Circle: Internet Control Device
So you’re a good parent and you have read how to keep your kids safe online, how much device time they should have at their age, and you still expect everyone to be at the dinner table and interact. The problem is your kids are addicted to their devices and it is causing drama in your home!! Well, even though technology may be causing the problem, there is now technology to fix the problem. It’s called MyCircle and it will allow you to:
- Set Time Limits – Per user profile, device, application or type of Internet traffic – Disable Internet connectivity once time limit thresholds have been reached
- Enforce Bedtime – You make devices belonging to that family member temporarily disconnect from the Internet at a set bedtime. Browsing the web after the specified bedtime redirects the user to their MyCircle page, reminding them that it is beyond their allowed time of day for device use. Devices reconnect to the Internet in the morning at the configured ‘awake time’.
- Place Filters – Filter apps, websites, block ads or default ‘safe search’ on for Google searches to exclude adult content.
- Pause for a Cause – Disable Internet access per user, device, or for all users. Time to do homework? Time to eat dinner? Pause!
- Get Insight – A dashboard report gives you a complete picture of the time spent online for all devices belonging to a user. See which apps, platforms, and categories your kids most frequently visit. You can even dive deeper to see what top 5 sites are regularly visited for any category. Circle provides an entire range of visibility, offering parents a look at how time was spent this week compared to last or even this month compared to the one before. Circle adds granular detail with a browsing history aggregated between all the devices belonging to your kid. Even see which sites were filtered within a given time period.
- Built in Backup – Even if kids unplug power to the Circle it contains a built in rechargeable battery, meaning network policies will still be enforced.
- Receive Push Notifications – You can be notified when users have exceeded usage thresholds, when a new WiFi device is added to your network, or when the Circle goes offline.
From what we’ve gathered so far Circle will only connect to 2.4 GHz WiFi networks, meaning dual-band devices could potentially still connect to a 5 GHz network to circumvent the network policies, if your kid is that smart. At this time there is no Android app support so customers will need an Apple device to complete the setup process and manage the system. The dashboard reports are easy to read and give you some “proof” when you are talking to your children about their usage. It even works for you! You may find yourself saying, “I am spending how much time on Pinterest!” For $99, it might well be worth the investment if it brings peace and peace of mind to your home.
Do any of you already use this device? We would like to hear your input. How many of you would be interested in using this device and what features do you find most useful? How many of you have found a different way to keep tabs on your kids and their devices? Can you share your secrets?