Mobile Applications

Indonesia: Prohibition app for young video game junkies

“If I wasn’t playing the game for an hour I felt sick,” says Muhamad Nur Awaludin, CEO of Kakatu, a new Indonesian app which allows parents to place limits on their kids’ video game use.

Kataku has been in development since June last year and stems from Awaludin’s own youthful addiction to gaming. This was so severe, he explains, he would often forget to eat or bathe and gradually lost his connection between the real and virtual world. Most importantly though, he describes how it ruined his relationship with his family especially his parents.

The solution is to provide parents with a timer which limits the amount of gameplay available to their child. Once the time is up, the child receives a personal video message from the parent reminding them why the lock-down is in place.

This is a good idea but has its flaws and Awaludin certainly does not explain how the app stops tech-savvy children from getting round the security. However, he does concede when he was a kid his parents used to hide his PlayStation over the weekend which did not work because most of the time he found it.

“And even if I didn’t find it,” he continue “I’d [find a way] to play in another place, no matter where it was.”

The apps also offers various other content and advice for parents which Awaludin regards to be critically important. “Parents have to realise that if they want to take away a gadget from their kids, they have to make more quality time with them,” he says. “Many parents simply prohibit without giving a reason.”

“When I started developing this product, I found the core problem was not how to take away the gadget from the kid, but how to make a kid understand why they can’t play all the day.” With this in mind the company plans to produce more content on how to educate kids too. “It will be a surprise in a couple of months,” he says, reluctant to supply any further details.

The app has been angel funded by Telkom Indonesia and is already preloaded on over 70,000 new Samsung tablet devices, says Awaludin. It is set to be included on a million devices though 2016.

Although the app has noble aims it is far from unique. There are numerous parental control apps available, Phone Sherrif is a much more expensive version, while TimeAway is a similar free app, created in Singapore. However, none of these cater specifically for the Indonesian market.

Awaludin believes that in Indonesia the main draw will be the low price - the basic app is free, but additional features can be purchased for $6 per year. He also has plans to target the Philippines, Japan and Singapore once he has cracked Indonesia.

Expansion aside, in the short term the team plans to develop into other platforms like PCs and wearable devices. While Awaludin concludes: the bigger longer term aim is to “connect any family brands, manufactures, users, schools, developers, psychologists, communities, and also designers” to spread the message.


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