Parental Controls for T-Mobile
With parental control features so important for many families, it’s no wonder nearly every carrier has their own version of protection. It makes sense. Why would we want to give our children smartphones without a few limitations on what they have access to? Besides that, even if a child doesn’t have a phone–parental controls are almost a necessity for parents who constantly hand over their phone for entertainment.
As one of the leading mobile carriers in the United States and Europe, T-Mobile is no different. With two main parental controls–Family Allowance and FamilyWhere–T-Mobile offers these services at a monthly fee to their consumers. Learn more about T-Mobile’s parental controls and whether they are enough for your family.
Family Allowance is the primary parental control service offered by T-Mobile and has been around since 2008. Lisa Brown, the director of marketing at T-Mobile USA, cited the increasing popularity of teens owning phones for the development of more parental control. “Parents across the country want their teens to have a mobile phone to stay in contact, but also want that phone responsibly. With Family Allowances, parents get peace of mind knowing they can reach their sons and daughters, without having to worry about surprise bills. They can also reward their teens for responsible phone use by increasing their allowance.”
So, how does Family Allowance actually work?
The Parent Line is important–it’s a system designation that says who on the plan is allowed to make changes to Family Allowance settings. As long as you keep your password secure, you’re the only one that will be able to add or remove restrictions. This is perfect for teens that are sleuthy with parental controls.
By default, the Parent Line is assigned to the Primary Account Holder. Note that the Primary Account Holder always has the ability to change settings, so your teen should not be in that position anyway. If you want them to ‘pay’ for their plan, you should pay it yourself and have them promptly reimburse you each billing cycle.
T-Mobile’s Whenever Minutes tell you how much time each account is spending on calls for the billing cycle–a useful piece of information if you’re not sure how long your teen is spending on the phone. If you think they’re spending too long on it, you can set a cap on the amount of time they’re allowed to talk.
T-Mobile’s Messages feature shows you how many texts are being sent and received by your teen. Now, this needs some context–as reported by Pew, the average teen will send and receive about 30 texts per day. Many of these occur not as separate communications, but as part of a longer conversation that your teen is having. As with call times, Family Allowance allows you to cap the number of messages they can send and receive.
However, Family Allowance cannot limit the amount of messages sent over messaging apps like Kik or WhatsApp.
The Downloads section shows how much your teen has been spending on various kinds of downloads–and, more importantly, it allows you to set a Current Allowance and decide how much your teen is allowed to spend in a given frame of time. If your teen is an impulsive buyer, this can help curb the habit.
The Schedule feature allows you to decide when your teen is allowed to use most of their phone’s features. With this, you can block and unblock their use of the phone during predefined timeslots (which were selected based on when people are most likely to be using their phones). This is a good way of limiting functionality when they’re at school or supposed to be sleeping. However, since T-Mobile creates the limits of the phone time and determines the slots–it actually doesn’t give parents the power to limit the phone when they need to, or to work with their child’s schedule.
Always Allowed and Never Allowed Numbers
Finally, the Always Allowed and Never Allowed numbers are a special modification that change the way the other parts of Family Allowance work. Numbers that are Always Allowed can be contacted even if the teen is outside of their permitted schedule or has reached their limit on calls, while Never Allowed numbers are automatically rejected in both directions.
This is ideal for ensuring that your teen can always contact you.
In addition to all of the options above, T-Mobile offers their FamilyWhere service, which allows you to see the exact location of any phone connected to T-Mobile’s 4G network. Of course, if they’re not on the network, tracking promptly ceases. That said, FamilyWhere has useful features like text notifications when people being watched move around.
At the time of writing, the service was offered for $9.99/month, with a one-month free trial.
T-Mobile Parental Controls vs TeenSafe
T-Mobile’s two parental control services are similar to TeenSafe, but they’re not simple duplicates of each other. For example, while T-Mobile can tell you that text messages are being sent, TeenSafe can actually show you what your teen is saying–even if the text is deleted.
Similarly, FamilyWhere is ideal for tracking your teen in real-time, while TeenSafe is more focused on after-the-fact monitoring so you can see what their whole route was. Not only that, but while FamilyTime can schedule “off” times for your child’s phone–the TeenSafe app puts the power back in parents hands! Parents can decide when to PAUSE their child’s phone, or just certain apps to keep them focused.
Here at the TeenSafe, we’ve always felt that parents should have as many options as possible for monitoring their children. Different families have different needs, so we’ve developed our software to do the things that ordinary parental controls can’t.
Whether you’re looking to view their web browsing history, see who they’ve been talking to, check up on the apps they’ve installed, or check through their text messages, TeenSafe offers the help you need to make an informed decision. Get started today with a free trial of our software–and see the software that over 500,000 parents have used to help protect their children.