For parents, the challenges of managing “screen time” and web access for your children is one of the toughest there can be. There are apps that can help by device, but nothing can be more comprehensive than protection across your entire home network.
In the US Disney have a device called “Circle”, a small box that plugs into your network and provides parents with the ability to monitor and control device usage. That box is not available here, however for owners of many Netgear products the software is about to roll out to devices via a firmware upgrade.
Circle built into your router means all traffic on your network can be checked and monitored, allowing you to not only see what’s happening but also put in place restrictions on time and content by device.
I’ve been testing Disney Circle on the new Netgear R7000p. This new model is available for $349 and offers great WiFI speed and range across your home with features like MU-MIMO which enhances connectivity for multiple devices streaming content.
The setup was extremely simple, all done via your smartphone app.
Once configured, you are able to create profiles for each of your children, and assign devices to those profiles.
If your kids have just one device you simply find it on your network among a list of connected devices. Each child profile can contain multiple devices, plus you can create a profile to suit your entire family.
This means adding your Smart TV, your Xbox or Playstation games console can have parental controls to prevent inappropriate websites from being accessed.
Amazingly, you can view the actual apps your kids are using on a day by day basis simply by logging into your Circle app.
Additionally, you can set daily time limits to ensure your kids are keeping to your family rules.
If you are worried about your kids using devices late in the evening, you can set a bed time to deactivate devices, plus you can manually pause devices – perhaps if the little ones have been misbehaving.
On the flip side, if your kids have been good – reward them with additional time!
There’s a huge amount of data available, but it’s all presented in a simple to use app.
Using Circle requires a compatible Netgear device, currently the R7000p is getting a firmware update shortly, plus the Orbi home WiFi systems will get an update to include Circle soon also.
Ongoing use of Circle requires a $7.49 monthly subscription but that’s well worth it for parents in this digital age.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.