Kids/Babies
Torch router sheds a light on how kids use the Web, can make access flame out

Every day it seems there’s some new service cropping up on the Internet that draws time away from something else. Monitoring the length and safety of screen time of kids online can be a constant battle.

Seeking to shed light on that situation, though, is Torch, a simple router designed to help parents monitor where kids go on the Web and how much time they spend there. Its Web management console includes sections to pause and track data usage by child and search history.

Torch also spins its tracking in a positive way; in addition to protecting against pornography and other unwanted Internet content, it can reveal interests that parents can help kids pursue. The makers of router seek $150,000 by November 19th. Units, which cost $160, are scheduled to ship by March 2016.

The idea of simplifying router management isn’t a new one, dating back at least to the failed Cisco Valet. More recently, Google has jumped into the fray with some partners to produce the OnHub router that, like the Torch, can be set up with a smartphone. Speaking of which, it’s not clear if the Torch can monitor or stop activity going over the cellular network, a more likely scenario with pre-teens. It’s also unclear how much granularity Torch affords parents beyond outright blocking certain sites. Still, particularly for younger children who may be using the Web unsupervised, Torch can provide some assistance.

Arthur Tufeau is a contributor to Backerjack.