Get Control of Your Child's Cell Phone Without Taking it Away

Parents: Are you tired of getting expensive phone bills, because your teens are texting and talking all day and night on a cell phone? According to ABC News, you’re not alone. In fact, new statistics show that at least three-in-four high school age kids have a cell phone, and a lot of kids in kindergarten and elementary school have them, too! Many parents say they find it convenient to be able to stay in touch with their kids in case of an emergency, or if plans change at the last minute. The problem is that most kids have no concept of the cost of cell phones.

For example: One mother told ABC News she became “exasperated” after getting phone bills as high as $500 a month. The charges came from her teenage son staying up all night texting friends, and downloading ring tones. Since the average teen sends about 3,200 text messages per month, charges can quickly add up if your family’s not on an unlimited data plan. Fortunately, a growing number of wireless carriers are offering new services designed to give parents more control over cell phones, without taking them away from their kids.

  • Just this month, AT&T launched Smart Limits for Wireless. For a monthly fee, parents can log onto a Website and set limits for when a phone can make or receive calls, restrict text messages or designate a list of numbers kids can call in case of an emergency.
  • If you’re a Verizon customer, you can add a service called Usage Controls to any mobile line. That’ll let you set limits on the amount of voice minutes and text messages your kid can use each month, and it’ll send you a free text alert if those limits are reached.
  • Finally, Sprint customers can sign up for a service called Kajeet. It does everything the other services do, and it offers a “Feature Manager” that’ll let you turn off certain phone functions. For example: If you’re worried about sexting, you can deactivate the camera and picture messaging features on your kid’s phone.

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