Disney has announced the launch of Circle with Disney, a new device that helps parents monitor their family’s digital activity through content filtering, screen time controls and a bedtime setting for every Internet-enabled device in the house.
The $99 hardware device was developed by Jelani Memory, Lance Charlish, and Tiebing Zhang and aims to give parents better control over their children’s Internet activity. The startup idea by the three developers was taken on by Disney, who then developed it into Circle With Disney. According to the official Circle with Disney website, the device is reimagining the Internet for families.
Through Circle with Disney, parents can filter the online content and media their children are allowed access to, they can set timers as to how much Internet surfing time each child gets, block ads, check Internet usage history and manage any other Internet-enabled device at home. The white cube pairs with the router’s Wi-Fi connection and can be configured through an app that’s free to download on the App store.
While Circle with Disney is not the first parental control app of its kind, what makes it stand out is its user-friendliness, Sara Perez of TechCrunch writes. It’s autonomous, can be charged through a micro USB, and it doesn’t have to be plugged into a router to work.
Parents can shut down and resume Internet access for their children directly through the app. As its developers point out, Circle’s aim is to make it easier for families to strike a balance between the digital and real world. Circle can pair wirelessly with a home router to gain access to every device in the home network, be it a tablet, a smartphone, a gaming console or a Smart TV, TechTimes says.
Parents can create customized profiles for each Internet user in the house to ensure safe and reasonable Internet usage. Each profile comes with a personalized web dashboard with a feed filled with age-appropriate Disney content.
Parents can set daily usage time for apps like Netflix, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and choose to filter online content by age. Filters include Adult, Teen, Kid and Pre-kid, Mashable reports.
Parents can also monitor their children’s offline app and content consumption. Another feature of Circle with Disney is device locking, the ability for parents to pause Internet access past a certain hour to prevent nighttime surfing, Wired says.
Circle’s 2013 crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter wasn’t successful, something that didn’t prevent Disney from partnering up with its three developers to offer the cube to the public in awareness of parents’ needs to have better oversight of their children’s online activity.
The partnership with Disney also means that each family member can have their own personalized dashboard with age-appropriate content from Disney’s Pixar, Star Wars and Babble media. This feed is accessible through MyCircle, an app that integrates with Circle with Disney.