Sunday 23 October 2016

Control Your Family's Internet Use Safely

For anyone who has children the internet is a double-edged sword. Kids need it for school, and just to generally learn and explore.

At the same time parents need to shield their kids from the more adult areas of the internet, and control how much online time is consumed.

Add to the mix how addictive the internet can be (ever seen a teenager lose most of a day on Facebook?) and the whole prospect can be overwhelming.

Fortunately there's a simple way to take back control at a granular level.

The Disney Circle is an amazing device you add to your network and suddenly you are in control.

You can set categories of of websites people are allowed to view, which is fairly common, but the Circle does so much more.

Circle will let you set time limits for how long a particular person can use the internet, and let you set a "bedtime" and "wake up time" for individuals.

Between the bedtime and wake-up time their devices can't connect to the internet. No more late-night facetime or gaming.

Individuals can also have an allowance of how much internet time per-day they get. Don't want the kids online for more than 3hrs/day? No problem, set an allowance for them and you're done.

Circle goes beyond just connection time and actually lets you also set time limits for specific applications. Want to limit Facebook to 1hr/day but leave the internet open for 3hrs? No problem. Need to help the kids break a Minecraft addiction? Set Circle to only let them play Minecraft for 30 minutes.

Each person gets a customized Circle page where they can see their time allotments, how much online time they have left, how long until their "bedtime" (if set) and other information about their online habits.

Installation is surprisingly easy and the user interface is simple and intuitive.

As an added bonus Circle provides content from across the Disney family for easy access, including Disney's Instagram account and many other sources. 

People may be surprised to find such a powerful technology product from Disney, but given the family focus of the company it makes sense.

Circle can be found at Best Buy, and retails for about $99 in the USA or $130 in Canada.

Happy surfing!

-The Home Geek

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