Technology and the internet have a dramatic impact on the world around us and how we live our lives. New devices, gadgets and apps are announced daily, aiming to make our lives easier or somehow improved. But their rapid evolution leaves us in a constant struggle to keep pace.
While we’ve evolved along with the internet, learning to navigate its complexities and find what we are looking for, it is not an easy task to stay ahead of these dynamic changes. Our children will grow up taking for granted these technologies that may seem strange or unnecessary to an older generation. They develop mastery with unimaginable speed and agility, as if these technologies are second nature.
How can parents safely guide their children in adopting web and mobile technologies with confidence when they have only a practical understanding of it themselves? How can we hold onto that innocence and simplicity of childhood when faced with the overload of content freely available online? The internet provides a wealth of information with amazing convenience, but it also introduces new threats and concerns that challenge our values and what we want for our children and for ourselves.
These are some of the many challenges faced by internet filtering company Netspark, driving their vision for how they can empower families with tools to create a safer internet experience.
“With the complexities and dynamic nature of today’s web technology and content, we took a step back and asked ourselves what was the end goal?” says Zvika Ilan, VP of Marketing and Business Development at Netspark. “It’s our core values that drive the development of our parental controls products and new technology features.”
With over 400,000 subscribers globally choosing to access the internet through Netspark’s technology, it would appear that they’re on the right track.
So, what are these core values behind Netspark’s web filtering technology and the creation of their popular parental controls app Netspark Mobile?
Netspark’s Guiding Principles/Values
1. Give our users the tools to create the internet they want to use
No two users are the same, and no two users have the same needs. So we have focused on including as much flexibility in our solutions as possible so that it can meet the needs of a user from any background and their unique objectives.
We’re not interested in pushing our own agendas or telling others what they should be doing online. We provide a series of pre-built profiles as a starting point for our users to begin creating their own internet experience. Based on their personal needs, users can then create further exceptions or create a fully custom-built profile to personalize their web experience.
2. Enable access to content, don’t just block it.
There are an endless number of products available on the market able to block access to web content and even mobile apps. Some are better than others, but at the end of the day these products aren’t really a solution. You feel their shortcomings most when trying to access web pages that have mixed content that cannot be neatly classified into one category – you will either end up blocking perfectly harmless content or leaving open elements that leave you exposed.
Achieving the right balance of protection vs exposure with these products is very difficult, and is often the reason that users abandon parental controls products.
Our ability to look at the content within the page and filter the individual elements means that we can offer continued access to the harmless content that other solutions are blocking, and just protect our users against the parts that they don’t want to see.
3. Be Seamless – focus on continuity and minimal impact to the user experience
We’re all adverse to change. It’s part of human nature. So once you start offering solutions that make a user significantly change the way they do something, you run into problems.
Our technology offers protection at the network level so we don’t have to force our users to change their behavior as a trade-off for being protected. Users can continue to choose which browsers they want to use, giving them that continuity of experience and comfort that one would expect from a premium product.
4. Stay two steps ahead of the game, so our users don’t have to
Between the new mobile devices hitting the market and the continuous cycle of operating system and app updates, there is a lot to keep track of. We stay ahead of the game on updates to privacy and security policies, changes in app behavior and operating system features to give our users the most up to date, reliable and secure experience they can achieve.
As official development partners with the top device manufacturers, including Samsung, LG and Apple, we are able to stay ahead of new updates and get advanced access to unique partner tools that allow us to secure our app and our users in the most optimized way possible.
Our users can simply enjoy their internet, worry-free.
5. Create a product that we are happy to use ourselves
It’s not just about checking off the boxes on a features list. We are always looking to see what we can do better and how we can offer more flexibility.
We have a really diverse team, so getting feedback from them about what could be done better and in general what features are useful or not useful gives us a lot of perspective and helps us understand the areas where we need to improve, and how our efforts may be received by our users.
It’s amazing the different ways something can be perceived and we are always the guinea pigs before we release a new feature to our test users to see what kind of feedback we get and to make sure that we are releasing a feature or update that we ourselves see value in.
Netspark is a leading developer of web filtering technology solutions, including parental controls apps for Android and iOS devices, Windows PCs and network-side enterprise and carrier grade filtering solutions.
For more information on NetSpark visit their website.