While the Circle device is great for filtering websites, Platforms, and Categories (which are ever-growing and documented here), this filtering is not applied to the content within a specific website or application. The Circle device doesn't filter based off images, keywords, or content. Instead, your Circle device filters based off a website's category.
The Circle device filters based off a website's category
When your family member goes to load a website or opens an app that requires internet access, the Circle device sees that traffic and looks at where it's heading. Depending on where the traffic is going, the Circle device will filter it, or let it through. As an example: the Pre-K setting, a very restrictive filter level, does not allow traffic to social media websites. If a site has been categorized as "Social Media" and the device that's trying to visit it is assigned to a Pre-K, the Circle device won't let that traffic through.
How does the Circle device get a website's categorization?
The Circle device utilizes a large third-party categorization database to populate what sites belong to which category, along with our own custom tweaks for some websites. We use Blue Coat (owned by Symantec), which is a major website categorization company that regularly assesses new and old websites for content, and then assigns them to a category based off content. Think a site has been miscategorized? Head to sitereview.bluecoat.com and let them know! Simply enter in the website, and if miscategorized, fill out the provided form (choose "Blue Coat Cloud Service" as the filtering service).
What about media sites?
Social media, or media websites like Facebook, Netflix, etc. have a lot of content. The Circle device doesn't filter within these websites based off of content. For these types of websites we encourage families to utilize the parental controls available on the sites themselves. As an example, your Circle device can limit access to netflix.com but it doesn't filter what Netflix can load. That said, your family can use the parental controls available from Netflix to filter its content.
There is one exception to this, which is Google or Bing's Safe Search and YouTube's Restricted Mode, found in the Privacy & Safety section at the bottom of the Filters page. You can read more about this here. The Circle device does have the ability to enforce these sites' Safe Search and Restricted modes, but note that the filters themselves are managed by the respective search engine.
Why can't I see my kiddos searches?
A frequent request we get is to see what family members are searching for on sites like YouTube or Google. These types of searches are encrypted from end-to-end so Circle isn't able to see this type of content. Social media sites like Facebook or Instagram encrypt in the same way. Circle can see the domain that is being accessed, but can't tell what is being searched for there.
Common Parental Controls
Listed below you'll see links to parental controls for some of the most popular websites on the Internet. If you're worried about your child visiting a certain site in particular we recommend checking out their parental controls:
- Amazon and Amazon Video
- Google Play
- HBO GO
- Instagram's Tips for Parents
- YouTube Kids
Other popular websites or apps might have additional parental controls that can be used alongside of Circle. A quick search might be very helpful and clue you in on what other parents are doing.