When it comes to Internet safety and kids, one cannot be too careful. I have good kids. The kind who don’t go looking for trouble, and for that I am extremely grateful. But even when you don’t go looking for it, trouble can find you on the Internet. Especially if you are young, naive and impressionable. So how do you teach kids Internet safety rules?
I received a free Circle With Disney to review for this post.
When we first let my daughter have access to the family computer, we locked it down. I mean really locked it down. She could access a total of three websites – DisneyJunior, Starfall and Reading Eggs. She couldn’t even Google. That’s it.
That plan worked for a while, but this year we entered the world of school projects. And after the first project of asking for permission (via an app) to Google Thomas Jefferson, we knew we had to loosen the reigns, but I still don’t want her stumbling across things she has no business learning about.
Enter Circle With Disney.
Circle With Disney Review
Circle is a device that helps parents filter content, manage screen time and stay informed about what their kids do online. It’s not a replacement for your router, instead it works with your existing hardware. So there is no need to worry about setting up and configuring all of your devices to a new or separate wireless network.
We were up and running in about 5 minutes using my husband’s iPhone to configure the device. You’ll then need to create a profile for each of your kids, which consists of adding a name, adding a photo (optional) and choosing what filter level you want to set; pre-K, kid, teen, adult or none.
Once selected you can fine tune the filters to allow or block a platform, such as Disney, FaceTime, Musical.ly, Facebook, Netflix or YouTube. You can also allow or block general categories such as App Stores & Downloads, Online Games and Search & Reference. The final step is to assign the devices on your wireless network to each profile to ensure content is filtered appropriately. That’s it, nothing else is needed to be done on each device, making the process seamless for everyone.
Circle offers other powerful features to monitor online activity including the ability to review details about where each family member spends their time online by platform, category and website. Circle also helps parents enforce daily time limits with complete control to customize how much time your kids spend on any given platform and even set a total online time for the day. You can even set a bed time for each family member and their devices.
I love that you can also pause the Internet at any time for a user, so if a device needs to go in “time out” it can be done at any moment.
For a one time cost of $99, Circle provides a ton of value for parents who want to ensure their kids spend their time online safely and provides complete control over what they can and cannot access. The only (optional) additional cost is to add a Circle Go subscription ($9.95/month for up to 10 devices) to extend the Circle filtering and functionality when family members and their devices are outside of the home on any 4G LTE or other WiFi network connection. We tested CircleGo on our daughter’s iPod Touch, which was very simple to install and setup by downloading the My Circle app from the iTunes store.
This device definitely receives my techy husband’s seal of approval. Even he was surprised by how easy it was to set up and manage. He expected there to be an additional wireless network setup just for the devices we wanted to filter, but the Circle integrated seamlessly with everything we already have set up in our home.
My husband also wondered what would happen if the kids just unplugged it, but Circle has parents covered by sending an instant notification to parents through the app if the Circle is disconnected from your home WiFi for any reason.
Learn more about Circle With Disney from Best Buy.
Teach Kids Internet Safety Rules
In addition to using Circle With Disney to protect our daughters from dangers they could stumble across, it is important to teach them to be Internet savvy. Not every house will have Circle With Disney (although they should), so it is important to teach kids Internet safety rules too. So I have given my daughters important online safety rules, which we review regularly.
- Never give our your name, address, phone number, email, password or school name online.
- Always tell an adult if something makes you uncomfortable.
- Never open emails, files or links from a stranger.
- Always check with an adult before downloading.
- Never send a picture of yourself to a stranger.
- Always tell an adult if someone from online asks you to meet in person.
- Never respond to people you don’t know online.
- Always use your head when online.
- Never tell a stranger details about your life or where you are going.
- Always be kind to others.
- Never buy or order anything without adult supervision.
Did I miss any important Internet safety rules?