I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links. Our family has a long, mostly frustrating, history with internet filtering devices. Years ago, we used one that blocked so much, my husband couldn’t do his work. Last year, we put one on just the kids’ computer, but it, too, was overly sensitive and could be easily paused. However, I recently was able to review Circle Home Plus, and I think we’ve finally found a internet filtering system that works for us.
About Circle Home Plus
Circle Home Plus offers many features that families today might be interested in.
Choose filter levels for each device from kid, teen, adult and none. You can also choose content settings such as allowed, not allowed, or unmanaged. I chose to block certain sites such as Tik Tok. You can also filter by categories such as online games, dating, explicit content, etc.
Set Time Limits
If you don’t want your kids (or even yourself!) spending all day surfing the net, you can set limits for how long users are allowed to access the internet.
Assign a Bedtime
This is a feature I love! You can set bedtimes and awake times on each device. We had one night owl who was waking up in the middle of the night to use the internet. That problem is now solved with the Circle Home Plus. I have set the bedtime to begin at 9 p.m., and the wake time to be 6 a.m. That means the child is not allowed on computer between those times. Our kids don’t have smartphones, but if they did, having the bedtime filter could help keep kids from accessing their phones during the wee hours of the night.
Set Off Time
You can also schedule particular times you want people off their computers or devices. This would be useful during the dinner hour or in the evenings for family time.
Pause the Internet
You can choose to pause all devices or just one with just a tap on your smartphone. A family friend of ours was out of town, and when she talked to her husband on the phone, he was having trouble getting their teen off the computer. She simply tapped her Circle Home Plus and paused her child’s Internet. Problem solved.
You can see exactly where any computer or cell phone is if you have it connected to your Circle Home Plus device.
Circle Home Plus can show you the visited websites for a user as well as when they were accessed. In addition, you can see the sites that were filtered that the user was not allowed to access.
You can see each user’s usage for today, last week, and months past. However, be advised that usage does not always add up in a logical way. For instance, our teenager frequently has YouTube music playing in the background while he does his work, so time accrues for both YouTube and his school sites simultaneously, which could make it look like he was online longer than he was.
If you have time limits on your devices, you can reward your kids with an extended time limit, a later device bedtime, or time off temporarily lifted.
What You Get When You Order Circle Home Plus
Circle Home Plus comes with a white cube that is the device itself, along with two cords and instructions.
How to Install Circle Home Plus
Circle Home Plus is fairly easy to install.
What You Need
You’ll need the Circle Home Plus device itself. (As a special offer, receive 20% off the purchase of your Circle Home Plus device + 1 year app subscription or Circle Home Plus device + Lifetime app subscription. Just go to momsmeet.link/circlehomeplusshop and use the code MOMSMEET2021. Offer valid through October 15, 2021.)
In addition, you’ll need a smartphone that is Apple iOS 11 or newer or Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) or newer. The app installed on my phone took 22.52 MB of space.
How to Install
You first go to the App Store or Google Play and download the Circle Parental Controls. Then, the app guides you step-by-step through
- hooking up the device to your router,
- creating profiles for the people using the computers,
- setting how strict or loose you want the controls for each person, and then
- installing Circle on each computer that you want attached to the device
What We Think about Circle Home Plus
So far, we’re loving it. Our teen hasn’t noticed any disruption of his regular online activities, which is nice. (With the previous filtering systems that we used, there were disruptions.) In addition, he can see on his computer a countdown to when his device will go into bedtime mode and block him from the internet. This helps him make sure he has everything done for the evening that he needs to finish.
I’m happy that it looks like we’ve finally found a filtering device that works for our family. I’m also thinking about setting up Circle Home Plus on my own computer so I can be blocked from certain sites like Facebook while I’m trying to do my own online work.