Sheffield inventors' device helps baffled parents limit children's internet use
A Sheffield inventor whose child was the victim of cyber-bullying has launched a gadget that lets parents limit internet time '˜on any network, on any device anywhere'.
Paul Hague is selling the patented ‘Haandle’ two-and-a-half years after spiralling internet use, and nasty, anonymous posts on a popular message board, had a huge impact on one of his children.
He vowed then to do something about it - and today is one of the very few people who has turned a complaint into a product.
The Haandle plugs into a router and allows parents to limit and schedule internet use on any wifi device at home.
It also controls internet access on smartphones outside the home, although kids can still text and make calls.
Paul raised an impressive £175,000 by ‘crowd funding’ where members of the public invest small sums for a stake in the firm.
Today it is on sale on Amazon for £89.99 - some 350 have sold in six weeks - and he is in talks with firms including Maplin, EE and ‘a very large US search engine company’.
He said: “When we realised my child was withdrawn because of bullying online I felt responsible.
“Then I realised the tech industry was providing me with no way to manage this kind of thing - it’s not in their interests to have the internet turned off.
“Parents are struggling with this and I’m proud of being able to make a good situation out of a bad one. It is really early days, but if we get this right, it could be an international business.”
Paul, who has a 30-years’ experience in the tech industry, is in business with co-founder Simon Coates and chief technology officer Paul Jenkins.
They produced a prototype after winning a £25,000 grant from Derbyshire County Council.
Crowdfunding in August 2015 led to industrial design, hardware, software, packaging and a patent.
Paul added: “Just two per cent of patents become products. But with passion you can do it.”