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Kiwi product immobilises phone monsters

Kiwi product immobilises phone monsters

A New Zealand couple goes global today with a product to monitor children’s cellphones and prevent phone bullying, sexting and grooming.

Sally Rae and Steve Herstell created after deciding to give Sally’s two daughters cellphones so they could contact them if plans changed. They were worried, like many other parents, the girls would be exposed to a variety of cyberspace bad behaviour.
“We had heard the horror stories about children affected by bullying and so we got to thinking,” says Ms Rae. “Steve put his communications and internet background together with my concerned mum and businesswoman’s mind and is the result. We are now one step closer to preventing tragedy and the long-term effects on our children of these problems.”

MyFone lets parents see via a protected website all the numbers called and answered on their children’s phones and the content of all outgoing and incoming texts. It also lets them know where their child/children have been or where they are now.

“We know this is going to be controversial because of the whole civil rights issue but what’s more important – our children’s civil rights or their safety and protection?” asks Ms Rae. “To me that’s a no-brainer and if you sit and talk to your kids about why you are doing this there shouldn’t be a problem. There wasn’t with our girls.

“MyFone gives busy and concerned parents the tool to make mobile communication with their children safe and secure and by parents working with their children we can help create a generation savvy and appropriate in its use of technology.”

The service and site is also designed to educate parents and their children about appropriate phone use and gives valuable tips to parents and guardians.

School principals around the country have welcomed the ground-breaking new product as has NetSafe.

Principal of Auckland’s largest secondary school, Rangitoto College, Dave Hodge says MyFone will reduce phone bullying, save hours of school time and help parents take a share of the responsibility.

“Schools want this service available for their students immediately,” says Ms Rae. “It really is going to make a difference in the world.”


Background Information and Editor’s Note’s founders are Sally Rae and Steve Herstell.

Sally is a senior lecturer at Auckland University of Technology and has daughters aged eight and 10. Born and educated on Auckland’s North Shore Sally went to Massey University to study industrial science, horticulture and marketing. Sally lectures in marketing, management and finance and co-operative education. She is currently considering doing her PhD in the area of self-esteem and cellphone usage.

Steve also has two daughters and recently left Telecom to manage the MyFone business. He spent 10 years in the British Army in signals and communication and has a degree in electrical communications. Steve was the founder of the successful service during the dot com boom and sparesfinder is one of the few dot com companies that still exist.


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