A Brilliant "Screen Time" Solution for Families

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Recently my oldest son was studying for an exam, and I found myself occasionally calling out his name and asking him if he was still studying. The reason? Well, because I knew he had his phone with him and I wanted to be sure he wasn't on it. After a little while, I finally just went up to his room and asked him to please give me his phone so that I could hold on to it while he studied. It wasn't that I worried he was going to do something wrong, but more so, I knew it could be a distraction from what he was supposed to be doing; studying for his test. If you have children, and they have electronics, then I am sure you can identify. 

There is this tension we find ourselves in with the whole world of electronics and how our children spend their time. I don't want to hover, but I certainly don't want to give free rein either. There has to be a balance. In our home, we have been diligent to set restrictions and controls on all electronic devices, as well as teach our children to the best of our ability how to use the devices responsibly. However, I am not naive, and I know it can be hard to monitor the time spent and the "places" visited ....especially when you have multiple devices. It is downright difficult. With summer vacation already here for some and right around the corner for others, the issue of "screen time" will be more prevalent in our homes. I know that sometimes it seems like a never ending battle, but as families, we CAN get a hold of this. We CAN set boundaries and help our children learn to use media wisely. And there are tools out there that make it a whole lot easier!

I was recently introduced to a product that aims at helping us monitor screen time...not just for our kids, but for us as parents as well (ahem!). Just released this past Fall, Circle with Disney is a new way to manage content and time across all devices. Managed through a companion iOS app, Circle with Disney is a tool that helps parents stay informed about their kids’ online activities and limit screen time on every device in the home, including smart phones, tablets, computers, and gaming consoles..(yes, even the xbox!!). Circle with Disney pairs with home Wi-Fi and gives parents the ability to filter content, set a bedtime for devices, and even completely pause the Internet. Each user’s profile and settings can be completely customized based on age and parents’ preferences.

It really is that easy. I simply plugged my Circle device in the wall, downloaded the app on my phone, connected to my wi-fi and loaded my whole family on the same account with each device listed under it's owner, so each individual is monitored separately. With just a few simple clicks I can see the exact amount of time spent at each individual site or app, set restrictions or simply pause the internet for the whole house. It is amazing!

Here are the key features of Circle with Disney:

TIME LIMITS: Families can set daily Time Limits on any app or content category they want. With Time Limits, families can customize how much time their kids spend on each platform and set a total online time for the day.

FILTER: Families can set individual filter levels for each family member. Circle with Disney has four preset age-levels and allows for further customization by platform, app, website, and content category. Families can choose a filter that matches each user’s age and interests, filtering out inappropriate content.

INSIGHTS: Families can stay informed about where their kids spend their online time―by platform, category and website. Circle with Disney allows families to see a member’s total time spent online and the sites visited.

PAUSE THE INTERNET: With the press of a button, families can pause the Internet, disabling access to a specific device, individual, or the entire home.

BEDTIME™: Families can create a BedTime™ for each family member and their devices. Simply set a sleep time, when the devices will disconnect from the Internet, and an awake time, for the morning when the devices will reconnect.

GUEST DEVICES: Circle with Disney recognizes when a guest joins the home’s Wi-Fi and can apply a family’s home settings to visitors’ devices.

BLOCK ADS: Circle with Disney can block ads for any user’s devices.

EVERY DEVICE: Circle with Disney knows every single device connected to a family’s network (smart phones, tablets, computers, gaming consoles) and gives families the ability to manage each.

Circle with Disney is just $99. To learn more you can go <HERE>

I hope you find this amazing tool as useful as we have in our home!!

Blessings,

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links. For full disclosure go here.

Ruth Schwenk

Ruth Schwenk is the creator of The Better Mom, and along with her husband, the creator of For the Family. She is a pastor’s wife, mom of four energetic kids, a lover of coffee, and dreamer of big dreams. She loves leading, speaking, and blogging. Ruth is the co-author of Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need to Knock It Off and two forthcoming books with Zondervan. A graduate of The Moody Bible Institute, Ruth and her husband have been in full-time local church ministry for over fifteen years.

Helping our Children Remember

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How does your family commemorate Memorial Day? It is so easy to let this day pass as merely a three day weekend full of barbeques and time by the pool, but taking time to pause and reflect is important and meaningful. Here are some practical ways to share the reason for Memorial Day with your children.

Today we remember.
We help our children remember.
Lest we all forget.

We set aside time today to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by the many men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting our country.

And there is a biblical precedence for memorials, because God knows how quick we are to forget--

"Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone...that this may be a sign among you.  When your children ask in time to come, 'What do those stones mean to you?' then you shall tell them that the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord...so these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever...so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever." -Joshua 4: 5,6,7&24

There are practical ways to remember...

  • Visit a national cemetery
  • Make cards or take flowers to a local VA Hospital
  • Read about the history of Memorial Day
  • Learn about proper flag etiquette
  • Send a care package to a serviceman or woman in active service.
  • Bring a meal to a family who has a member actively deployed
  • Spend time praying for those in active service and thanking God for those who have given their lives for our nation.

Memorial Day is also a good time to pause and reflect on the kindness that God has shown our country and to give thanks for the freedoms we still have.

"I don't have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world." --Ronald Reagan

We can look back throughout history and help our children see the many ways that God has protected our nation and we can prayerfully petition Him to draw our country closer to Him in the future.

"Remembering is an act of thanksgiving, this turn of the heart over time's shoulder to see all the long way His arms have carried." -Ann Voskamp

God knows we need these reminders to remember, these memorial stones that will nudge our hearts to give thanks.  We must not let this day pass by without taking time to thank God for the men and women who have given so much for--

"...God, principle, and love of country."

With Love,
Kara

Kara Chupp

Kara is 19-years-married to her husband Jason, one of the funniest and most generous people she knows. They have 5 kiddos, 4 here and 1 in Heaven. They also have a muppet-like-mess-of-a-dog Penny, non-breeding Madagascar Hissers (who have had over 100 babies), chickens, fish, and a bearded dragon named William Wallace. Kara writes mostly about family adventures, adoption, grief, Heaven, education, books, and most importantly, clinging to God in everyday life.