August 11, 2015
What is Rated 4 Kids?
Rated 4 Kids is a much-needed solution to a complex problem: our children are not safe when they go online. Today, there’s just no practical way for parents to filter Internet content, protect their kids from online predators or effectively monitor their children’s online use. Hardware alone can’t do it. Software alone can’t do it. Algorithms and apps can’t do it. What we need is a way for parents to come together, using a cloud-based system that is integrated with hardware and software, to create a safer Internet for our children.
Why do I need it?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you worry about your child innocently finding pornography online?
- Are you concerned with the content and ease of access to online videos, 99% of which are unrated?
- Do your kids have multiple devices that access the Internet (PCs, laptops, Mac, iPod, iPad, Kindle, XBOX, Wii, PlayStation, Roku, Apple TV, etc.)?
- Would you like to block access to certain applications or websites, or certain “Channels” on YouTube?
- Would you like to know how much time your children spend online, and what they see there?
- Would you like to set up an “online curfew” for your kids, so the Internet is turned off automatically for them every night, or during certain times of day (i.e. certain apps or devices are unavailable during homework time)?
- Would you like the option to get reports/alerts when your children may have been exposed to questionable content?
- Are you concerned about violent video games, especially online interactions with other players?
- Do you worry about cyber-bullying, sexting or online stalkers (adults pretending to be kids)?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then Rated 4 Kids is the solution.
How does Rated 4 Kids work?
Rated 4 Kids is like plugging a conscience, with a “consciousness,” into your home’s Internet connection. Once you set it up, our device knows who is accessing what, so it can filter content that’s not age-appropriate for your children. The software lets you flag objectionable or mature content whenever you see it, and once our community has rated content, it’s automatically filtered for all parents using the system. The software lives in the “cloud,” so it’s always on, protecting your kids. The more people are using the system, the smarter it gets. And we’re using crowd-sourced human intelligence and judgment – not computer AI that can’t tell the difference between skin-care and skin-flick.
This problem isn’t new. Isn’t there an “app” for that?
You’re right, it’s not a new problem. But the problem has grown far beyond apps. Currently, there are more than 2 dozen versions of mobile operating systems. There are 500 new websites published and 300 new hours of video added to YouTube every minute. No existing system has been able to keep up with all of that. In addition, consider your desktops, laptops, and all the Internet-connected TVs, Blu-Ray players, video game systems, and other devices that allow users to watch Netflix, YouTube or hundreds of other online channels. In 2008, there were already more devices connected to the Internet than people. By 2020, the amount of Internet-connected devices will reach 50 billion. That’s more than 7 devices for every person on the planet. Fortunately, the gateway to the Internet for all these devices is your home’s router. Now your router will have your values.
Why not just build a new router then?
We want to create the easiest, most effective way to protect kids online. Routers do a lot of things and are very complex systems in and of themselves. We don’t plan to build routers. In the future, we plan that our system be integrated into an existing router(s).
Aren’t you trying to censor the Internet?
No. YOU are the only one who controls the content that enters your home. The Internet will continue to be the free marketplace of ideas it always has been. Rated 4 Kids simply creates the opportunity for parents to exercise the power of choice. If you have cable TV, you know that you can filter or “hide” channels so that your kids don’t have access to pay-per-view or X-rated movies. Really that’s all we are doing: helping parents decide what their kids do and don’t have access to online.
Does Rated 4 Kids work on phones?
Yes, Rated 4 Kids works on any device that connects to your home’s Wi-Fi. However, if your phone is connecting online through its data plan (4G, LTE, etc.), Rated 4 Kids will not be filtering content. Because our system is cloud-based, it could be added to (for example) Verizon’s or AT&T’s network, and we are already working toward partnering with telecommunications providers worldwide to provide this service.
What size of subscriber base will you need for Rated 4 Kids to work well?
The system is designed to act in two ways: first, if an image, video or web page has not been rated, the system will filter it based on our pre-loaded filters and your content settings (to allow/disallow unrated content). Second, the system will filter content based on user ratings (from 1 to 1 million). The more people we have rating websites, the smarter the system will be.
How will you get those numbers before you launch the service?
We will implement a variety of marketing approaches that grow the subscriber base in a very short time. Part of our campaign will be to reach out to community influencers (educators, church leaders, politicians) who are excited about this cause and will help spread the word.
As a subscriber, what will I need to do to help make the Rated 4 Kids filter effective for my family and the larger community?
You can help as much or as little as your time and interest permit. As you are online, you will naturally find videos, images and websites that offend your sensibilities, or those that may be fine for some adults but not for children. You can use our simple point-and-click program for the rating process; it takes seconds. Rated 4 Kids will also have a forum where you can post information about any topic related to objectionable websites, our process, the Rated 4 Kids mission, your concerns, etc.
Will my ratings, comments, and I be identifiable to the greater rating community and to viewers outside the community?
No. Your identity will not be posted or shared with the community unless you share it. You will create your own personal login and password. All rating information will be segregated from the user information in the system to ensure the highest possible privacy and anonymity. This includes aggregating and anonymizing data needed for customer service and communications purposes.