Last week, about 100 health experts from more than a dozen organizations sent a letter to Facebook, urging the Silicon Valley titan to discontinue their Messenger Kids app, claiming “younger children are simply not ready to have social media accounts.”
Clearly, the way and the amount children use the internet is important. That’s why many companies are developing exciting new tech that makes parenting on the web easier than ever. Enter Disney’s Circle Go app, which aims to help busy parents manage all the internet traffic their kids will ever see.
What Is Circle Go®?
It all began with Circle, a white cube that Disney offered to parents who wanted to better manage their kids’ online habits. It connects via Wi-Fi and pairs with all sorts of devices without the need of software. You could apply digital filters to block young eyes from inappropriate content, and set time limits, including bedtimes, so that little tykes aren’t up all night, staring into the blue glow of an iPad. This should be especially interesting for all those parents who have found their elementary and middle schoolers awake at 3 am, watching Minecraft videos “like zombies.”
The Circle Go takes all of those same features but extends them anywhere you go using a simple app. This fixes the potential problem of kids leaving the house with their device and connecting to some other network, bypassing the security features of Circle. They can still turn the Circle Go off, if they can figure it out, but it will alert you with a notification so you don’t have to worry.
It also allows you to track how much time is spent on the web, will send push notifications, and because the software is developed by Disney, it allows access to exclusive content from the Magic Kingdom. There’s even a button so you can ‘pause’ the internet!
How Does It Work?
It does all this by using a VPN, or virtual private network, and it will work on up to 10 different iOS or Android devices. Cell phone carrier makes no impact, but there are some caveats. When on the go, Hulu and Netflix will block this VPN, for example, so you can only watch streaming video at home. Some WiFi’s, such as at certain schools, will block VPNs, but 4G LTE will still work.
Unfortunately, for this app to work completely, you do need a Circle, which costs about $99. However, the devices are small, intuitive and easy to set up.
How to Order
A subscription to Circle Go® costs $9.95 per month (about $120 per year), but there’s a 30-day trial period so you can make sure this will work for your home. If you’re not satisfied in that month-long window, Disney will give you a refund.
There are other network monitoring subscription services out there — for example, Symantec Norton’s Family Premier, FamilyTime Premium or ContentWatch’s Net Nanny 7—but Disney is a brand that kids (and parents) really trust.