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Peace of mind has meant different things to me as my kids have grown. When I only had tiny kids most of my worries were about their physical safety…falling down, breaking bones, getting sick, etc. Now that I have a pre-teen and a tween along with smaller kids it seems like the things that worry me are only expanding (boo on that!). With kids in elementary school and middle school I now also worry about their emotional safety…can they handle the stresses of school? Are they being bullied? Are they kind to others?
Then add in the internet and devices: iPads, iPhones gaming devices. I’ll be honest…thinking about the internet, social media and my beautiful and innocent kids terrifies me. Obviously there is good that can come from them, but you also read stories about cyber bullying, suicide, pornography, online predators and many other scary things. I also worry about them spending too much time online, which could inhibit their ability to relate to others and wastes precious time they could be learning and doing other things.
In my quest to find gifts that would help moms save time, I came across the Circle with Disney. I was provided a Circle to try with my family and wanted to tell you my honest thoughts on it. And honestly…the Circle has given me immense peace of mind.
Peace of mind in a small white box
See that tiny white box on the table in the picture above? Meet The Circle! It is tiny, but it has so many amazing capabilities that I have absolutely loved. Capabilities that help with my two major worries of 1) My kids happening upon harmful content and 2) How much time they spend online. And it is incredibly affordable, at $99 you can monitor and filter any device on your home Wi-Fi network. If you want to extend to these features to a network (wireless or cellular) outside the home, you can subscribe to a plan called Circle Go for $9.95/month. You can read more information about Circle Go here.
Normally anything “tech” is my husband’s domain but I was determined to set the Circle up by myself. I took it out of the box, plugged it in (within 5 feet of our router) and downloaded the Circle by Disney app. Then the app walked me entirely through the set-up. It was very VERY easy.
Within about 15 minutes I had set up individual profiles for four of my kids (baby doesn’t need one yet!), including:
-A filtering level: You can choose from Pre-K, Child, Teen and Adult
-The devices used by each kid
-Time limits for screen time: You can decide on an overall time limit or make limits specific to apps. For example if you have a teen who is spending hours upon hours on Instagram, you can limit their Instagram time to one hour each day.
-Bed time and awake time: You can choose what time each child can use the device. If you want your kids to only use devices after school your awake time would be in the afternoon.
One additional feature that I love about the Circle with Disney is the ability to PAUSE THE INTERNET. Have you ever wanted your kids to stop what they are doing and pay attention? Now you just hit the pause button on your Circle app and you can turn off and on the network Wi-Fi at any time! Woot!
You can also set “Off times.” These are times scheduled each day when kids can’t access the internet. Think chore time, homework time or simply time you want them to spend playing like a kid!
Circle with Disney has also added the ability to reward your kids with additional screen time. This can be connected to apps (like Choremonster) or you can send a reward when they’ve done something good. I haven’t done this yet but I think my kids will love it!
I had high hopes that the Circle would help me feel better about the time my kids are spending online and what they are viewing and it has more than exceeded my expectations. When I go to bed at night I know that they have stayed within their limits and that they have been on sites I approve of where their chances of being exposed to terrible things is lessened. I can’t tell you the relief it has brought me, and that is why I wanted to share it with you!
Who this gift is for
This gift would be an amazing gift for moms and dads. Moms would love this as a Mother’s Day Gift! I know it has made things easier on me. Not only do I worry less about them being online too much, but I am also no longer the bad guy telling them there time is up. There are clear limits (that they can check and see for themselves!) and when their time is up, it is up.
Have any of you tried the Circle with Disney? If you have any questions for me, I’d be glad to answer! Is anyone putting this on their Mother’s Day/Birthday/Christmas list?