There are two teenagers in my house. You know what that means – emotions, clothes, friends, phones, tablets and computers. My husband and I know all too well what too much screen time does to people – kids and adults! We talk about it all the time, to each other and to our teenagers! Our kids know they have a limit on how much time they spend on their devices. However, they are VERY good about not self-regulating (of-course) if we don’t remember to clock their time!! It has become a constant struggle!! They will quietly sneak off to their rooms with their phone and we get busy doing things… and BOOM it is three hours later and they are still on their device. OR – they switch from phone to tablet and claim they have not been on it very long. And then the fights start…
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Then I heard about the new device by Disney – the Disney Circle. I began hearing about it a few months ago. It is a device that is supposed to limit time online and you can allow (or not) specific programs and content by person. It sounded great, but I thought it really was for younger kids – and not teenagers.
Disney Circle for Teenagers
I bought one on Black Friday through Amazon, and I was skeptical, but I knew I could return it!! As soon as it got delivered, I set it up. And I didn’t tell my kids. And I am pretty sure they still don’t know what hit them. (insert evil laugh here)
Here is how it works – you plug in the little white box that is the Circle, you load the Disney Circle App on your phone (or other device). It finds the Circle in your home, it walks you through connecting it to your internet… and then you are off and running. You have to define the profile for each person in your home, and then assign the devices to each person’s profile.
I had some troubles at first – because – wow – the number of devices it found in my home was a bit overwhelming (Hopper’s, Alexa’s, Roku’s….)! In fact, I accidentally set our Smart-TV to have a bedtime of 9pm, and turned my tablet off after 8pm. Whoops. Trial and Error! So, once some of those issues got straightened out… it was fun to see what happened! I set my kids settings for two hours total on school days. The internet shuts off for them at 9pm SHARP and back on again at 7:30am.
The sheer number of settings that you can choose is fabulous! I can set a filter for mature content, I can stop them from visiting YouTube (or any other programs/apps). You can have default settings based on age ranges, and then even go in a ‘tweak’ it more to your own standards! I love the flexibility and the control it gives a parent!!
I will never forget the first day – they came to us and said – “is something wrong with the internet? My phone isn’t working.” Wrong? No, nothing is wrong. The next day …. “I was watching a movie on Netflix and it just shut off.” Were you watching for more than two hours? “It was only my second movie today!” Hmmmm, that’s too bad. And then they figured out that I had done something. They were not sure what… but I had done something. So, we had a great talk about how we set a two hour time limit and ‘what I did’ will ensure the time limit is followed. The most incredible part – is that it will track time across devices!! So – no more cheating!! AND – I receive a notification when my kids reach their time limit for the day!
It took about a week to adjust. But it has been a FAMILY changing adjustment! We spend more time together, the girls play games together, we find more creative things to do instead of sticking our faces in front of a device! The girls now accept the requirements. The great thing about the Disney Circle is that we can ‘reward’ with additional time if we want to! I have only done it once since we have had it because we are finding that we don’t need to do that! They are happy putting the device down and finding something else to do!!
So, for all those devices that are under the Christmas tree, you NEED to get one of these to keep your family on track and sane!!