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