You may have noticed that lately it seems that kids are using gadgets younger and younger. Tablets are in everyone’s hands and cellphones grace the wish lists of children in elementary school. Teens communicate via a photo on Instagram and emojis on text, and every day someone comes up with the new “must have” app – Twitter, Snapchat, Whisper, YikYak, and the list goes on.
As a parent, how do you keep up with the ever-evolving list of what is safe and what isn’t? And how can you set up digital parameters that will keep your 10-year-old safe from certain sites, but allow your 16-year-old more freedom?
The first answer to those questions is to communicate. To set boundaries as a family, and to agree to honor those boundaries. But there are also tools you can utilize to assist you in protecting your children from the dark corners of the internet, because, as the memes say, what is seen cannot be unseen.
Enter a product from, of all companies, Disney. Circle Media has partnered with Disney to create a device that can help you keep your kids more accountable on the web: Circle with Disney ($99, available from meetcircle.com). Circle allows you to track where your kids are going, block sites you don’t want them to see, limit their screen time, and turn the internet off at night. It sets up easily by plugging into a power outlet (no wiring to your router necessary), and you can manage it from your smartphone.
And here is where Circle really shines: you can set up profiles for every member of your house, along with pre-set filter levels (pre-k, kid, teen, adult, or none). The Kid filter, for example, allows access to PBS and Club Penguin, while blocking YouTube. Teens get access to Instagram and Snapchat. And Circle can filter entire categories of sites, like online shopping and explicit content, and can also assign time limits to categories (like 30 minutes of YouTube or an hour of Minecraft). Circle also has an eight-hour battery life, so just unplugging it won’t set the house free from Circle’s limits.
Even more good news? Circle Go can do the same thing with smartphones, even outside the home.
Teaching kids to make good choices definitely goes a long way when it comes to internet safety, but ensuring that not everything in the world that people put on the internet is delivered into your home is also another.
reblogged from February 2016