Thanks to McCormick Spice company, I was gifted a $50 Amazon gift card for taking part in their online customer advisory surveys on Christmas morning! Bonus points for the perfect timing but I’m still partial to Epicure at this point.
I went on Amazon.ca after seeing a Facebook advertisement for Circle. I was super surprised at the genius in what it said it could offer: a simple plug-in and go device that can control the internet for every other device in your house.
I don’t think I’m alone in this battle: I am constantly nagging my kids (ages 11 and 14) to get off their electronics. Even though I limit their screen time, it seems like as soon as I allow it there is this turn. It’s like crack for kids. (Disclaimer: Not that I really know what crack is like!) This drug-like system that takes them away from this physical world and transforms them into comatose hybrids that look like my children. They then react quickly when I tell them to remove themselves from their alternate realities (how many tabs and screens can you have open at once – no wonder the internet is dragging!!!) It seems easier to let them have it than fight for their attention to real life (dinner, chores, homework, lessons, appointments etc.). Yet being the good mom that I am, I don’t back down from a challenge most times. I’m here to raise good people on planet Earth – not some Matrix they are not old enough to choose to be in at their every whim!
So being the frugal person who doesn’t drop dollars like it grows on trees (or falls like snow in Canada these days!), I went on to Circle’s website to really discover if I could entrust them with my money, internet and sanity.
I was delighted to discover that not only can I limit the internet for each device, there were SO MANY problems that were solved with this little square box (love the irony of it being called Circle!).
Here’s what I thought were some super cool things Circle can do:
- Everything is controlled by an app on my cell phone
- Every device can be assigned to a specific family member or user (kids’ friends beware!)
- Each user has their own “rules” that you can assign
- Rules include limiting internet times per day and for bedtimes
- Certain apps/websites (Facebook, YouTube, Minecraft, Netflix, Instagram, etc.) can have set limits per day – that means no binge watching Vampire Diaries all night kiddos
- Limits can be different on weekdays and weekends
- Ultimate pause button exists on the app & for each user – When I call for dinner, I will definitely get a quicker response!
- Rewards can be granted such as extra time, later bedtimes, etc.
- Chore apps can be linked to Circle to ensure that beds get made before electronics are allowed (I’m going to enroll in a few of these apps too – what a super great discovery!)
So I figured – what the hay! I have $50 in free “play money” & I have free Amazon Prime 2-day shipping, so for out of pocket $62.99 I was willing to gift myself some possible sanity. (Currently Circle retails for $129.99 Canadian but is on sale for $99.99 on Amazon.ca)
It arrived in the guaranteed time and I quickly tore open the package. It was so cute and somehow in a Tiffany blue box. (Good play Disney, good play for those moms you target so well!).
The best thing is that it is literally a plug-and-play device. The installation was so simple and it walks you through everything on the app. It was the easiest thing – exactly what was promised. Within 3 minutes, Circle was working, app was installed and the basic setup had begun.
How many devices do you have in your household? Be a little patient as Circle will recognize them all (Apple or android, it doesn’t matter, plus printers and more I discovered!). The names they come at can be cryptic but that’s not Circle’s fault. I figured out the printer by looking at the manufacturer (Canon). Honestly I really didn’t have to do anything – this little square box had already won my heart for how much work and think-less process / system it has. Thank you on behalf of parents everywhere!
A bonus feature the actual device has is temporary backup power. Not for power outages, silly! If your kids are smart, they might think to pull the power cord in order to deactivate Circle and gain some extra screen time behind your back (oh because your kid is such an angel…..). Don’t tell them, but it sends a message to the app letting you know it happened. Ha ha! Good play Disney, good play! Win for the parents again.
As parents, we can get caught up in the internet too. So we can actually be a user and set limits (“rules”) for ourselves as well. Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram/etc. won’t suck us in for more than ____ hours a day if we set up limits in our user profile.
So as I sit with my morning coffee, I’m waiting for the bustle of my children to start. 8am on weekends is when Circle allows them the internet (they need their sleep!) and I expect my 14 year old won’t venture out of her bed until she hits her limit and gets upset that she doesn’t know how this episode of Riverside ended. Well, it’s her own darn fault… maybe looking at nail polish designs on Pinterest for 10 minutes beforehand wasn’t such a great idea now, was it?
I’m raising good people, and part of that is letting them discover within limits how to make choices for themselves. It’s kind of like teaching them the currency of time: you should budget accordingly so that you don’t end up with a zero bank balance before the end of the day (or pay period /month) wondering where it all got spent.
With Circle, I think my family will have definitely less arguments over screen time plus it will give my mind and voice a much needed nag-break. It’s a great tool to separate the rules, rule maker (um, parent) and the choices and self-control growing kids have themselves. Well done, Circle.
Please Note: No company sponsored this post. The money was spent by me and was an actual personal purchase.