Keeping children safe from online dangers has just become easier thanks to Circle, a device from Disney and Circle Media that helps parents stay informed about their children’s online activities.
Circle — which looks like a small router — connects with your Wi-Fi network to manage when devices can connect to the Internet as well as which apps and websites can be accessed. It pairs wirelessly with your router, then manages all the website requests from all devices in the home. All Web traffic runs from the home Wi-Fi so Circle can stop requests to go to sites that are off-limits.
Different settings can also be applied to each user so you can customize according to different ages or have one setting for children and another for the adults.
The $99 device, which is currently compatible only with iOS, uses end-to-end encryption for data and has a battery inside so it can’t be turned off by a child.
“So what special ingredient makes Circle work so seamlessly? Well, Circle uses a technique called, ‘ARP spoofing,’ which sounds alarming, right? And it’s true, ARP spoofing can be used by ‘black hats’ to compromise network security,” reads the website.“But the technique can also be used for good, like with Circle. Circle uses ARP spoofing to automatically monitor all traffic on the home network, without the need for any special configuration. Pretty cool huh?!”
As the website puts it, “your data lives on the device,” which means surfing history stays stored on Circle rather than in the cloud.
“We don’t sell this data, we don’t mine it; heck, we don’t even access it except to relay it to your iOS app,” the website reads.
When it comes to setting limits for you children, you can choose how much time your child is allowed to be online.
Circle, once a time limit is set, keeps track of how long your kids are online. Once the limit is reached, your children will no longer have access to Wi-Fi. Circle also adds up the time from device-to-device, so your kids can’t cheat.
“One hour actually means one hour,” the website says.
Parents can even set time limits for specific activities, such as 15 minutes for games, 15 minutes for Facebook and 30 minutes for Netflix.
When your child reaches a limit in a particular category, Circle, if asked, will send you a notification.
Children can also view their time limits through MyCircle so they know how much time they have left per activity.
Another great feature is the BedTime setting.
A different time can be set for each member of your family, causing the devices to disconnect from the Internet until morning. For instance, your eight-year-old’s device could be set to disconnect at 8 p.m. while your 14-year-old’s device could be set for 9:30 p.m.
Children who try to surf after their bedtime will get a reminder that their device will not connect again until morning.
When it comes to filtering content, you have the choice of using age pre-sets: Pre-K, kid, teen or adult. The filters are default settings that have been customized for each age group, but can be customized to suit individual needs. You can choose to customize filters according to websites as well.
And there are no workarounds, so kids cannot access inappropriate content.
“For the stuff that your kids should never see like mature and explicit content, Circle has you covered,” the site says. “When a profile is set to anything but ‘Adult,’ the bad stuff doesn’t even show up as an option to enable and is handily filtered by Circle.”
You can even choose to pause the Internet if you want some uninterrupted time with your kids, or if they need to do chores or homework without distractions.
Circle can also block ads and default safe search on both Google and Bing to ensure nothing inappropriate pops up.Those who purchase Circle receive the device, a power adapter, micro-USB cable and an Ethernet cable.So far the device is only available to U.S. iOS users. Android compatible versions are to be available in 2016.
Circle can also block ads and default safe search on both Google and Bing to ensure nothing inappropriate pops up.
Those who purchase Circle receive the device, a power adapter, micro-USB cable and an Ethernet cable. So far the device is only for U.S. iOS users. Android compatible versions are to be available in 2016.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.
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