Experts create filter to keep online porn from kids

By Josephine Edmonds

1 comment

A free online tool developed by two Tauranga IT professionals aims to protect young children from pornography.

Aaron Sinclair, 44, and Rory Birkbeck, 34 have spent the past six months working on Safesurfer, an online setting that offers malware protection and can protect your network and children from adult content.

Mr Sinclair, who has two young children, looked on the market for a product to do this, but could not find anything simple so came up with the idea of a network device that filtered the internet and Mr Birkbeck worked with him to develop the idea into an online cloud version.

They said the main reason behind the creation was to help parents ensure their children were not exposed to online pornography.

"There are people on my street who have kids and I know that the moment they are unsecure, there is potentially a gateway for their kids to come in and access and bump into stuff accidentally.

"I just wanted something really easy, and to be able to go to people and say, put this in and it will sort it out for you" he said.

Mr Sinclair said it was not right that parents could not protect their young children from accidentally seeing pornography on the internet.

Safesurfer allowed them to have a choice, "my kids will have a choice when they're old enough".

Safesurfer was free but people could make donations to help fund the site. It had been set up as a social enterprise under a trust structure to ensure the integrity of the organisation was maintained Mr Sinclair said.

"The feedback that we're getting through the website is that there are people out there who are really struggling and what we're seeing through our website is just the tip of the iceberg" said Mr Birkbeck.

Tauranga Police Detective Sergeant Darryl Brazier, who is in charge of the Western Bay of Plenty Child Protection Team, said it all comes back to parental responsibility.

"Parents need to take responsibility and see what their children are viewing."

Mr Brazier acknowledged that sites that contain adult content are often visited by younger people, and said anything that restricted children to those kinds of sites could only be a good thing.

Mr Birkbeck and Mr Sinclair hope to see 60,000 to 80,000 users by the end of the first six months.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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