In the UK over the last seven years, we’ve had three Prime Ministers, a Brexit referendum, and like the rest of the world, we are now wrestling with the consequences of COVID. Yet throughout all of this change, some of it seemingly upheaving the roots of our society, one constant has remained: that of online child safety, the need for which seems to be becoming ever more urgent.
In 2013, the then UK Prime Minister David Cameron committed the UK Government to making the UK the safest place for children in particular to be online. His successor Theresa May published the “Online Harms White paper” and under today’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, we will soon have sight of at least the first draft of the much anticipated Online Harms Legislation.
Indeed it is the anticipation of this legislation that led us to the merger with Net Nanny. Net Nanny is the oldest and perhaps most easily recognised parental controls company in the safety tech industry. Headquartered in Philadelphia and with satellite offices in Salt Lake City, Net Nanny is a major provider in the United States and around the world with active customers in over 30 countries. It has a strong if not leading market position in the U.S, Canada, Japan and Australia. Net Nanny has become universally associated with online child safety.
By merging our two companies and most importantly our technical capabilities, the Directors of both companies firmly believe the newly combined child online safety product portfolio will be unique in the industry and will significantly change the SafetyTech landscape. Crucially it will improve the safety of children online by giving us a deep AI-feature set unrivalled anywhere in the world.
The UK Government’s impending enactment of the Online Harms White Paper will create a regulatory framework for online safety and will make clear social media companies’ responsibilities to keep UK users, and particularly children, safer online. This acquisition gives SafeToNet an industry-leading product portfolio that social networking companies, messaging apps and chat rooms can deploy to ensure their compliance with any new Online laws, or frameworks for compliance with existing laws, that may be proposed.
The merger also provides a wider range of safeguarding technologies across iOS a Android smartphones and tablets, as well as Windows and MacOS laptops and desktops and Kindle-based products. This means that online child safety will be improved across the range of anticipated areas defined in the Online Harms legislation, across an increasingly wide range of devices, in innovative new ways.
Net Nanny’s highly regarded and capable device management features will connect into SafeToNet’s safety indicator software and provide parents with the tools to block an app or phone based upon the online risk levels of their child. The new combined product platform will provide children with further mindfulness and wellbeing advice if they search web sites for issues such as self-harm, low self-esteem, loneliness and sadness. We will also be able to improve the appropriateness of the advice and guidance we give by detecting other issues such as eating disorders and body image issues which seem to be fuelled by many social media apps.
And perhaps most revolutionary, this will accelerate the development of SafeToWatch, our recently announced real time video threat detector, by at least 9 months, allowing us to proactively and in real time disable or block a camera from taking intimate images of children, an activity which the Internet Watch Foundation tells us is increasingly prevalent and dangerous. SafeToWatch was recently featured in this BBC Click episode
In summary, we cannot over-state the significance of this acquisition. Net Nanny is without a doubt the most established provider of screen time management, device control and web filtering software in the world. The merging of our two companies creates a power-house in the Safety Tech market and on a truly international scale. We believe it will prove to be a pivotal moment in our company’s history and moreover in online child safety.