October 17, 2016 --
from Multnomah University
Walking into the offices of Circle Media Inc. is a little like stepping through a portal into another, more fantastic world. The hot teal walls cozily square a lobby filled with multiple variations of plastic and wooden Eames chairs and a grey, mid-century modern sofa. Minimalist shelves and coffee tables are filled with Disney products, including large animation books, a Captain Phasma Stormtrooper mask and two lightsabers. Conglomerates of partially disassembled Circle devices are strewn about, revealing the technological guts of the otherwise clean, roughly baseball-sized, white cubes. This product, Circle with Disney, is a technology that allows parents to manage content and time online across a family’s collection of Internet devices. It can pause the Internet, filter content, set time limits and add bedtimes to devices. The simple interface is managed with an easy-to-use smartphone app.
“Circle was started with a belief that each child’s experience (with media) is different, and a parent should be able to parent in that space,” says MU alum and co-founder, Jelani Memory. His own daughter was able to unlock his iPhone at two years old. “At that point, there’s really no going back,” he says. Memory co-founded Circle a few years ago, after Lance, a good friend and fellow MU alum, brought up an idea to create something to help families manage Internet devices. “We sat around his kitchen island, as we often did,” Memory recalls. “Then we discussed how there are so many devices that connect to the Internet, and they can be hard to manage as a parent.” In 2013, The Walt Disney Company called Circle to partner with them after an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign, a partnership that officially began last year.
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