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Circle Helps Families Redefine Internet Use

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Recently, I downloaded the Kindle FreeTime app for my Kindle Fire. It allows my boys to essentially have their own Kindles within my Kindle, complete with parent controls and set time limits on games, books, and apps.

It’s worked beautifully. The boys are slowly getting acquainted with technology, but I don’t have to worry about them racking up Angry Birds charges by accidentally clicking through to the Internet. And the time limits I’ve already programmed in keep us from fighting over when Kindle time is done.

This is great for my kids now, but how am I going to help them manage that time as they get older? And, frankly, my husband and I need a little control over our devices, too. With our jobs, it’s really easy to get sucked into social media, emails, and texts, even during our limited family time.

It’s one of those problems I have, but I didn’t really realize I had it until I got an email explaining Circle. All at one time, I was made aware of the problem AND the solution. I love that.

Circle works as a kind of middleman between the home router and the different devices used by family members. Through an iOS app, the administrator can manage everything from how long someone can use social media to which category of websites kids are allowed to access. There is also a “pause” mode, ensuring a device-free dinner or family time.

I know what you’re thinking. “My kids can figure out how disable that in 2 seconds flat.”

The team at Circle has thought of that. The device has no off button, so it can’t be turned off. If it is unplugged from the wall, it continues to run on the internal battery. When that battery starts to die, the administrator receives a notification on his or her cell phone. For now, that’s as failsafe as it gets.

Using Circle in the home can ensure that everyone is learning to manage their online time responsibly, adults as well as children.

“As a parent, we have an obligation to learn how to live with technology and help our children explore the internet in a balanced, safe and smart way,” said Circle founder and CMO, Crystal Wiley in a statement. “Circle empowers me to stay on top of and effectively examine my household’s internet habits, and provides tools to improve our family’s online experience.”

Taking a page from Apple’s playbook, the team at Circle has made the device simple and beautiful. The tiny box will fit into the décor of any home, without all the wires and black boxes we typically associate with technology.

Circle recently announced a new Kickstarter campaign, aimed at raising the money they need to bring the product fully to market in 2014. As of publication, they were at X of their $250,000. If you’re like me and thinking, “Hey, I didn’t realize I need that, but I do!” head over and pledge a few dollars.

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