L1ght: Protecting children from online darkness

L1ght is an anti-toxicity start-up that declares child safety its first priority.

L1ght: Protecting children from online darkness (photo credit: Courtesy)
L1ght: Protecting children from online darkness
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Can you imagine living in 2019 without Internet access? Probably not. Well, neither can your kids, only they depend on the worldwide web for quite literally everything, including things like socializing, which you and I might still do in an offline setting.
Kids, like it or not, live in a totally online world. They eat, drink and breathe while using Instagram, playing Fortnite, chatting on WhatsApp and building a new world in Minecraft.
The Internet, social networks, and messaging platforms arose with the promise of more meaningful interactions between people worldwide with greater ease and accessibility.
However, there is just so much to the online experience that adds concern, especially for parents and guardians who seek to shield their children from online toxicity, which in recent years has become widespread at an alarming rate.
These forms of toxicity include cyberbullying, hate speech, relentless criticism, false rumors, inappropriate content, racism, sexism and sexual predators.
Online toxicity is also found within chats and online forums, particularly within the gaming community and public groups on messaging services.
I don’t know about you but I have heard one too many suicide stories that happened because of online abuse. How is this even a thing?
Online toxicity has low barriers to entry, a high anonymity level, and zero costs for those with the worst of intentions.
The numbers are unbelievable. The average online child “attacker” can have 400 victims in his lifetime. Some 40% of US kids surveyed have been bullied online, and some popular games see as high as 80% of gamers being exposed to toxicity.
This is where L1ght comes in, using the power of artificial intelligence to help shield children from online toxicity before it starts. As far as the uses of AI, this is about as important of a cause as I’ve ever seen.
L1ght is an anti-toxicity start-up that declares child safety its first priority.
It leverages intelligence (big data, deep learning) and human knowledge in order to analyze and predict online toxicity in near real-time accuracy.
It analyzes texts, images, video, voice and sound to protect children from potentially harmful incidents. Its data-science based technology goes as far as delving into, and making sense of the context of conversations to help alert anything questionable to moderators, no matter how the terminology may be disguised, or how long the conversation has been going. L1ght defines the “Anti-Toxicity” category, and works to serve as the standard of child safety in the new digital world.
SO HOW does it actually work?
Their primary product plugs in the back end of mainstream apps and games, working directly with those platforms in order to serve the user base and help prevent harmful incidents at scale. Another product of theirs works with hosting providers that host millions of websites, in order to help them take control and be in the know of toxicity spread across their sites.
CEO Zohar Levkovitz and CTO Ron Porat have joined forces and founded L1ght in an effort to create a reality in which harmful people are forced to consider the consequences, realizing toxicity has a cost.
Zohar, a personal friend, is a well-known figure in the start-up scene for selling Amobee for over 350M$, investing in hundreds of start-ups, contributing to good causes and currently starring in the Israeli edition of Shark Tank along with some other very big names in the space.
They found the need for their product to do more than simply act as a parental control. It is an application programming interface, or API, that can directly handle trillions of signals in nanoseconds.
After intense research, they assembled a team that consists of world-class data scientists, PhDs, cybersecurity experts, psychologists and anthropologists, and have secured a double-digit million dollars in financing from leading investors such as Mangrove VC. Mangrove is the investor behind amazing companies like Skype, Walkme, prooV and many others.
The L1ght team consists of 30 employees based in their Tel-Aviv headquarters, and is currently expanding to hire more data, R&D and business employees.
Their management also consists of CMO Yoav Vilner, a marketing pioneer in the start-up scene, and COO Hemi Pecker, previously head of the cyber unit in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Founded just last year, their technology made headlines for removing over 130,000 pedophiles from public groups on WhatsApp, and for getting Google and Facebook to purge applications that were monetizing links to questionable WhatsApp groups.
They later got Microsoft Bing to remove underage porn from its search results.
Unlike most start-ups that focus primarily on costs and return on investment, L1ght detects potential dangers at any cost, and scales to the size of the problem because that’s the only way to defeat the problem. It acts as a PG scale protector for child safety.
This company may be in the beginning of its journey, but given the founders and their previous track record, the investors backing this company, and the fundamental philosophy of how they are attacking this global problem, I am optimistic that if anyone can solve this huge problem, L1ght can.
Given all the obvious benefits of the Internet and all the technology it brought to life, the importance of such a solution cannot be overemphasized. Kids should be able to access these platforms without experiencing toxicity, and parents should be able to feel confident that their children are in a safe online environment the same way they watch over them in the real offline world.
This team has a long and challenging road ahead but I wish them luck, not only for them, but for us all.