Interview with Mom’s Choice Award-Winner Gwen Smith

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Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.


Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! We hope this finds you well- thank you for joining us for another installment of our interview series. For this installment, we had the pleasure of speaking with Gwen Smith, the VP of Marketing at Circle. Circle is the company responsible for the MCA award-winning product, Circle Home Plus! Circle Home Plus is a parental control device that allows parents the chance to keep an eye on their home network and protect their children’s phones and tablets. Monitoring apps like Circle Home Plus are essential for parenting in the digital age and allows for protection from a variety of threats such as identity theft, cyberbullying social media scams, and malicious content. Keep reading to find out more about Circle Home Plus!

MCA: Hi Gwen! I would first like to congratulate you on the Mom’s Choice Award for Circle Home Plus! As I stated before, parental controls are so important in this digital age. Circle Home Plus is such a vital app for parents to have and gives them back when it comes to their child’s internet usage. How did Circle Home Plus first come to be?

A teenager using her phone

A teenager using her phone

Gwen: It began with three dads at a kitchen table. They wanted a better internet for their families—one that let them steward their kids’ online experience both in the home and outside of it.

We envision a world where families can set healthy limits, find balance, and build lifelong habits to get the best out of their digital experiences, rather than being consumed by them. Our rapidly growing team, with offices in Portland, OR, and Cypress, CA, is redefining how families connect, grow, and flourish in an increasingly digital world.

Today, Circle is a category leader in online screen time management and digital parental controls. Our flagship product, Circle Home Plus, is the most comprehensive solution to manage content and time online for Wi-Fi devices at-home and mobile devices across all networks. Circle software is also available through subscription on NETGEAR™ routers.

Circle’s mission to make families’ lives better, online and off, is fueled by investment from Atlanta Seed Company, Relay Ventures, Third Kind Venture Capital, and strategic partners including some of the world’s largest digital communications providers: NETGEAR, Sky, and T-Mobile US.

MCA: What a great backstory! I say with certainty Circle Home Plus definitely makes families’ lives better. What needs were trying to be met when the Circle Home Plus was being created?

Gwen:

  • Kids are now spending more time on screens than in the outdoor play
  • Screen time is increasingly tied to depression and a new kind of addiction
  • Global Parental Control Market Size is set to exceed USD 3.3 billion by 2025
  • Being hooked on screens is an all-ages problem
    • 45% of parents feel addicted to their own devices
    • 98% of today’s kids’ ages 8 and younger live in a home with access to both TV and mobile devices
    • 60% of parents say their kids now have their own mobile device
    • 36% of teens wake up to check their mobile device for something other than the time at least once per night

MCA: Those are some shocking statistics! Can you tell us about some of the unique features Circle Home Plus offers? 

Features of Circle Home Plus

Features of Circle Home Plus

Gwen: Circle helps parents manage online time and content across all categories and platforms

  • The Circle Home Plus device connects with your Wi-Fi router to manage every device on your home network.
  • Use the Circle App to operate Circle and manage connected devices everywhere.
  • Circle is the most comprehensive and simple solution for online screen time management and digital parental controls.

MCA: I’m sure it gives parents a lot of relief to know that they have a comprehensive and simple solution for digital parental controls. Can you elaborate on the importance of digital parental controls and monitoring your child’s internet activity?

Gwen: Parents are looking to encourage creative activity, positive human interactions, and healthy physical behaviors.

  • Physical health: encourage movement. Research is strong that being outdoors boosts happiness.
  • Sleep: Screen time has been shown to have negative impacts on sleep. Obesity, poor school performance, even behavioral problems can stem from inadequate sleep.
  • Content: Content restrictions communicate a parent’s values. Consumer and child advocates are concerned that despite promises to police inappropriate content, many platforms continue to show violent imagery, drug references, racist language, and sexually suggestive content that reaches children. If children and young people are increasingly exposed to harmful content online, there is a concern that this type of content is normalized and will become an ordinary part of being online.
  • Balance: No screen time is both impractical and research doesn’t suggest that eliminating screens boosts well being or happiness.
  • Social and emotional health: Concerns exist that online behavior contributes to anxiety, bullying, and depression. Teachers nationwide report that social and emotional issues among school children of all ages are at alarming levels.

MCA: What has the reaction been like for Circle Home Plus?

Gwen: Parents love it:

  • “I have this and it’s amazing I can control any device in the house that is connected to our WiFi. 100% worth it.”
  • “As parents, we LOVE and highly recommend this product to all parents who don’t want their kids using too much screen time on their devices.”
  • “Can’t recommend enough. Love its many detailed, SIMPLE settings. We tried many filter apps over the years and they were too easily hacked.”
  • “The best little cubed circle EVER! Bedtime is so easy, bath time, family time.”
  • “I love this app, the first time I have found a way to control screen time across multiple devices.”

MCA: Congratulations on all the positive reviews! What is next for Circle?

Gwen: Circle’s mission is to make families’ lives better, online, and off. Circle is devoted to helping families thrive with technology and with each other. We envision a world where families find balance, set healthy limits, build good habits, and get the best out of their digital experiences, rather than being consumed by them. Circle’s screen time management and parental control solutions are the easiest and most comprehensive way to manage all your family’s connected devices—wherever they are, wherever they go.

Circle is devoted to helping families thrive with technology and with each other.

We envision a world where families find balance, set healthy limits, build good habits, and get the best out of their digital experiences, rather than being consumed by them.

MCA: That sounds wonderful to us! We can’t wait to see what’s in store, please keep us posted!


You can learn more about Gwen Smith and her company’s award-winning product, Circle Home Plus by visiting her MCA Shop pages.

Interview With Gwen Smith

 

One Comment on “Interview with Mom’s Choice Award-Winner Gwen Smith”

  1. I am very concerned about the fact that “Teachers nationwide report that social and emotional issues among school children of all ages are at alarming levels,” so I’m happy to see this kind of initiative. Thanks for this post!

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