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'.

Thursday, 26th October 2017, 16:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 07:28 am
Paul Hague chief executive of Haandle

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.

Paul Hague with the Haandle device

The Haandle plugs into a router and allows parents to limit and schedule internet use on any wifi device at home.

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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’.

Paul Hague with the Haandle device

He said: “When we realised my child was withdrawn because of bullying online I felt responsible.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.”

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