We want to share a review of the Circle by Disney online management device with you today. This review comes from my friend (for many, many years) and shares her real life experience with this device for her family’s use.
Review of Circle by Disney
This isn’t a paid advertisement for the Circle with Disney, but they should totally consider giving me a kick back for the number of Circles that I have sold for them.
Let me start by setting the stage. I am a mom of four kids, ranging in age from 11 – 19 and obedience levels that fluctuate hourly. Did you catch that? I am the mom of THREE TEENAGERS and a preadolescent daughter that might as well be a teenager. Let’s just assume (correctly) that we may have an addiction, ahem, an abundance of online usage. We may or may not have been fined by our internet provider for going over our data limits on more than one occasion. Between you and me, it was driving me crazy! Chores weren’t getting done, kids were squabbling over who had what iPad, and I just knew their brains were going to start oozing out of their ears. One boy was very motivated to modify his behavior with the threat of removing the wifi, but that required literally unplugging the box and hiding it. I was also concerned with my teen boys viewing adult content. It felt very overwhelming, but something had to be done… someday.
Finally, I had enough. The siblings were tired of everyone being punished when the one misbehaved and I took the router, I couldn’t seem to enforce kids not taking devices into their rooms to supervise the no adult content rule, and they were still spending way too much time with their faces in a screen. I also realized I was spending a lot of time on social media, and realized I had to do something.
I began researching parental control apps for the iPads, but what about the desktop and laptops? That might answer the adult content concern, but not the time spent online. Nagging wasn’t working. I googled for wifi filters and saw a couple of possibilities. A little research later and I jumped on trusty Amazon and bought the Circle with Disney, downloaded the app, and waited for the UPS man to knock on my door. I also told the kids what I was doing and why, and they were oddly on board.
Set up was easy! Unpack the box, plug it in, connect your phone to its hotspot, give it your wifi network and password, and switch back to your wifi. It took longer to type that out than it did to actually do it. Once I was connected I started assigning each device to a person or I could just name it “Mini Ipad” or “laptop” if it was community property. I could filter each user by age, content, generic websites all the way to specific websites. I could block specific websites (no Tumblr for you, kids!) and allow certain ones whenever I wanted to reward behavior. Chores? Sure you can have Pandora. Netflix? Not until they are done! They could call me at work when their chores were done and I could unlock Netflix for them from my phone. Control when I wasn’t there? Oh yeah! I could set time limits. TIME LIMITS without me watching the clock or nagging, people! There are options for bedtimes and wake-up times, so no middle of the night Facebook chats on school nights. I even set time limits for my social media usage, so I would be more aware of the time I was wasting.
Misbehave? With the push of the pause button, I could block that one kid from wifi and not the others. Ready for family time and need everyone to be present? You can pause the entire house with the tap of your thumb.
Visitors that log into your wifi are funneled into the “house” user ID, which you can also set limits on. Perfect for when friends come over with their devices and you are concerned with what they are sharing. It’s easy to see what websites everyone has visited that are allowed and what websites they try to visit that are blocked.
Do kids try to get around it by unplugging the Circle? It has a built-in battery AND sends the parent a text message when it is offline.
Finally, I was in control of the internet again, instead of it controlling us.
Not every product is perfect, of course. I wish the time limits were a little more customizable. They seem to listen to the user’s desires and make regular updates, so that may be coming down the line at some point. Sometimes it is frustrating what it blocks, but that is easy to fix and allow through the app. There was a glitch on the iPad where adult content images on the search page could be seen but not clicked on. That was fixed with a simple reboot of the device. I was very pleased with Circle’s customer service with that hair-raising experience. I left a Facebook comment and they got right back to me and resolved it quickly and efficiently.
All in all, I highly recommend the Circle with Disney. It does what I couldn’t. It controls the internet access so I don’t have to be the bad guy all the time. It makes us more aware of the time we spend online. It makes it easier to set consequences and actually follow through on them. If only it told me I was beautiful and rubbed my feet – I would just have to marry it.
How much does Circle by Disney cost?
It’s actually not a bad price – $99! For $99, you can get all of these features and control and control even from your smartphone.
I would pay four times this price to get these benefits, so the price is well within reasonable.
Here’s a simple explanation of all that it can do
Where you can buy Circle by Disney
It’s simply available on Amazon with FREE shipping! Head to Amazon HERE to see the purchasing options!