At Kidslox we recently changed our company branding from our traditional green colour to the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag and announced that we would no longer be offering our services to users in the Russian federation.
The change of branding is a very visible one, and many of our users wrote to comment on the change. Some were supportive, some Russian users were angry, but the reaction which caught us a little off guard was that some users felt that we were trying to jump on a bandwagon. They thought that we saw some cynical business advantage to be had by joining in with the flow of popular opinion on the issue of the war in Ukraine.
That’s not what’s happening here.
First of all, the majority of Kidslox team are based in Ukraine, including our central office. Most of the team are based in a non-front-line city, where we feel relatively safe, though we still have daily air raid sirens; many customer support tickets and lines of code have been written from bomb shelters over the last month.
One of our team members works remotely from the city of Kharkiv, very much on the front line of the war. Of course we’ve offered him a place to stay in a safer region, with the rest of our team, but like so many other Ukrainians he is determined to stay put for as long as he can. His stubborn, patriotic insistence that he has no reason to go anywhere, (he’s at home, it’s the Russian army that needs to leave), is representative of the wider atmosphere in our country.
The decision to stop offering our services to users in the Russian Federation is easy to understand. Despite the fact that we have a high quality Russian localisation, and the Russian speaking market is a substantial segment of our user base, we know that any sales we make in Russia would oblige us to pay taxes to the Russian government, money which would effectively be funding the destruction of our country. Of course, this is unacceptable to us.
The decision to change our branding is precisely for the sake of conversations like this one. It raises questions, and brings attention back to the suffering of Ukraine. While our company’s primary goal remains the digital safety of children all around the world, we also want to do everything we can to physically protect our own children, here in Ukraine. The small reminder of Ukraine provided by our app’s icon is a drop in the ocean, but we are convinced that every drop counts.
Despite the situation in our country we continue to deliver our services. There is no change or threat to the ongoing work of our servers, which are not physically located at our Ukrainian offices. In fact, we’re working on new updates and releases even now, to improve the parental control experience of our users. Ukraine’s president Zelensky has highlighted several times when addressing the nation that businesses which are in a position to work should absolutely be doing that at the moment. It might seem strange to think of software development as a wartime priority, but our taxes are helping to keep the Ukrainian economy (and army) alive.
So, in a nutshell, that’s the reason for recent changes to Kidslox. We’re trying to do our small part to make sure our country survives and our children are safe. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask that you join us, by donating to one of the organisations below who are dedicated to helping Ukrainian children put at risk by the war: