Austin’s Famigo Helps Parents Police Kids’ Internet, App Browsing

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tries to download his favorite five versions of Minecraft onto my phone.)

Another advantage to Famigo’s system, says Beck, is that the software can also offer kid-friendly app suggestions that change as the child gets older, Beck added.

Famigo offers monthly subscriptions, from basic coverage for 99 cents to more comprehensive coverage for $4.99. The company started offering subscriptions this past October. Brennan declined to say how many customers or subscriptions the startup has.

Steve Jobs’ children may have found their screen time restricted, for many other American kids, smartphones and tablets are a regularly used tool. And the addiction starts young. More than a third of children under the age of 2 use mobile media, according to a study released last year by Common Sense Media.

That’s led to a growing niche for software companies aiming to help parents create an electronic fence around their children’s Web browsing and app downloading. San Diego-based KidZui launched a kid-friendly Internet browser in 2008 and a “Google for kids” search engine three years later. (The company was bought last month by Leap Frog, a children’s learning and entertainment company.)

Other companies in this space include Chicago-based Appolicious, which helps parents browse subject-specific app directories, say, those related to educational themes. And Kindle Fire has developed FreeTime, software that restricts content on its device.

Famigo, which launched in 2009, was part of Capital Factory’s Accelerator program and participated in a demo day at South By Southwest last year. The startup has raised $1.2 million from investors such as Silverton Partners, Zilker Ventures, and Liahona Ventures, Beck says.

In addition to vetting the app store, Beck says Famigo also “cleans up” the selection of videos available on sites like Youtube. “Sometimes it’s the comments that are the most inappropriate,” he says. “It could be about Big Bird but the comments … it’ll make you blush.”

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