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Londoners create ‘mini version of internet’ to keep children safe online




Two London parents have created a “mini version of the internet” aimed at keeping children safe online.

Entrepreneurs Estelle and Douglas Lloyd, from Highbury, came up with the idea after their seven-year-old daughter Chloe Googled “three kittens” and found unsuitable content.

The couple, who have two other daughters Philomene, nine, and Melusine, two, developed Azoomee, a tablet app for primary-age children which is backed by the NSPCC.

Content, on iOS and Android, includes videos, games such as Angry Birds, audio books and a digital arts and crafts studio. It is managed by a team who include a primary school teacher.

Cartoons teach being a good digital citizen, internet etiquette and how to create and remember strong passwords, plus what happens when you post a photograph online.

Access costs £4.99 a month and there is a free version with fewer features.

A chat function requires the parents of both children to confirm their identities and agree to them speaking.

Mrs Lloyd, 43, said that when their daughters started using the internet they “ended up in places where really children have no place to be.

“We’re not talking really scary things, but certain types of news, for example when there were people being beheaded, we thought our children were only two clicks away from ending up on a video discussing that.

“My daughter was looking for the Three Kittens song, if you type that into Google you’ll be surprised at what comes up.”

A Google News search for “three kittens” brings up stories about cats dying or being abandoned.

Mr Lloyd, 42, said a key principle of  Azoomee is that “when children are on it, they can’t be identified so we abide by the most stringent data rules about what we collect”.

He added: “It’s like a walkie-talkie — they can talk to each other but no one else. There are no group forums because we want to avoid the possibility of cyber-bullying.”


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