I Have Found A Device To Monitor and Control My Kids' Screen Time Without Arguing (It's Worth It)

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When it comes to electronics, I used to be super strict with my kids. I didn’t want them to turn into little zombies, faces glued to a screen, brains leaking out of their ears. But…reality. Screens are everywhere. We use them like TVs now, they’re on constantly, for both entertainment and educational purposes. My daughter even uses an online app to practice for her piano lessons.

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But my kids’ favorite thing to do online, by far, is watch YouTube videos. Most parents are aware of the various YouTube sensations that have popped up surrounding everything from Pokémon to Minecraft to Disney cosplay. Just about every kid has their favorite. For mine, it’s Minecraft videos. Stampylongnose, anyone? (Please tell me it’s not just my kids.)

I never minded my kids watching these videos — they give my kids great ideas for structures to build in their Minecraft worlds, a game I love because it fosters creativity and encourages spatial awareness. The problem I was having with YouTube is how quickly it could lead my kids down a rabbit hole into R-rated content. The content wasn’t the only issue. Too often I’d look up from what I was doing only to realize my kids had been online for three hours (or more. Don’t judge me).

We needed a solution. My husband is the techie in our family, so he researched for a couple of days for a tool we could use to shield our children from dangerous content, limit their time online, and provide us with monitoring capability. Circle came out head and shoulders above the competition.

Like just about everything Disney does, Disney with Circle is user-friendly and easy to set up. It recognizes every device on a home’s Wi-Fi, allowing us to select which devices we monitor. It saves our kids’ browsing history by category, allowing us to see where they spend the most time. We can set filters for different users, so our 11-year-old is allowed to view more content than his 7-year-old sister.

We’re able to set time limits, which has had the unexpected and delightful benefit of decreasing arguments about when to get off. When time’s up, time’s up. Sorry, kids! But we can add time back on if needed. Sometimes my son will use up his internet time, but then need to get back online to research a subject for a school project. No problem — my husband and I can go right to our Circle app on our phone and add time to our son’s account. It’s so easy.

Every parent should get this. Even I, a self-professed tech dummy, can figure out the Disney with Circle. And I know my kids are safe when they’re on the internet. I honestly can’t even put a price on that.

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