Friday, September 15, 2017

Quick Review: “Circle with Disney” home Internet filter

What it is: A device that filters adult and harmful websites for all devices on your home wi-fi network. Useful for households with kids.


It’s actually pretty small.

Setup: It was as easy as plugging the Circle into wall power and into my network router, then installing the Circle’s iOS app on my phone and going through a few straightforward prompts.

What it does: If your kids try to access the Internet outside of a range of hours you set, or attempt to visit a site that falls outside a set of “safe” site categories that you designate, they’ll get a “You’ve been filtered!” site on their device instead of the site they were trying to visit.  (They might instead get a general “connection error” message if they were using an app, such as Netflix, instead of a web browser.) You can also manually “pause” the Internet for your kids at any time!

For older kids and parents: You can designate each device in your house as belonging to a particular person, and then designate each person as belonging to a particular age group, e.g. “Young kids,” “teens,” or “adults.” Each group can be assigned their own time restrictions and permitted site categories.  You can also tell Circle to just ignore particular devices (such as printers).

Management: All settings are configured through the Circle’s smartphone app. I’ve found it to be easy-to-use. 


Disclaimer: Not my family!

Key benefit: Circle works on all devices that use your home wi-fi to connect to the Internet. It’s therefore better than, say, Internet-filtering software that runs on your computer, but necessarily leaves your other devices – game consoles, tablets, phones, smart TVs, and anything else – unfiltered.

Corresponding key drawback: Circle works only on devices that use your home wi-fi to connect to the Internet. So if your kids have phones with active service plans, they can bypass Circle just by turning off their wi-fi. They could also bring their device to a friend’s house, or connect to a neighbor’s open wi-fi network, if there is one.

Recommended? Recommended! Easy-to-use, effective, and having no ongoing subscription fee, Circle has proven to be a great solution over the six months or so that I’ve been using it at home.

Shop: Circle with Disney @