Parents Rejoice - Waterloo Startup REFbox Creates One Step Web Blocking for All Devices in the Home

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A consortium of technology experts from different disciplines have teamed up to create a simple tool to block porn, extreme violence, and phishing sites from any device connected to your home network.

"My goal was to make this a simple, solid tool for parents, churches, libraries and anyone else who might need it." Tristan Bolton

Being computer savvy is certainly useful from a career standpoint, but there are inherent social ramifications. Ask any keyboard jockey what the usual party or family gathering consisted of, and one will usually hear that the individual ended up fixing a computer, setting up a printer, or deleting someone's browsing history as a "solid" for a friend or family member. This is such a common occurrence that a popular t-shirt featuring the motto "No I will not fix your computer" can be seen on many a chest around technology areas. Not surprisingly, these same folks are often asked by people how they can block their kids from accessing adult content online. This question has historically required an answer too complicated for the non-computer savvy to action.

For Tristan Bolton, an information technologies expert, and Rob T. Case, a digital marketing and social media expert, this question had become a pain point. There are software options of course, but most kids just delete the software from their device or find a workaround online. The other options involve technical configuration on multiple points, and are simply not an option for those who have to ask the question in the first place. Both men became fixed on the idea that there had to be an easier solution to the problem.

Finally, one evening Rob arrived at Tristan's office to check out a new tech project Tristan was working on. After observing it's functionality, Rob asked Tristan if this same technology could be used to block adult content in home networks. Tristan realized it could, and immediately began to work on this accidentally identified new project. They both agreed that if the product was going to be useful, it needed to be easy to setup, work on all devices in the home and be connected to a system that would continually update with newly identified websites or threats. Within a couple of months, the REFbox was ready to go.

The REFbox itself is a small black box that is plugged into the back of an internet router. After that, it immediately begins protecting the home network from adult content, extreme violence and phishing websites. All updates needed occur between the box and the REFbox server. The only way to get around the system is to unplug the box, at which time an email is sent to the registered box owner letting them know that the box has been disconnected.

"I realize this is going to make us very unpopular with the younger demographic;" Rob T. Case says with a smile. "But as a father who also happens to spend his working hours studying the web, I know this service is an absolute requirement."

It is likely true that the device will not be a hit with the youth it protects, but for non-tech savvy parents, having a device they can just plug in and walk away from must seem like an enormous weight off of their shoulders.

"My goal was to make this a simple, solid tool for parents, churches, libraries and anyone else who might need it," said Tristan Bolton. "The service requires no action past plugging it in, and I am confident anyone can follow those steps."

REFbox became available for purchase mid-June and according to Rob the flood of orders coming in already has the whole team a bit nervous about supply. However, they are working quickly to make sure they have enough to meet the demand.

Some customers have begun to request additional features, such as bandwidth management, so Tristan and his team have set to work on programming additional functionality which will be downloaded to the boxes when complete.

For more information, go to http://www.refbox.ca

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Tristan Bolton
REFbox
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