From the article Circle Is the Parental Control for the Internet I’ve Always Wanted:
Circle is a 3-inch white cube that connects to your Wi-Fi network. The $99 device allows you to filter content, add time restrictions, and see activity reports for every device on your network. It’s like God Mode for your household’s Wi-Fi devices. You simply plug in Circle’s power cord, use your iPhone or iPad to connect it to your router over Wi-Fi, and set up each family member’s settings in the Circle app.
Instead of putting up invisible technology walls for our kids to yell at, why not instead encourage conversation? Why not have a nice chat with our kids about time limits, tech fatigue, and why some YouTube videos are just not that great to watch? I think that in the long run these are the kinds of conversations we should have with each other.
My son Finn (age 6 almost 7) is nuts about Five Nights at Freddy’s. He wants to play it all the time. He wants to watch YouTube videos of people playing it. He wants to be immersed in that world. And you know what? For the most part, that’s ok. After giving him access to the full YouTube experience, after a few months we had a chat with him about how we were going to change his experience and allow him to only use the YouTube Kids app. We told him about how he wouldn’t be able to see many of the videos he was watching but he now had a selection of different videos. Was it difficult to explain? Yes. Explaining why the phrase “fucking holy shitballs” shouldn’t be used in every situation to a six year old is tough but in the end he got it. The best part? The YouTube Kids app has shown him a whole new world of the Five Nights at Freddy’s game. This new world can be seen in the videos that Finn is making these days:
Have a chat instead of putting up invisible technology walls that your kids will be pissed at you for putting up. A conversation between human beings is an amazing thing. If you do decide to go the route of Circle or any kind of technology time limit content blocking thing, I suggest you have conversations about it before you put the system in place.
PS: Yes I do realize that by writing this blog post I am in some way “spreading the idea” of Circle and that a few people may read this and go “I should get that for my kids!” I don’t care to have this debate with anyone.