In an age of technology, it gets harder and harder for us parents to keep our kids safe online. Of course, we all want our kids to be in the loop and allow them to do the “cool” things their friends do – have their own cell phone, play Fortnite, watch YouTube videos, create their own videos, and let’s not forget engagement with other mainstream social media. But with allowing our kids these privileges comes a huge responsibility, not only for them, but for us parents too. That responsibility is teaching our kids what is acceptable to do on their devices, and sometimes that means setting parental controls.
Did you know that there’s a single, all-in-one device that allows you to set parental controls across just about every device connected to your home internet? I didn’t know until just recently and introducing the device into my home has made setting parental controls a seamless process. Let me tell you just how much this device can change how your household functions on a daily basis and how much easier it is to keep your kids safe online.
~ This is a sponsored post on behalf of Moms Meet and Circle. All opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. ~
You never think it’s going to happen to you, but one day you discover your 8 year old has been looking at adult content on his tablet. Wait! What?!
You start questioning yourself and him about how he even found the content. Questions come up like, “What did you search online? What did you click on next? Show me on the tablet each step from start to finish how you got from point A to point B.”
Never did I think I would ever be in that position. Yet, I was in that exact position just months ago. I was mortified. But after a level-headed discussion, we came to find out that an innocent search of a Fortnite video and a few clicks later, is how our son stumbled upon content and apps he should not be seeing at his age.
Immediately, I took his tablet and started setting parental controls, restricting any type of content I didn’t want him looking at. Why didn’t I do this from the get-go? Honestly, because I felt like it took too much time and figured he’d be okay. Obviously I was wrong on the latter. But now, I’ve discovered an easy way to set content filters across all my kids’ devices.
Circle Home Plus
With the help of Circle Home Plus, parental controls have never been easier to manage. Circle is an all-in-one device that helps parents control every device their kids use, from cell phones, to tablets, to TVs and gaming consoles. The best part is that it can all be done with one single device and one single app.
The Circle Home Plus device connects directly to your home router/Wi-Fi and helps you manage all devices connected to that network. Setup in my home was pretty easy. It was very plug-and-play friendly. I connected the device to my router and downloaded the Circle Parental Control app, where everything is managed. Every device that was already connected to my home Wi-Fi immediately showed up in the app. I didn’t have to manually add a single device.
From there I created profiles for each of my kids and assigned each of their devices to their respective profiles. In each profile I set parental controls for the types of content that child is allowed to access, along with their bedtime, any time/screen time limits I want to enforce, and more.
Parental controls start with filtering content. Circle not only lets you limit specific apps and websites, but also allows you to restrict certain categories of content. Think of categories like explicit and mature content, as well as online shopping.
If you haven’t experienced your child using your saved payment info to purchase something, consider yourself lucky. That’s just another one of those things that’s bound to happen at some point.
I like the “filter by category” feature because there’s no way for me to list every single website or app that contains material inappropriate for my kids. Filtering by content category gives me peace of mind. I know that if my kids do stumble upon content under a restricted category, Circle doesn’t allow them access.
In my house, the biggest thing getting between my kids and a good night’s sleep is technology. But not anymore. With Circle, there is no fight for bedtime. When you set a bedtime for your child in the Circle Parent App, all devices assigned to that child get disconnected from the internet at that exact time. And it works!
My kids have a Roku TV and since everything they watch is streamed over the internet, it’s a perfect device to manage with Circle. As soon as the bedtime I’ve set roles around, the TV is disconnected from the internet. And I don’t have to do anything. Circle does it for me.
As much as my kids try to reconnect the TV to the internet, it just doesn’t work. In fact, Circle doesn’t allow the TV to reconnect to our Wi-Fi until the set “awake” time hits. This is another feature that’s set in the app. If you have kids who tend to wake up in the middle of the night, resulting in binge watching late night TV, this feature is extremely helpful.
Like magic, my kids are usually asleep within 15 minutes of their TV being “turned off,” ensuring they get the full night’s rest they need. As a result, it has been so much easier to wake up my kids in the mornings.
To my kids’ advantage, Circle allows me to set a separate bedtime for the weekends. When they don’t have to get up for school, they’re allowed to stay up a little later and the weekend bedtime setting reflects that.
Setting Time Limits and Off Time
In addition to filtering content and setting bedtimes, Circle also allows you to set certain time limits and schedule off time. My son would sit and play video games all day if I let him. I mean hours, upon hours, upon hours, and without eating. With the Circle Parent App, I can go into his profile and set a time limit across all online gaming platforms, or set a time limit for each individual game (Fortnite, Minecraft, etc.).
Beyond that, there’s also the capability of scheduling downtime. Want to dedicate the hour after school for homework? Set that hour for off time, so your child is unable to access anything on their devices during that hour. Want to set aside family time, or want the whole family sitting around the table for dinner? Set off time for that, too.
By setting time limits and off time, Circle automatically does the work for you. Based on the limits you’ve set for your child, the Circle Home Plus device disconnects and restricts access to the internet across all managed devices.
My kids got a deck of UNO cards for Easter and it has quickly become our go-to for family time. Per my settings, the kids’ devices disconnect from the Wi-Fi for off time and they gather around the table for family time, ready to get the game started. Something so simple has become a really fun way for my family to spend time together. And thanks to Circle, it’s not a struggle to get everyone on board.
Can managing screen time and keeping our kids safe online really be this easy? Absolutely! Don’t let your family be consumed by technology. Check out Circle Home Plus today.
*Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.