First off I should start with a disclaimer that I have NOT been paid to write this, NOR was I given a free device NOR am I linking up this post with affiliate links. It’s a genuine review of a product that I purchased.
A few weeks ago, I was watching a new TV show that stars Joey from friends called Man with a Plan, which I am still undecided on.
Anyway – there was a point in it where he was struggling to get his children to do their chores until he changed the wifi password and would only give it to them when they were done. A simple yet genius idea.
We gave this a go but changing the wifi password every day is a big pain when you have so many devices connected to it so I gave up and looked for some similar alternatives. During this search for alternatives I found some devices that I did not know existed – Wifi boxes that connect to your router and create a new, child safe wifi spot… Essentially parental controls for the internet.
I looked at a few different ones and narrowed it down to the Circle (which I think is made by Disney) and the KoalaSafe. Be careful when looking around as some have a monthly subscription and if they go bust then you’re screwed.. In the end I went with the KoalaSafe as the Circle isn’t actually available in the UK yet whereas the KoalaSafe I could get on next day from Amazon Prime. It cost about £60 at the time but doesn’t seem to be on the Amazon site anymore.. weird.
After plugging the box into the router (via a wire) and downloading the app on my phone it was a simple setup but due to a few bugs it did take me a couple of attempts. The downside of plugging into the router is that there are spots around the house that it can’t access particularly well so I need to see if I can connect this to a booster of some kind.
Once you are up and running you can setup profiles for each child in your house (or adult if you wish) and if you put in their age it will put together some recommended settings for each of them.
Then you connect their devices and after they are connected you can assign them to a profile via the app.
Next you can setup an internet “schedule” of when each child is allowed online. There are two options – “normal” internet time and “homework” time and within the homework profile you can block additional sites such as Facebook to stop your child from getting distracted.
You can also “Pause” the internet – either completely of per child. So if you want to sit down for dinner or get them to sort out their rooms it’s a fairly easy win.
As predicted this has caused some… disruption in the house since I’ve had it up and running. My 14 year old didn’t like the fact that I banned SnapChat from being accessible for him and hates the fact that he can’t get up and watch YouTube videos like he used to because he’s only able to get online in the afternoon/evening.
There is still some configuring to go but so far it looks like a good buy, although even with a paused internet I still have not managed to convince my 14 year old to tidy up his room… eventually he’ll give in though!