Circle with Disney - Parental Controls and Filters for your Family’s Connected Devices
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- MANAGE EVERY CONNECTED DEVICE: Circle recognizes and manages wired and wireless devices on your home network.
- REQUIREMENTS: Setup and manage Circle using a device with iOS 9+ or Android 4.2+. Home Internet connection and a compatible router also required, check your router’s compatibility on our Support Site.
- SET ONLINE TIME LIMITS: Create daily time limits on apps and popular sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube.
- FILTER ONLINE CONTENT: Set individual filter levels by age (Pre-K, Kid, Teen, and Adult) for each member of your family. Create custom filters for websites too!
- PAUSE THE INTERNET: Pause the internet for a single Family member or the whole Family with a single tap.
- ONLINE USAGE AT A GLANCE: See where your kids spend time online by app and category.
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From the manufacturer
Set Online Time Limits
Set daily online time limits for each family member on any app, platform or category you want. With Time Limits you can customize how much time your kids spend online on any given platform and even set a total online time for the day.
Filter Online Content
Set individual filter levels for each family member. Customize access to popular online apps, platforms and websites for every member of the family. Even set custom filters for websites you want to allow or not allow.
Set an Internet BedTime
Create an online BedTime for each family member and their devices. Simply set a BedTime, when the devices will disconnect from the Internet, and an awake time, for when the devices will reconnect.
Pause the Internet
With the press of a button, you can Pause the Internet, disabling access to a specific device, individual, or the entire home. Circle gives you the ability to strongly suggest (wink wink) some on-the-fly family time.
Online Usage at a Glance
Check out where your family spends their time online―by platform, category and website. With Usage, you can see the total time spent online and where, either by day, week, or month!
Reward with Online Screen Time
Give your kids a little more online screen time by bumping up the daily Time Limits, extend BedTime a little bit, or disable that OffTime you set up for after school.
Circle allows your family to manage all of your home's connected devices. With Circle, parents can now filter online content and limit online screen time as well as set an Internet bedtime for every connected device in the home. Circle can even Pause the Internet and share what kids are up to online. How it Works: Circle pairs wirelessly or via ethernet to your home router and allows you to manage online access for every device on the network: smartphones, gaming consoles, tablets, smart TVs, online gaming consoles, laptops and desktops. Using an iOS or Android app, families create unique profiles for every member of the home and from there, help shape each person's online experience. If you want to extend Circle’s settings to your family’s mobile devices on 4G LTE and other Wi-Fi Networks, you can add our Circle Go service (optional subscription).
Top customer reviews
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It took me several tweaks before I had my Circle set up correctly, but now, two months into using it, I have come to really love it.
For reference, we live in a large house with one router and two extenders (which only means that there are multiple "networks.") I have four kids, and their ages range from 7 to 14. They have iPhones, iPods, iPads, 2 Xbox consoles, Playstation3 and Playstation4. I have tried several different flavors of net-nannies and I have set up parental controls on several different routers over the years, but nothing has ever been worth the hassle of it all until this Circle. This gives me more flexibility and customization than anything I've ever used, and it is also visual (on my iPhone) so I don't need to be a computer programmer to make sense of it. REALLY, this thing is EASY. And if you need help to get it set up properly, just ask on their Facebook page because they are incredibly committed to helping people. I've never seen this degree of helpful Facebook customer service before, on any kind of product.
The beautiful part of Circle is that every device that is connected to the internet automatically appears in the DEVICES for your circle. Some of them are easy to identify (e.g. "Jimmy's iPad") but some are more difficult (e.g. "HUMAX Device" or T0108000357180). I started with the things I could positively identify, and then the rest became obvious over time. Anytime a device joins the network, Circle will give you a notification. So, if you unplug and replug your Amazon Fire Stick, or put your iPhone into airplane mode and then switch it back, you'll be able to identify and label the device in your Circle.
Once I figured out what each of my devices was, I assigned each one to a person. If the device was used by all of us (like the TV in the living room) I assigned it to E (for everyone). One son has an iPhone, iPad, Xbox, and another child has iTouch, iPad, and Mac. Another one has a Mac, an iPad, and an Xbox. The fourth one only has an iPad and a Fire device. Now, with devices set for each child, I can pause one kid's internet (on each of his devices) without messing up all of the other kids' internet. Also, if my son is allowed to use his computer (for homework) but not his Xbox, I can pause ONLY the Xbox, and leave everything else connected. (Also, if I have said, "No Xbox for you! One Week!" but then forgotten to actually put a pause on the Xbox. I can pull it up on my phone and see if he has turned it on.) Likewise, if I have gone to work and forgotten to turn someone's internet back on, I can easily correct that and get him back in business. The best part is that I can do all of it with an app on my phone. I can do it from the front yard, the bank, the airport, or from another state. Instantly. For me, this is where Circle REALLY earns its stars.
Simply stated, Circle will allow me to pause the internet for the entire house (say for dinner). OR, it will allow me to pause the internet for one child (who's grounded) or for all the kids individually (until each one gets homework finished -- and then individually I can give wifi back to them as they earn it.)
For content, there are filters. Using the settings for Filter Level, I have set up my youngest as kid, and my three older ones as teen. I am able to completely disable Youtube for my 7 year old, who was pretty addicted to Disney Collector and Family Fun Pack before Circle came along. On the Teen filter, I have the option to shut down many apps individually (e.g. Instagram, HBO, Twitter, Tumbler, Snapchat, YouTube). I can give some or all or none to each kid, INDIVIDUALLY. Separately, there is a custom option on each filter which will allow me to add in any specific website they are visiting that I don't want them to. If I click on INSIGHTS (and this is on each child's profile) I can see every website he has visited today and how much time he spent there.
Time Limits have proven to be my ACE IN THE HOLE for discipline. My young teenager is now on a plan where if he doesn't cause any disruptions in the house he gets to maintain his internet time, and if he gets in trouble for something he loses an hour. WOW -- what a changed kid! It is effortless for me to change his limit (I just pull up the app on my phone) so he knows that I won't get busy and forget. For once, I have a parenting tool that is SUPER EASY for me to wield. If he does something sweet, I can bounce him up an hour. It doesn't cost me anything and it actually has a value for him.
BEDTIME does just what it says. It shuts down their internet at bedtime without me having to realize the time and run around the house snatching electronics at 7:30, 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00. It allows me to let the big kids have their internet later on weekends, but still have a limit so they don't watch Netflix until 2:00 am. Week night bedtime limits can be set at a different time than weekend bedtime limits. If one child always has Thursday Night projects for school that take him past the regular bedtime, I can remove Thursdays from the bedtime limit or turn bedtime off (when he asks me about it) and then back on when he is finished, easily from my phone.
My favorite part of Circle is that (now that I have it set up properly) I can easily control each device, or each child's devices from my phone with one or two clicks. I feel like it has given the power back to me. I know that there are sophisticated router setups that are also supposed to do this, but I haven't had luck with any of them. I have read reviews from people saying that they couldn't set it up, or that it crashed the entire system, and I just don't have any idea where they are going wrong, but trust me, they are doing something wrong.
As an aside, the day after I set up my Circle, we had a problem with the internet and of course I blamed the Circle and unplugged it. Let me tell you that it STAYED ON. It has a battery inside, so if your kids ever get the bright idea to disable the circle and run amok on the internet, their attempts will be foiled! As it turns out, the problem with the internet was that I hadn't paid the bill (oops!) and it had nothing to do with the Circle. However, I forgot to go back and plug it in (after everything was resolved). It worked for a month before it started sending me messages on my phone that I needed to plug it back in.
Also, with regard to the extenders. I thought that the Circle wouldn't work if the kids just moved from the regular router to the extenders and I believed it to be a serious flaw. However, I have since learned that if I pause the device, it doesn't matter which network the kids plug into (because the extenders feed from the actual router). The device will pause regardless of the network name.
One other thing is data on the iPhone. There is a plan to control your child's data use, but I have not taken advantage of it. I realized that the MYATT app has a place where I can easily disable data, so for my one rebellious child, I just shut down his data when he's at home, and then he is forced to use the wifi, and my limits placed in Circle will keep him in check. If I want him to have data (vacation, etc.) I just turn it back on in the ATT app. If you child's device has access to data, you will only have so much control over it with Circle.
Also, it is true that the iPad will allow you to block some apps and some sites. Circle isn't the ONLY way that you can get the job done. But for me, it has absolutely been the easiest.
Here's what I don't love or that I find really frustrating. Kids can easily get around the Circle bedtime if they want to pop online and check something by quickly turning off wifi and using their cell network, then turning wifi back on when done. In the History section, throughout the night, Circle will list and track numerous sites and apps that have been accessed. Initially, this caused quite a few arguments in our household until we realized that Circle was catching things like when apps do automatic updates during the night! I found this out by testing my own device at night. I called Circle's support and they admitted that yes, there is no way for the app (at this point) to differentiate or list out when it's just an app itself doing an update and communicating with the wifi. This almost makes the History section useless, in my opinion, because there is really no way whatsoever for me to tell if my children are accessing Snapchat at night or if it's just the app itself. Here's another very specific frustration. My children are not allowed to use Facebook. I have it set as "not allowed" in their profile filters. That said, every single day (and nighttime) there is a ton of Facebook time listed in the History and Usage sections. I've confirmed (through mommy superpowers--can't give away my secrets!) that my children do NOT have FB accounts, and yet FB is still being listed in the usage section. Most likely, the Circle is just picking up a connection between Instagram and FB, since the two are tied together in many ways. This seems to happen to me as well. When I am not on FB for the day, but I access Instagram, FB is listed in my history section. I find that these limitations in Circle make it almost useless for us. If I can't reliably tell what my children are and aren't using, and I have to guess if it's just an app updating or really usage by my children, how is that helpful? For now, personally, I'd recommend waiting on this Device until Disney can work out some of these limitations.
Has a app
Price is reasonable
Disney brand made us more comfortable
Slowed our internet
We couldn't customize this the way we wanted to
Time limits never worked right (example: didn't log Xbox time correctly)
Blocked certain websites (like Pinterest) but allowed others that should have been blocked
Still allowed questionable content through when I tried
All of the cons added up and we decided to send it back but honestly we could have tried to work out all the problems if it hadn't been for the fact that it slowed our internet down so much. It really affected it and made it hard to do much. Hopefully others will have better luck with it, for the price it was a good product just not for us.
I try to be very helpful and thorough in my reviews, if it was helpful to you please click yes, thanks!