MONITORING what the children are getting up to on the internet is a nightmare for parents.

Especially if they have more than one child and the house is full of laptops, games consoles, tablets and mobile phones all capable of connecting to the net.

Now a Romsey firm, originally called Wedge-IT, has come up with a solution which will give parents peace of mind and ensure children are protected from the worst of the world wide web.

HomeHalo is new device which plugs into your home WiFi router and can be controlled using a simple smartphone App, available for iPhone and Android.

The HomeHalo, which has been two years in development, allows the parents to set different parameters of internet usage for different members of the family and control the length of time youngsters can stay on line.

It is the brainchild of father and IT expert, Chris Gray: “HomeHalo is the only product of its kind about to go on the market mixing a unique combination of technologies.

“Our research shows us that parents are extremely concerned at what their children may have access to online, but are not able to easily put satisfactory limiting measures in place to manage the issue. We have worked hard to ensure that all the technical knowhow has already been included, so parents don’t need to be tech-savvy.”

The firm, which employs a team of nine and is based on the Romsey Industrial Estate, carried out independent market research with more than 1,000 parents who have children between the ages of seven and 15 and found 83 per cent were concerned about internet safety for their children.

“The risks to children from the internet have never been more worrying. It’s all too easy for children to come across inappropriate content, become addicted: losing sleep and focus at school,” said Chris, 49.

The research also shows that only some parents employed measures to help manage internet usage: 29 per cent employed a ‘no connected devices in the bedroom approach’, 37 per cent only allowed their children to use connected devices under supervision and 11 per cent turned the router off in the evening.

“We found that mums and dads want to do their shopping, social media and gaming but because they don’t necessarily want their children on the same sites, they end-up limiting their own enjoyment of the internet,” said Chris, who said that he is amazed none of the big internet providers have come up with a similar system to his already.

HomeHalo will also protect users in the house from malicious websites, known as phishing or scamming sites, that attempt to gather personal information, and can lead to identity theft and fraud.

The system uses a database of over 500 million categorised web addresses, when a user tries to access a known fraudulent webpage, it will be blocked.

The device will be available early next year after a Kickstarter campaign to source more funding has been completed.

Mr Gray said the device, which is being manufactured in Taiwan, will cost £129 to buy outright or £35 plus a £3 per month subscription cost.

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