Disclosure: I have been compensated with a Circle device. All opinions are my own
I don’t know about you guys but parenting in the technology age is tough stuff. Trying to monitor the time spent on iPods so it is kept to a minimum gets annoying. Additionally, I find that it is difficult for me to have a sense of peace when my kids are on their devices because I can’t be 100% sure what they are viewing is what I would deem appropriate. There are not endless hours in my day to preview all the apps they play or Minecraft videos they watch to assure there are no f-bombs being dropped on their innocent (ha!) ears. I want to trust them with more device responsibility yet I don’t trust what is on the internet.
This has led me to different parental control apps. Nothing I found seemed to meet all of my needs when it came to monitoring and controlling iPod time. My search continued…
Then it happened. I saw an ad for Circle with Disney on my Facebook feed. I went to the website and reviewed the information. It seemed to good to be true! I sent them an email and asked them if they would be willing to send me a free Circle with Disney device so I could trial it and report off to all of you. They agreed so here we are!
Circle with Disney is a device that is paired with other electronic devices in the house. Once the devices are paired I control them from an app on my phone. It tells me how much time each of my kids spent in each category from YouTube to games. I can also limit the time they can spend in each category. For example, if I want to give them thirty minutes of game time then I just set the time for thirty minutes. I can set the filter level to ‘kid’ to better protect them from accidentally stumbling upon something that is for an adult. There is a bedtime option so it doesn’t work past a certain time. Evil…I know. Mwahahaha! I can add multiple devices onto Circle so technically, I could mess with my husband and control his device too. <insert sly grin here>. I can actually pause the WiFi connection altogether. It’s pretty amazing.
The other cool thing about Circle with Disney is that if I wanted to have this same control over their devices outside of our home I could buy Circle Go for a nominal fee each month. This would allow all the settings to work even though we were no longer within our home’s WiFi. Right now, we don’t need this because the only time my kids take their iPods somewhere is if we go out to dinner or to some event that we want to be able to enjoy or watch for an extended period of time. Yes, I give my kids screen time at a restaurant. Don’t judge. I get to eat a leisurely meal without kids whining at me the whole time.
My kids generally have to earn iPod time. When Santa brought them each an iPod last year we were newbies with how to manage the time they spent on them and the games they played. We found that the more time the kids spent on their devices the grumpier they became. It got really irritating and I realized we needed to cut back so I decided to create a chore list. Each chore was worth 15 minutes of iPod time for the next day. A kid could only earn up to one hour of iPod time a day. They had two mandatory chores and two they could pick from a list if they wanted additional time. If the chores weren’t done there was no iPod time. It was genius.
Sometimes I throw in 15 minutes of iPod time for random situations. For example, my kids tend to fight about who will sit in the back seat of the car. It drives me insane. So I started throwing out 15 minutes here and there. They never know when a good deed will be rewarded so they fight less about that issue. Again, it was genius. I’m including the chore charts below in case you want an example. They can also lose iPod time so you will see that list there as well.
Now before you think I have it completely together I will tell you that some days are better than others. I do have to remind them to do their chores. They complain and it’s annoying as hell. Some days we are just too busy to get to the chore list. Well, that’s not true, they could make time to do them before school but they choose not to. For this reason, I rarely give a free pass to just use their iPods. I have found that things are getting done around the house that I don’t usually have much time to do or, let’s be honest, wouldn’t think of doing. Like wiping down door handles and light switches to help with germs (especially during cold and flu season). I mean seriously…does anyone do that on the regular?
I like that they have to earn time on their devices and it is not just something they turn on when they get done with school and bury their nose in for the rest of the day. I feel like it is teaching them that being a part of a family carries with it the responsibility to help out and be a team player. They can experience first hand that maintaining a house takes time and work and we all need to pitch in. I’m hoping that it teaches them the importance of cleaning up after themselves since they know the work that goes into cleaning something in the first place. All in all, the system is working great and I do recommend Circle with Disney as it is helpful in managing all of their devices in a super easy way! I definitely have more peace of mind with the device paired to the electronics in our home.
I I have three kids so each of their chore charts looks a bit different as you can see above. They are a bit big but they were not very readable when I had them in a smaller version.
I hope you have found the information about Circle with Disney helpful along with my chore charts. If you stumbled upon this blog you should know that we are pregnancy and parenting focused. In fact, this whole blog came about when we published a book called It’s Really 10 Months: Delivering the Truth About the Glow of Pregnancy and Other Blatant Lies. We loved the experience and decided to print stories from other amazing authors in our second book called It’s Really 10 Months Special Delivery: Stories from Girth to Birth. If you know anyone on this planet who is pregnant you really should consider buying them the books. Seriously, you will be their hero!