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Kids are streaming Netflix. Grandma just got Snapchat. MacKenzie is checking Instagram. William’s watching YouTube. Throw in Google, Facebook, Minecraft, Xbox Live, Amazon, Hulu, and Pinterest, and you get the picture.
Technology is amazing. I’ll give it that.
William uses technology as a resource. His conversation amazes me. He knows I love the Kennedy’s and one day told me Joe Kennedy and Hitler were friends. I disagreed. He started sharing all these facts and dates, and I said, “Where are you getting this from?” His answer, “I read it in Time.”
His answer, “I read it in Time.”
“We don’t have a subscription to Time,” I replied.
“I read it online.” He answered.
There was also that time my husband and I were in the car we drive the least, needing gas. As we pulled into the gas station, my husband asked what side the gas tank is on.
Both of us with our heads extended out the window and searching our side of the vehicle when William, who was nine, said, “Why don’t you just look at the dashboard and see which way the arrow points next to the gas gauge?”
So? Yeah. Technology has made a nine-year-old who doesn’t know the first thing about driving smarter than his parents who have been driving 30-years.
Of course, I want my children to have the technology, but I don’t want it to diminish their childhood or interfere in family time.
We have set rules when it comes to technology at our house. Time limits, a time when we are unplugged and rules on content.
Thankfully, there’s a new way for families to filter content, set time limits and even pause the internet across all your technology and devices… Meet Circle.
It’s a tiny box. A simple phone app. Plus, a little magic.
With Circle, you can control all the devices in your home with an easy-to-use app and keep up with what your kids are doing online.
This summer we’re taking technology and making it less connected online for more connection in person.
Circle with Disney Key Features
Imagine filtering content, limiting screen time and setting a bedtime for every device in the home! Circle with Disney allows you to do this in a few easy steps.
Circle is a hardware and software system that helps families to manage
online content and time across all devices.
End the negotiations. Circle with Disney allows you to set time limits for your children’s devices that cannot be exceeded. Designate how much time your child spends on their devices online and stick to it.
The OffTime feature gives your kiddos an internet time-out. You decided when it’s screens off and how much time they have within the Circle with Disney app. Learn more about the Time Limits feature.
This is where our kiddos have not had great follow through. Now we set the time the internet turns off for the night. No more hiding under the covers or having to go in to remind them. Bedtime means business.
Individual Filter Levels
Every family member is different. Different ages and interests mandate different filter levels. Circle with Disney does this. Set it once, and it applies to every one of their devices.
You can block access to specific websites or internet services like Snapchat or FaceTime Video Calling. It’s up to you!
This is one of my favorite features. You can “pause” the internet. We decide when our house is internet free. Perhaps for homework, family game night, or a family meeting.
Circle with Disney Insights give you the ability to compare time online today, last week, or even last month.
Once you view the general insights, you can click to learn more about their behavior.
It’s a breakdown of where my child is spending time on the internet.
You can even go further into the insights by clicking again.
It’s everything I want to know about my child’s activity. I control when and where he goes and then I can see what he’s doing and where he’s spending his time.
Circle with Disney: Circle Go
Our children are at Camp Grandma and Grandpa in another state. They have their smartphones, but the rules Mom and Dad set, are still in effect.
Circle with Disney monitors only your Wi-Fi channel, but with Circle Go all the settings on your children’s devices at home, extend to 4G LTE and any other Wi-Fi network they join.
Circle Go does this by using VPN on the child’s mobile device. If you aren’t familiar, VPN, or virtual private network, allows Circle to manage the traffic and enable time tracking, filters, and all other Circle features.
Circle Go does require a subscription, which is $9.95 per month for up to ten devices.
Circle with Disney Set Up
It sounds great; right? I have even better news! It’s easy to set up. Purchase the Circle with Disney, and from there it’s basically plug-and-go.
Okay, there’s a little more to it, you first download and install the app on your smart device, power up the Circle hub near your Wi-Fi router, and from there, the app walks you through the process.
Each family member gets an account, and then you connect their devices to their account. Once connected, the app walks you through the filter settings. Here’s what it looks like, in this case, for Instagram.
You can get very specific with the filtering. You can designate one hour on Facebook a day, or even 2-hours of movie streaming. There are also general settings for you to set overall screen time.
If you have teenagers, especially the teenager who is creative and resourceful and can find their way around traditional internet filters, Circle with Disney just raised the bar.
Since it is wireless, it sits as part of your network, and it is difficult to get it off the network – there is nothing to disconnect and allow your teen to bypass the filter physically.
Circle with Disney also has an internal battery which lets it run for hours if your teen tries to unplug power simply.
Then there’s the Add a built-in alert feature that sends an alert to the parent’s Circle app when the power goes out, or someone else connects to the Wi-Fi network. I found this thread on CNET about this topic and realized it really does what it says.
Circle with Disney and Our Family Dynamics
We already had our rules in place, so no one thought much about it. It’s viewed more as “keeping the honest people honest.” There’s accountability. There’s a reminder in place that maybe it’s time to step away from the streaming.
Mom and Dad don’t have to check-in to make sure the kiddos are doing what they are supposed to, and for this, I think Circle with Disney is a great tool. It balances my family dynamics. It puts me in charge.
I can offer an incentive by adding more time, or I can take away time to prove my point when chores aren’t done. There doesn’t have to be an argument or discussion; it’s just done.
I think a parent’s responsibility is to understand their family, set the boundaries that work best for their family dynamics. Circle with Disney is a resource that helps back Mom and Dad up.
It’s time to manage your family’s Internet. It’s time to get reconnected with family. Circle provides this and so much more. So, what are you waiting for? Get your Circle today.