New businesses and entrepreneurial innovations generally spring from public needs. Currently, one need that’s getting quite a bit of attention is kids’ digital safety.
The topic of keeping young people safe online has been around since the dawn of the Internet, to be sure. However, it’s become top of mind for many parents after concerns about Facebook-owned Instagram came to light in 2021. According to Facebook’s own findings, increased Instagram use seemed to correlate with lowered confidence in teen girls.
In response to this news, many companies and entrepreneurs saw an opportunity: Make something that closes online security gaps for the kid market. Without a doubt, moms and dads are eager to find workarounds that let Generation Z and Alpha children get online experience without exposing them to online dangers.
If you want to join the ranks of creators working to solve this problem, you can find inspiration in existing organizations. Below are some leaders in the growing marketplace of digital protection for the under-18 crowd.
1. Gabb Wireless
Even before the pandemic, Pew Research showed that four-fifths of parents said their elementary-aged kids used computers or tablets. With many schools moving to more remote or hybrid learning models, screen time has only increased. So has the need for parents to stay in touch with their kids and keep up with changing schedules.
Here’s the issue, though: Parents may be reluctant to hand children a full-fledged smartphone. Gabb Wireless ensures they don’t have to. As noted by tech author Brad Anderson, Gabb Wireless sells thoughtfully engineered kids’ phones that allow texting, calls, photography, and a few other extras. But they’re not connected to the Internet, the App Store, or social media… and they can’t be “gamed” to have those capabilities.
What can you learn from Gabb Wireless’ several-year journey to bring kids a safer personal phone experience? Don’t be afraid to challenge accepted practices. Gabb Wireless used ingenious thinking to give parents a digital option for children that merged security and convenience.
You might be surprised to see Microsoft, a software giant, on this list. It makes sense, though. Microsoft products are used by kids and adults around the world. So why wouldn’t the company want to dabble in online safety?
Microsoft’s key entry into this roundup of kids’ digital protection tools involves their Microsoft Edge browser. Specifically, it’s their Edge Kids Mode. The browser is free to install and features familiar Disney characters that appeal to the youngest users. As explained in an extensive review on Tom’s Guide, it’s simple to set up and navigate. Though a tech-savvy kid might decide to leave the browser, navigation within it involves tight parameters.
Will other browsers follow in Microsoft Edge’s footsteps? Perhaps. Regardless, Microsoft will always have the street cred of being first to market with something different. And that’s one way to add value to your brand even if you create a kids’ digital protection product that you decide to give away.
For generations, kids had the sneaking suspicion their parents had eyes in the back of their heads. How else could they know about everything the kids’ did… and sometimes stop trouble before it began?
Unfortunately, monitoring kids’ online behavior is a lot harder for parents, particularly working moms and dads. Even those with access to their preteens’ and teens’ social media accounts don’t have time to look through every DM. And scrolling through texts to figure out every acronym? That’s downright tough.
This is where Bark fits into the picture. It’s a digital monitoring app that seems to have gotten some very parent-approved upgrades recently per WizCase. Leveraging AI, Bark identifies potentially unsafe messaging and content. Then, it texts or emails the suspicious items to a parent. It’s an excellent example of a kid-focused safety innovation that makes life simpler for time-constrained parents.
4. PBS Kids
It’s hard to find a child who hasn’t watched at least one PBS program. From Sesame Street to Clifford the Big Red Dog, PBS kids’ shows tend to have an education-based, fun tone. So is it any surprise that PBS’s site offers safe online games for young children?
Gaming is a huge revenue producer and gets bigger all the time. Most games simply aren’t appropriate for children and preteens, though. That’s where the lineup of PBS Kids Games comes into the picture. The games available on PBS’s site are geared to disguise learning in an exciting way. This enables little ones to get a taste of video games while boosting their brain power, too.
In terms of pure safety, parents will probably want to set up safe browsing so their kids can’t accidentally (or deliberately) leave PBS to explore the Internet. Nevertheless, PBS’s games help moms and dads feel less guilty about allowing their children to engage in digital play. And if you can take away some of the stress of modern parenting with a secure invention that kids love, you’ll probably get some early adopters.
Every generation seems to be gravitating toward technology at earlier ages. And that means a never-ending cadre of parents worried about digital protection for their kids. It also means an opening for you to make a splash with products that allow curious children to get cyberspace experiences that don’t put them at risk.
Image credit: Marta Wave; Pexels; Thanks!