One of the most difficult areas to navigate as parents is how to protect and guide our children when it comes to internet usage. The exposure to not just pornography, but a variety of damaging materials is a constant risk as many of those industries actively seek ways to get on your child’s screens to get them hooked before they are even prepared to recognize what they are being shown!
In the past we have shared tips like not allowing internet connected devices in your child’s room, even to go as far as having a central location that phones and tablets are kept when everyone is home so they aren’t a distraction. But the truth is, your kids (and you), will need (and want) to connect during the day. And how many of you have had the conversation that starts with, “How much have you watched already today?” to be answered, “I JUST started!!!” So while we need to be deliberately vigilant to guard what our kids are exposed to (and how much they are using), having a simple tool to assist in that process is valuable.
This past year my family (Adam) of four kids (ages 9, 7,4,1) had been slipping into the bad habit of too much screen time, and we did not have a good way to always be on top of really “counting” how much they had watched already. Not to mention the growing concerns as they get older of greater access and content. Looking for a tool to help us we found one that we have absolutely LOVED.
The Circle is a wifi box that acts as the connecting point for all internet devices in your home. It comes with a simple and slick app that you, as the parent, install on your own phone (or internet enabled device) that allows you to monitor all internet usage and set limits on your whole house’s internet and set specific limits on individual devices.
To make it easy to understand, let me give you a few examples of how the Borsays use it at our house:
Content Filter: No website above a teen (PG-13) rating is accessible at any point from any device in our home. So, instead of getting on everyone’s specific device, our wifi just doesn’t work when you purposely (or even accidentally) click on something you shouldn’t.
WiFi Device Shut offs- Each of our kids have a device that they use, we set a timer on it. They can’t watch a movie or play a game during any time that we have set them to be off.
Watching Time Limits- Instead of arguing about how much they have watched, we just set time limits. When the house has watched a total of 1 hour of youtube, youtube stops working. After the house watches 1 hour of netflix, it stops working. I don’t have to debate how much they have already had; when it turns off, its done, period, fin!!
Our goal in the Next Gen ministry is to partner with you, the parents, as you take on the primary responsibility for discipling your children to know and follow Christ. We believe that this is a wonderful tool to help your family guard what goes on in your house. And, a wonderful tool to get control of how much time our kids (and WE!!) waste on entertainment. If you have any questions about the Circle, feel free to ask Adam and Tori about it at any time!
Adam Borsay and the Next Gen Team