I am the proud father of two boys in elementary school. My oldest is 11, and my youngest is 9. Both are taking after their dad and are very interested in technology and the Internet. This is both good news and bad news. The problems with this are that the Internet is not exactly a safe place and it can be easy to use it too much. Here is a list of 7 things that I believe every parent wishes they could do with technology:
- Set time limits: Parents wish they could set daily time limits on any app or website they want. They wish they could customize how much time their kids spend on each device in their home and set a total online time for the day. This is not just for the kids but for everyone in the home.
- Filter: Parents wish they could set individual filter levels for each family member. It would be great if there was a way to have age levels for different groups and customization by platform, app, website and content. Parents want to choose a filter that matches each person’s age and interests but won’t let inappropriate content through.
- View insights: Parents wish they could stay informed about where their kids spend their time online including mobile devices, computers and gaming devices. It would be great to see each family member’s total time spent online and the sites visited.
- Pause the Internet: It’s dinnertime, and everyone brings their device to the table. It would be great if parents could simply pause every device in their home so that conversations could happen around the dinner table again.
- Put devices to sleep: Parents wish they could create a time at night that each device sleeps for each family member. They could simply set a sleep time, when the devices will disconnect from the Internet, and an awake time, for the morning when the devices will reconnect.
- Block ads: Parents wish they could block ads for their kids. Kids are curious and click around on the Internet and on their mobile devices a lot more than their parents. Parents wish there was a way to block inappropriate ads.
- Ensure safe searches: Parents wish that there was an easy way to set search settings across all devices connected to their home network (smart phones, tablets, computers, gaming consoles).
Believe it or not, but all of these things are possible. Up until now, it took a bunch of different services to do it. You could dive into OpenDNS and download a bunch of different apps or software. It was not easy. Recently I found a new device called Circle with Disney. Circle with Disney is a wireless device that you put into your home, and it connects to your WiFi network and does all the things listed above. If you are interested you can get one now from http://meetcircle.com, and it will be available soon fromDisneyStore.com/circle. I am glad that every parent will now be able to do these seven things. I truly believe it will help families with some huge problems.
Do you know a feature of technology a parent wants that I missed? If so, please share it. I believe that most parents see technology as something that has the potential to be a great thing, but they’ll admit they need help with it for sure.