Parental control of devices within your home is now made easy with Circle~my new favorite product and worth every penny of the $99 price tag!
I cannot stop raving to every parent of at-home kiddos about my new favorite device~Circle. I learned about this content filtering device at a recent seminar on protecting kids in a digital age. It is one of the newest and easiest ways to put control back into parents’ hands and allow them to manage all wirelessly connected devices within the home.
Circle is small, easy to install, and fully customizable. The photo shows everything that comes with the device. Parents can add each child to “the Circle” along with his or her devices which can then be managed according to preferences designed by the parent.
Circle has made parenting my youngest child SO much easier. It has eliminated my having to repeatedly ask for her to “bring down the phone” at night. It shows me exactly how much time she spends each day online and where (x amount of time on instagram…..x on Pinterest, etc….). It allows me to shut wireless off with the touch of a button if needed.
The 2 major ways that Circle helps parents is in managing TIME and CONTENT across all devices within the home. Here is a short description of how these features work.
Once Circle is installed, the Circle app is put on the parent’s phone. Family members are added, and each member’s profile is customized. Since we have two college bound girls who self monitor, the only profiles on the Tarence Circle are Emma and Cam (my quirky sense of humor:-). Here is what the Circle home page looks like on my phone.
With Circle, you manage content. Here’s a snapshot……
The preset filters display allowed apps which can then be toggled on and off based on parental preference. During the week, I toggle off Netflix, but it can easily be toggled on for car trips or weekends. Even though I am using the teen filter, I toggle off many of the allowed apps to customize it. You can even add specific websites to the custom filter to further restrict sites.
Circle also allows you to manage time spent on devices. My favorite part of Circle is the bedtime feature. Before Circle, my daughter was often on her phone too late for my husband’s and my preference. The bedtime feature has changed that and restored order and an acceptable shutoff time. We set a bedtime, and the message at left is what shows when that time is reached.
The first time my daughter got “the bedtime message,” she was beyond miffed, which didn’t surprise us one bit. Who likes to be managed? No one! Note to parents: EXPECT pushback in the beginning. But it does get easier. My daughter has totally accepted the bedtime feature and has adapted beautifully. She knows she can always ask if she needs a bedtime extension.
Circle allows time limits on overall intenet usage AND individual apps. You can set the overall time allowed online for each day as well as time spent on specific apps. Since instagram and Pinterest are big time suckers, I put limits on both during the school week.
Where to buy Circle? I ordered mine from the Disney Store when it first came out, but Circle is now sold at Best Buy. My recommendation to parents is RUN DON’T WALK to the nearest Best Buy and get Circle. It is a game changer. If you want to be a savvy parent in regards to managing electronics in your home, this is a GIVEN.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Circle only manages devices within your wireless network. Once kids leave your wireless umbrella, none of the Circle settings work. Further, anyone entering your home is added to Circle and can be managed. Each time a friend of my daughter’s comes over, I get a message “Suzy’s iphone has been added to Circle.” I haven’t ever done anything with friends’ devices, but I can see instances where parents might find this useful in managing electronics use in large groups.
To learn how to set up Circle and use all its features, go to www.meetcircle.com. I hope this helps any of you who need this like I did. If you get Circle, do let me know how you like it. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!