Any parent with little to no technical experience will tell you that setting up some form of parental controls is not an easy task. Even setting aside all the research a parent must do before committing to a certain service or product, actually managing the system can be a pain. A new device called “Circle with Disney” wants to alleviate that pain with a simple all-in-one solution that covers your entire network and can monitor the activity of your children without confusing anyone.
Circle with Disney is a $99 cube which connects to your network and then monitors web activity while blocking those without permissions. The device works by inspecting network packets from the connected devices, a technique which is most commonly used by hackers in order to extract data. Of course, founder and CEO Jelani Memory promises that no data gathered from the device will leave the confines of your home.
The independent Circle Media is a relatively new company but the partnership with Disney makes it easier to trust it. The story behind the partnership is also pretty great. Memory originally made a Kickstarter campaign for Circle which failed horribly. However, it caught the attention of Disney and the rest, as they say, is history. Apart from propelling Circle into the mainstream, the parternship also means that users will get access to content from Disney including video clips, games, promos, trailers and more. The content comes from many different Disney brands such as Disney Animation Studios, Pixar and Star Wars.
Memory does not want Circle to be thought of as a tech nanny or a form of parental control but it does include a lot of the features you would think of as “standard”. You can filter web content, block ads, view reports on user activity called Insights, pause the Internet in your entire house, block specific devices from accessing the web and even set a “bedtime” which will drop the Internet at some point during the night and only enable it again in the morning. Everything can be monitored by an app which is seemingly limited to iOS devices for now. The goal is to keep everything simple and promote actual conversations with your kids but how you will use the device depends on you.