The Easiest Way To Limit Screen Time {We’ve found it!}

One of the biggest issues facing parents today is how to limit screen time to healthy, constructive levels.

Ever feel like monitoring your kids screen time is a full time job? You feel like a police officer instead of a guidance counselor? It’s can feel overwhelming, time consuming and frustrating. We’ve found a tool to make it easier.

Don’t get me wrong. No tool can fix the screen time problem at your house without your participation. As parents we’ve got to tow the line, model the behavior, and have ONGOING talks with our kids about building healthy habits. I wrote a little bit about the guiding principles at our house here:

The reality is, we can talk all we want about not eating too many cookies, and if we fill all of the cupboards of our house with cookies, avoiding those cookies is going to be a whole lot harder.

By designing for laziness, you can stop or reduce a behavior. For example, put bad snacks in garage on shelf that requires a ladder.”

— BJ Fogg

So let’s do a little better. Let’s create digital environments that limit screen time to healthy levels and leave us all happier.

Designing our physical and digital environments to set us all up for success is KEY! We want our kids to understand “the why” in all of this, and then back them up by setting them up for success . . . guard rails to keep them safe and help them establish good screen time habits while we’ve still got them under our roof.

One of the tools we’ve found that is our very favorite is Circle. It simply takes me out of the role of police officer and let’s me stick with the role of guidance counselor {most of the time}. Consider Circle your digital assistant screen time manager.

Our Favorite Tool To Limit Screen Time

Drum roll please . . . Circle!

There are 2 products: Circle Home and Circle Go

What’s the difference? We’ll break it down. Here’s our Circle With Disney Review:

Circle Home

Circle Home pairs wirelessly with your home Wi-Fi and allows you to manage every device on your network. Using the Circle app, families can create unique profiles for each family member. From here, kids will have a connected experience that is designed just for them.”

The Circle Home is basically your parental control router (that thing that manages your home network).

That means as a parent I can:

  • Set time limits both on the device and on individual apps and platforms
  • Assign a bedtime
  • Filter the bad stuff
  • Create rewards and incentives
  • Hit pause on the internet
  • Set “offtime” or screen free hours
  • Track and monitor usage {Like, I can see exactly where my kids are spending time online broken down by app, platform and website}

Even better? I can tweak these settings for every person in our home. My 9 year old has her own profile and my 15 year old has his own profile. Different kids, different settings — ONE place to manage it {insert praise hands}!

Basically, Circle combines the best features of the apps and services we’ve tried in the past, all in one place.

There was once a drawback . . . in the past Circle really only worked inside my home, when my kids were within the bounds of my wireless router. Now that’s changed. Enter Circle Go!

Circle Go

Circle Go does all that stuff I just outlined above, but now it extends beyond the walls (and wireless network) of my house. Yep – that means that while my kids are hanging out with their friends on a Friday night all those same guard rails are in place {more praise hands}! We think it’s the best parental control app for iPhone and Android.

“Apps are the new Internet, and managing them wherever your kid goes is a must for parents. Filters and Time Limits apply anywhere and everywhere, even for apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube.”

The Circle App connects to both Circle Home and Circle Go and you manage everything from there.

FAQ

What devices can connect with Circle / Circle Go?

iOS and Android! You can get a full list HERE

How much does it cost?

A Circle Home is a one time cost of $99 and Circle Go is $4.99 / month for up to 10 devices. Worth it? YES.

How hard is it to install?

Honestly, so much easier than most of the parental control apps I’ve tried to set up to limit screen time and manage our devices. Set up is simple and the design of the app is intuitive. A degree in tech ninja NOT required.

Bottom Line

I’m deeply involved in my kids tech habits. I’ve got to be. But I also don’t like feeling like a one woman show, personal screen time tracker, internet timer, living breathing parental control app. Circle simply sets the environment on all the devices to make making good choices easier.

You’ll still have work to do, you’ve still got to talk to your kids about technology (a lot), you’ve still got to put your phone down yourself, BUT you’ve got help.

Disclosure

This post is sponsored by Circle with Disney. But guess what? We pitched them – not the other way around. Our readers are constantly asking how we limit screen time in our homes. We reached out to Circle because they are legitimately our favorite parental controls, screen time management tool out there and we wanted to share.

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Brian
Brian

Wow those are great tips! I will definitely look into those apps.

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