While Circle is great for filtering Apps, Websites, and Categories (which are ever-growing and documented here), it is not able to filter the content within a specific website or application. Circle doesn't filter based off images, keywords, or content. Instead, Circle filters based off a website's category.
Circle filters based on a website's category
When your family member tries to load a website or opens an app that requires internet access, Circle sees that traffic and looks at where it's heading. Depending on where the traffic is going, Circle will filter it, or let it through. As an example, the Kid 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 Kid, Circle won't let that traffic through.
How does Circle look up a website's category?
Circle 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 BrightCloud (owned by Webroot), 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 mis-categorized? Head to www.brightcloud.com and let them know! Simply enter in the website to their BrightCloud URL Look Up Tool, and if you believe it's mis-categorized, fill out the provided form in the bottom-left corner of the site.
What about media sites?
Social media, or media websites like Facebook, Netflix, etc. have a lot of content. Circle 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, Circle can limit access to netflix.com but it doesn't filter what a family member is able to watch on Netflix. 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, DuckDuckGo, or Bing's Safe Search and YouTube's Restricted Mode, found in the Privacy & Safety section at the bottom of the Filter section on any profile. You can read more about this here. Circle 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 children's 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.
Why can't I see the full URL in History?
Circle's History log doesn't log the same site information that a web browser would. The History view only offers the top level domain name ('google.com'), and any pages visited under that domain name will not come up in Circle's History.
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.