Do you know the average age a child discovers porn?
Its 11 years old (and that’s an average age), children under 10 now account for 22% of all online porn consumption.
Now, as if this isn’t bad enough Internet Porn is a child’s primary source of education when learning about sex…….have you seen what is up there? We won’t give children knives, chainsaws, car keys or fireworks but we happily let them patrol the internet alone.
We have tried five of the most popular parental control solutions on the market over the past 2 years and in our opinion there is one runaway winner.
We want to start by saying we understand peoples reluctance to take this on, anything that involves IT or Technology people are reluctant to change for fear of breaking everything. We are here to help though if you need anything from us.
The Danger of Doing Nothing
Porn is still the most searched for phrase on the internet and pornography accounts for 30% of all traffic on the internet, that’s more than Netflix.
Whilst I don’t have an issue with porn, I do have an issue with the type of porn that is now freely available on the internet for children to see. As adults, we have the maturity and reasoning to know what porn is and what it isn’t…….real life.
“I really worry what our kids today are going to grow up thinking is normal in the bedroom”
Just as much as the Instagram generation think people are naturally beautiful all the time, I don’t want my girls thinking porn is real life, so until they can process this, I want to protect them from it.
You only get one set of eyes and the past 12 months has been tough on them. The extra hours on a screen each day from home schooling has added to the time they naturally spend on these devices for entertainment.
If your sitting across a table talking, you normally blink about 15 times a minute. If your staring at a computer screen, you blink around 5 times a minute.
Myopia (Near sightedness), eye strain and dry eye syndrome has already been linked with too much screen time in young children and controlling the time our children spend on these devices will alleviate this.
Our Favourite Parental Control Software
I am going to cut straight to the point here, of all the products on the market Circle is by far my favourite Parental Control software that I have used over the past 2 years.
If like me, you are with Sky for your broadband you can add it to your current subscription at a cost of £5 per month via Sky’s product called Sky Buddy. They will send you out a new router but this is simple enough to plug in and works straight out of the box. The only down side is that you might need to programme your devices to join the new wireless network that comes with the new router (your Sky Q boxes don’t need this however they just connect to the new router as soon as you plug it in).
For anyone not on Sky for their broadband you can buy it direct from Circle for £10 per month. Please be aware you will need to replace your router for this to work and Netgear do several Circle compatible routers here https://kb.netgear.com/000044718/Which-NETGEAR-routers-support-Circle-Smart-Parental-Controls
Why we absolutely love this product
Number 1 reason is that it bloody works, my biggest gripe with the others I tested was they simply stopped working too often.
The biggest problem seemed to happen when my Girls mobiles ran out of battery and switched off (something that happens all the time with kids, they don’t have the same appreciation for Low Battery as us adults do!). When the phones came back on the software seemed to not start up correctly and required me to do it manually on their phones. This was the case with Net Nanny, FamiSafe and Screen Time.
The second reason for choosing Circle is its ability to work on all devices that join your home Wi-Fi (or those devices that are also hard wired like most in my house). This means not only mobile phones can be controlled but also tablets, Smart TV’s, Xbox/Play Stations and even Apple Watches!
Each device that logs onto the internet gets caught by Circle, even Smart TV’s
One of my girls has a smart TV with You Tube, iPlayer etc on it and this is also covered by the parental software so I can restrict what she sees on You Tube and how long she can use the TV for.
None of the other solutions I tested went as far as smart TV’s and Apple Watches! If you are also wanting to control the amount of time your children spend on their Xbox or PlayStation this can also be added into the child’s profile and controlled.
You can control any device that is accessing your internet in your home, this can include other children that might be visiting your house as well and joining your Wi-Fi.
You create your children in the app on your phone and then simply add all their devices into their profile
Once you have created the profile and assigned the devices to the child’s profile you can then set the default filter limit dependant on their age from PG, 13, 18 and None. For example, on the PG filter the device will not access Snap Chat however this available on the 13 filter.
You can also set bedtime rules with a different schedule available at weekends if you want your children to have a slightly later bedtime. It is also very easy to change these setting if you want to extend it at any point. It also stops them using their device in the middle of the night or notifications coming through in the middle of the night and disturbing them.
I also really love the ability to track where the device is as well using GPS built into mobile phones, this works really well when she is at her friend’s house because I know exactly where she is. It’s great when you are waiting to pick them up from school as well as you know when they are going to appear, it really is precise to around 10 feet.
You can see what apps they have been using as well at any point throughout the day and scroll through an entire breakdown of every site/app they have used that day. You can also click on the link as well for example if it is YouTube and see what they were watching.
You can create custom rules for any app or website they have visited at any point to maybe block it or set a time limit. For example, if your daughter has been on a handbag or shoes website you can instantly make sure they can never go on it again! The example below shows adding a time limit for Tik Tok
You can also reward your children with extra screen time as well for maybe completing chores or doing their homework. We had an entire weekend where the only internet time they got was through winning rewards, its quite amazing how the chores get done.
Lastly you can pause a child’s internet access from within their profile and this will disable the internet on all of their devices. This can be phone, tablet and Xbox and they will all stop working, no more cold diners!
If you are interested in this but feel you need some help setting it up please just contact me, it is so simple to do but I will gladly help for free if you need to ask me anything.
You can find more about Circle here https://meetcircle.com/