Circle allows your family to manage all of your home's connected devices with ease. With Circle, parents can now filter content and limit screen time as well as set a bedtime for every device in the home. Circle can even pause the Internet and share what kids are up to online.
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Great tool for every parent!
Posted by: MikaelPe from: on
After using the Circle for three weeks I'm willing to give it 5-stars as it has changed, for the better, how our kids are using internet. We have three kids at home, an 8-year and two 11-year olds (twins). I purchased the Circle router after doing extensive research on the web as we wanted to know what they are watching, just as we do with TV and Movies. We also wanted to have a "start time" (7 am mornings) and "end time" (8.30 pm at night) of the wireless connection. Certain apps, like Minecraft, is time limited to 1-hour per day for the boys and it's great not to have to keep track of this as the App does it for you and shuts down access after exactly the 60 minutes. The circle does all of this and more...
1. INSTALLATION: There is no traditional user manual in the package. So, instead of looking at a printed card you only need to download the free App and follow the easy set-up instructions. Basically it took 15 minutes to set up and add all the devices in the house (couldn't believe we had that many devices...). However, this is just the beginning....
2. CONFIGURATION: Each device must be added to either a "Personal Profile", "Home" or "Unmanaged Devices". This is quite logical and very much follows the concepts used on any Mac OS X or Windows computer. On each profile you can then set with the appropriate Filter setting, along with a start time and end day daily. There is no start and end times for weekends or separation between "play time" and "home work, but I am quite confident these two settings will be added over time as the App development work proceeds. They are the main missing features.
3. SETTING UP EXCEPTIONS: This is the most important phase in order to have a good user experience for the kids. I would strongly recommend to make the initial set up on a day when everyone will be home.. After installing Circle and adding their device to their profile, sit down with each child and ask them to go to every website, open every game and do anything/everything they want to do on their device. This way you can easily create the "exceptions" they need to the standard filter system. There is no way around this as unfortunately internet URL's was never set up with "PG 13" or "R" ratings etc.
4. UNMANAGED DEVICES & HOME PROFILE: In our family we have set my wife's and my cell phones/Tablets to be "unmanaged devices", which means there is no block or limitations. The computers in the house are on the "Home" profiles as multiple users log on to them and there is no technical way to tell which kid is using it (not Circle's fault, just technical limitations).
5. PAUSE BUTTON: The "secret sauce" in this product!!! With the "pause" button you can easily pause the internet for either all managed devices OR for an individual profile (all devices attached to this profile will pause). With this powerful tool in my iPhone I can say "dinner in 2 minutes, internet is going off when the clock hits 6:15" (for example). Prior to having Circle it was a pain to make three kids shut down and end whatever they were doing on their devices. Now everyone immediately "saves" and logs out of their activity as they know that the internet will indeed be shut off when I said it was... The Kids despise this new level of control but as a Parent I smile as I'm finally in charge again! After dinner is done, simply press "paus" a second time and internet is back on.
SUMMARY - NEGATIVE POINTS: The App lacks 7-day individual scheduling of times and the ability to do multiple blocks of time during each day.
SUMMARY - POSITIVE POINTS:
Overall this is a tool that every Parent should have and I have been wanting for years. It gives Parents control of what is being watched, when and by whom. It also serves as a great way to get the kids away from the "Tablet Trance". I've told them the Circle device will stay "on" as long as they live at home and I'm paying for them:-)
+ The App is very simple and easy to use.
+ Pause button is a "killer app" by itself for Parents.
+ The Profile system is logical and nicely laid out
+ The hardware is compact and looks nice
+ It features a terrific "backup battery". Kids already tried to unplug it twice without effect as the battery kicks in. Parent will also receive notification to iPhone when device goes off line.
66 out of 67 found this review helpful.
Disney Circle = Family Peace & Harmony restored
Posted by: Hollyheeb from: on
Parenting is hard enough...add to it technology in your kids bedroom and it takes it to all new heights of difficulty. We use to do the 'bedtime device roundup' every evening at 9pm to keep the world out of our kids rooms at night. NO MORE! Set your kids individual accounts a bed time parameter and ALL of their devices shut down and wake up when you specify. It's as easy as making an appointment in your iCal on your iPhone.
That alone might have convinced me to spend the $100....but there's more. You can see where your kids have gone on the super-internet highway. Filter their access to the internet by age categories AND fine tune those settings if they are too strict.
Time limits and or restrictions on specific apps like Facebook, minecraft, Instagram, snapchat are so wonderful. Talk to your kids about what a reasonable amount of time would be on these apps during the very busy few hours they have before bedtime and set those time limits to each app specifically. Now I don't hear at 10pm, "I'm not done with my homework yet" when I know that one kiddo of mine was likely on YouTube for 60% of the eve! Nope...not with the 1 hour restriction on YouTube! If he has to use this app for homework....he better not squander his time watching grown men play video games.
Your kid doesn't come to dinner when you've called them ..once...twice or 3 X's....no problem....just hit the PAUSE button on his or her account and they will magically appear! LOVE THIS device!
16 out of 17 found this review helpful.
Posted by: Kris from: Utah on
Seriously love this thing at our house. We've used it for a while now and I am able to keep tabs on the kids doing what I've asked them to do with their "screens". Also, it's so much better than using the router to manage things because it can work in any network and if the router goes bad you don't have to start over.
15 out of 16 found this review helpful.
Posted by: Dadof5 from: on
Circle works just as advertised. Easy to set up and use. Takes time to identify devices in the network but once it's set up, it's easy to set controls, bed times and limits. Having an issue with my LG Smart TV though - TV cannot run apps right now but working on solving that issue. I am beta testing the Android Circle app and so far it works flawlessly. Great product.
12 out of 13 found this review helpful.
Solid first generation product
Posted by: GrantL from: on
Honestly I was very skeptical that something this simple in appearance and at such a low price point could work as effectively as it does, especially as a first generation product. In terms of ease of setup and use I think it can't get much better considering how comprehensive it is in terms of the level of control it gives you. There are some areas which need to be worked out like the way "shared" devices (such as an Apple TV) are setup; right now if I set a limit to cap my kids, there is no easy way for me to bypass it when I want to watch something after they've gone to bed. Also the cumulative time limit functions have a flaw if you have devices which generate a lot of "background" Internet traffic; they area aware of it and state they're working on a solution. As long as they keep updating the features regularly I think this will be a very successful product with families.
9 out of 9 found this review helpful.
Good tool to help with kids
Posted by: Ryan from: on
I purchased this to help monitor our kids and try to limit some of their time on iPad's. It is not perfect, but does help and works great. It is easy to setup and configure. It was easy to create accounts for the kids and add their devices. Setting daily time limits and bedtime does work. The only thing is of course all it can do is cut off their internet access. It does have a lot of additional filters and controls to prevent them from viewing certain types of websites and even some apps if you want. They can still play games that don't require internet access. I like that it notifies you if a new device joins your network. If they have friends over you can filter some of the things they can do to. Like prevent them from using apps like snapchat. I think this is a great product for parents.
6 out of 6 found this review helpful.
Your family needs Circle
Posted by: SpazDude from: on
As a father of seven (yes SEVEN) children and a technology professional, I've worked hard to protect my family from the junk that is out there on the internet. I've had from transparent proxies, custom firewalls, and DNS servers; but I've never been able to share it with my friends and family because it took too much expertise to manage it and keep it up to date.
Enter Circle with Disney. This is the device I've been wanting for years. I retired the other devices. I still use OpenDNS as a first layer of defense, and of course malware protection, but Circle adds the time limits, targeted filtering, and everything else in a really easy to use application. The application, by the way (on Android) is improved and more stable than when I first got it (otherwise I would have only given four stars). They still could do more... like integrating controls with shared devices that have logins (like my kids homework desktop computer), but overall I'm thrilled.
6 out of 6 found this review helpful.
AMAZING - SIMPLE - EFFECTIVE - HASSLE FREE
Posted by: slatiwonk from: on
I love this product. It does everything you need it to. If I had a family of 4 to 6 it would absolutely be the solution for me. Unfortunately the device doesn't effectively manage the devices for my family of 11. It simply can't keep up and causes networking disconnects.
5 out of 5 found this review helpful.
Serves a great purpose
Posted by: jaco from: on
Really helps monitor online activity for my family. Added peace of mind due to filtering capabilities. Does not stop inappropriate images from appearing in google search that had to be adjusted on each device. A bit of a pain because circle does not monitor the cell usage for each device. Immediately my children discovered they can circumvent circle and continue using their devices by switching to cell data... so they will be paying the data overages on our cell bill this month.
4 out of 4 found this review helpful.
Great for Managing Internet Time
Posted by: Dad23 from: on
We love this device for managing the time when our kids are on the Internet. The ability to set it so that they can't get online until a specified time in the morning, the ability to set a specific amount of time they can be online, and the opportunity to have a pre scheduled time for them to be off of the Internet are 3 major reasons we like Circle. (It also is a reason that our kids don't like Circle.)
The filter doesn't work as well as I would have hoped. It's better than nothing. The youngest setting works well but the "teen" setting still allows videos I would prefer my children didn't see.