time on the web. Sometimes they also saw images not appropriate for their age.
Fearing these patterns could even lead to Internet addiction, Alva founded Wizher, a Wi-Fi access system that could help parents like him control and monitor the screen time of their children. Alva believes Wizher has a high product-market fit for parents.
“Parents are responsible for upbringing their child properly, but due to lack of knowledge about the Internet and networking, they feel helpless in terms of controlling the screening of their young ones,” he says.
Wizher gives parents a broad range of controls. Once the user’s device connects to the Wizher access device (WAD), the parent can assign it to a specific profile, which you can customize by several different parameters.
If you set sleep time between 9 pm and 6 am, the user’s device will be unable to access the Internet during those hours. The same principle applies with the time limit, which blocks the Internet during a particular day and time.
Through the manage access feature, parents can limit access to certain sites, such as Facebook or YouTube, again at certain days and times if necessary, such as only from 4 pm to 6 pm during an exam week. Parents can also reward their child with more Internet time through Wizher.
Alva shared the story of a mother whose children were getting addicted to the Internet that their grades had started to plummet at school. As a kind of clean break, the mother would turn off the Wi-Fi router. While this helped her children focus on studying, the Wi-Fi shutdown affected the mother’s own work, which necessitated an Internet connection.
“By using Wizher, she was able to stop the Internet activities of the device of her kids without affecting her work. She also provided rewards for every good things her kids did by giving extra time to use the Internet,” Alva says.
Alva is currently raising a seed round for Wizher and is seeking more strategic partners to expand toward its goal of 10,000 subscribers in the next two to three years, upon the advice of mentors from the Manila chapter of Founders Institute.
Outside of parental controls, Alva also wants to explore other promising markets and their use cases for Wizher.
“Recently we found that companies also have a requirement in controlling the screening time of their employees,” he says, pointing to instances of excessive browsing on social media or even streaming video services during office hours.