Cyber-safety co acquires phone stores to bundle offering
Child cyber-safety specialist SafeToNet has acquired 77 German mobile phone stores in a bid to pre-load or bundle its online safety software products with mobile hardware including smartphones and tablets. The stores sell network contracts from Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, and will be renamed as SafeToNet Family Stores.
SafeToNet's safeguarding technology is installed on children's smart devices and uses AI to detect and filter harmful content in real time. The technology is used by parents and children in over 110 countries globally, but this move marks a first in terms of bundled inclusion with device sales, irrespective of the hardware manufacturer.
Richard Pursey, Executive Chairman of SafeToNet, said: "This is a critical development in tackling online harms such as bullying, abuse, aggression and sextortion. We are bringing cyber safety to the high street and helping parents to safeguard their children when buying a phone or tablet. The SafeToNet Family Stores will employ cyber-safety experts who will guide and advise parents and children on how to keep safe online.
"This marks a pivotal moment in online safety. We have been frustrated with the social networks and messaging apps who have failed to keep children safe on their platforms. We are also disappointed with the handset manufacturers who should not make a phone for children that does not have safety features as standard. As a result, we decided to own our own mobile phone company and engage more closely with the telcos so that we can make a positive change for children online. Parents can now buy a smart device for their child that will automatically be safe out of the box."
Georg Schmitz-Axe, Head of Partners at Deutsche Telekom, said: "The SafeToNet Family Stores are an excellent and promising asset to our retail presence in Germany. We fully support SafeToNet's mission to safeguard children and look forward to collaborating on this project for years to come."
Gottfried Werner, CEO SafeToNet EMEA, said: "This acquisition increases the awareness of online harms across Germany. The Family Stores will sell a wide range of products suitable for children, including SafeToPlay, a product that allows young children to safely play online. Too many children are harmed online and this initiative will make a positive difference to so many."
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