- The Good
- No subscription fee
- Individual filter options
- Limit time on specific sites, not just the entire web
- Pause Internet access for the whole house
- The Bad
- Hardware could require regular upgrades
- Only works around the house without a Circle Go subscription
Circle with Disney is a new take on parental controls. Instead of the software solution that is more common, Circle offers a hardware solution that controls internet access directly from the router. It intercepts data as it travels between devices and the router, so it can monitor and deny traffic that should be blocked.
Other Parental Control Reviews
Some parental controls cost upwards of $100 per year. Others are much more moderate on an annual basis, but Circle offers a one-time cost of $99 for a solution that could last for years. This puts it solidly in the middle of the shelf for pricing, though there is a Circle Go option that extends the service to 4G LTE devices for an additional $9.95 per month.
- Create individual usage profiles for every user
- Program daily time limits for specific apps and sites
- Set filter levels by age
- Set a BedTime that shuts off the Internet at a preset time
- Pause the Internet for one family member or the whole house
With Circle, you can set the house internet rules and leave Circle to enforce them. If you want the kids to spend less time watching videos, limit them to 90 minutes of videos on YouTube, Netflix, Hulu or other similar sites. Tired of fighting about bedtime? Let Circle shut down the internet on time, every time. Plus, you can add some time if the kids are nearly done with a film or you want to reward good behavior. You have nearly total control over internet access and how it is used.
- Remote Access
- Remote management
Circle only functions around the home. This means you don’t need remote access to make changes when you can connect wirelessly and update settings. If you want remote access, you’ll want a service like Circle Go, which extends all of your device settings onto 4G LTE networks, so the same settings apply at home and on the go. You can manage setting changes remotely, but this only applies to devices connected to your home Wi-Fi.
- Supported Devices
Circle is compatible with virtually any router, but the control mechanism is through an app-based interface. That means you will need a device that can run on Android or iOS to change the settings and set up user profiles. Both the Android and iOS apps offer the same functionality, and you can even use a PC if you have an emulator that allows you to run Android apps.
Circle with Disney: User Reviews
How Does Circle with Disney Work?
Most parental control solutions you see are software-based. They act as a kind of firewall, denying access to inappropriate content. Circle is different. Using a method more commonly found among hacking tool boxes, Circle intercepts traffic as it moves between the router and the device, denying access to any content that is not allowed.
By using this method, Circle inspects all of the data passing through the router, limiting the utility of workarounds. Whereas other parental control solutions might fail due to a browser plug-in or add-on, Circle avoids the issue with a hardware solution.
What Makes Circle Stand Out?
All decent parental control solutions enable internet filtering and individual user profiles, but many stop there. With Circle, you not only get the great filtering that blocks pornography and profanity, but you also gain direct control over individual browsing activity.
Remember when parents would take the remote control and set the TV channel? Circle works a lot like that, giving you the ability to pause the internet or shut it off, without any discussion at all. Circle puts an internet remote on your mobile device.
Along with the ability to filter out content, you also get the chance to set time restrictions for specific sites. You can say “no more Facebook tonight,” or “you’ve watched enough YouTube” and really make it stick with Circle filtering enabled.
Scheduled OffTime and BedTime also take the internet off the table when you want the kids to focus on homework or go outside and play. Turn the internet off during dinner or special events. This will help kids find a better balance between online and offline life.
Game systems are another big plus to the Circle system. When using Circle, you can limit internet access through gaming consoles the same way you do through computers or mobile devices. You don’t need to see what games your kids play or directly monitor their play time – Circle does it for you.
Common Reviews of Circle with Disney
Circle with Disney brings in an average rating of 3.8-stars, which is not bad for a new device. However, there are a few issues that deserve a mention. You’ll want to make sure your router is compatible with Circle before you install it. If there is a compatibility issue, it will not work and may interfere with connectivity. If it is compatible, installation is quick and easy. Most users have no trouble starting it up right out of the box.
Once it’s installed, it works as advertised, though some of the functions may require a bit more management than is ideal. For example, if you extend bedtime on Monday, you’ll need to remember to reset it for Tuesday. You’ll also want to give the kids a heads-up before bedtime. When the preset time is reached, there’s no notice before the internet shuts off.
Is Circle with Disney Right for Me?
The bedtime, pause and time limits offered by Circle with Disney make it an ideal solution for parents with children old enough to experiment with workarounds. After all, a parental control solution only works when it’s installed on the device, right? Not with Circle. With Circle, even if your kids bring in a new device, you can set it to deny access until the device has a matching profile.
So, if your kids are old enough to be creative about their attempts to circumvent your parental controls, Circle might be what you need. Not only does it control access to inappropriate sites, but it can also limit game time by cutting off the internet connection to gaming consoles. That’s something that virtually no other parental control systems offer. By directly controlling access to the internet, you avoid a lot of potential problems, like plug-ins that ignore access restrictions or guest accounts with no limitations on them.