Circle With Disney: Does It Keep Your Kids Safe?
posted by: Amber Johnson
With two kids ages 11 and 13, I’ve been on the lookout for the best filtering systems to monitor their screentime this summer. Though I have yet to find the perfect solution, I have found some really good ones that include Circle with Disney ($99), a 3-inch white cube that connects to your Wi-Fi network which allows you to manage internet content and time kids spent online on their devices at home.
How It Works
I don’t have the time nor patience to work through a complicated instruction manual and thankfully, Circle with Disney is easily managed through a companion iOS or Android app. The control panel for all this filtering happens via Circle Home where you can set individual profile settings, and filter apps by name, category, or device platform.
My husband and I were able to setup limits on screentime through the kids’ gaming consoles, smartphones (or iPods in our case), tablets and computers. Circle with Disney works directly with our home Wi-Fi and gives us the ability to customize a profile for each family member. We can set a time limit for devices, set a regular bedtime (with the flexibility to extend that time) and even pause the Internet. Circle also has the ability to set individual filter levels for each family member–for Pre-K, Kid, Teen and Adult–that filters out inappropriate content.
Rewards! This summer, my children have often maxed out on their allotted screentime so I like that Circle offers them the option to “earn” more time online. At our house, that is done through doing chores, reading, doing something active like a bike ride and really, any productive time away from their devices. I just press the button and the kids get a notification letting them know what they received.
Circle also announced a partnership with the chores app, Mothershp, which allows you to enable extended BedTime and extended Time Limits rewards for your kids through customized chores you’ve setup for each child. Note: I did not particularly love this feature because it requires downloading a different app, setting up a new profile and syncing it with your dashboard.
What I Like
- The filtering
- That I can limit the amount of time my daughter spends on sites like YouTube and Instagram every day, and my son’s Clash of Clans addiction is limited to one hour per day.
- Being able to pause the Internet whenever I feel like they’re spending too much time on their devices.
- Bedtime setting for those times I forget to have them turn the devices in to me at night, the WiFi automatically turns off.
- Circle Insights lets me track how much time my kids spent online for that day, last week or even last month, listed out per individual site.
What I don’t like
- Circle works through our home’s WiFi network but the moment my kids step outside the house, all bets are off. There is a monthly subscription option, Circle Go, where you pay $9.95 per month and you are able to extend Circle’s settings at home to any network by using a VPN on your kid’s mobile device. A VPN, or virtual private network, allows Circle to directly manage the traffic and enable time tracking, filters, and every other Circle feature. https://meetcircle.com/circle-go/
- I’d love to have a device that gives a history of what my kids are searching for and watching on the Internet and YouTube, not just the amount of time they are spending on each site. The Insights tab gives basic information of what they’re searching i.e. googlevideo.com, but not specifics.
Overall, I have been pleased with my experience using Circle With Disney and when the kids complain their devices have turned off for bedtime, I know I’m at least doing one thing right in this parenting world.