byline: Scott Blickfeldt
Some families in and out of the BYU and LDS communities feel they have had trouble finding appropriate entertainment for their children on the Internet. There may be a new solution to that problem.
Squeegi.com, a website similar to YouTube that allows only G-rated material, was launched. The announcement was made by Mark Davey, Squeegi’s founder and CEO.
“We’ve been doing a lot of research for a long time, and it is good that we are finally talking to people about it,” Davey said.
Davey and his colleague Brian Jensen got the idea for Squeegi after the emergence of YouTube in 2005. While there are thumbnails and images on YouTube that contain material many families consider inappropriate for their children, Squeegi allows viewers to browse its sight without fear of unwelcome material.
“We launched Squeegi.com on July 4 because of the freedom theme which we felt was appropriate,” Davey said. “We are all about giving people increased freedom on the Internet.”
Davey related an experience his children had when they were searching YouTube for information needed to do a homework project from schoolteachers. They would come across inappropriate online material in the process. Davey said he feels Squeegi provides protection from that.
“If you want to have a cleaner alternative we are drawing a line in the sand,” Davey said “We are the ones that are stepping out there and saying ‘we are going to be the G-rated version of YouTube.'”
Brian Jensen, chief financial officer for Squeegi, played a significant role for the launch of the website and shares Davey’s vision.
“We have a hard time going into any website and we wonder what we are going to get while we are in there,” Jensen said. “Unless you’re on lds.org half the time I’m worried what I’m going to run into. Our goal is to keep things as clean as lds.org.”
Amy Christensen, a BYU student with children who look to the Internet for entertainment, said she supports the idea of Squeegi.
“My children are at an age where I can’t be in the room with them all of the time,” Christensen said. “It would be comforting to know that they could go to a site where they won’t run across something inappropriate incidentally.”
Christensen said many of her acquaintances share her same feelings and like the option Squeegi provides.
“The friends and peers that I associate with via Facebook and Twitter would also like the same entertainment option for their families,” Christensen said.
Just like Christensen, Jensen has received similar feedback from friends. This kind of feedback has come from not only people of the BYU and LDS communities, but also many people of other faiths who hold the same values.
“I think that there would be more demand for a site like Squeegi.com,” Jensen said. “There are people of many faiths that I work with, not just Christian, but a lot of denominations that are also looking for a clean website, a place where they can go on the Internet and keep things on the up and up. I think everybody is getting a little tired of all the smut that is out there.”
With increased notoriety, Squeegi’s founders said they hope organizations such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who currently use YouTube to get video messages out there, will consider using Squeegi in the future.
“It will take some time to get the notoriety,” Jensen said. “I don’t think this will happen overnight, and I don’t think YouTube happened overnight. It’s just one of those things that takes a little time. We need to be patient.”