To manage kids’ wireless usage, parents should focus on Service Plans and Control Tools.
Service Plans: If choosing a contract plan, select the “right” service features (i.e., voice minutes, text messages and data) and plans (how much time, number of texts and amount of data may be used for each feature) that kids may use. By choosing the right service features and plans, parents can limit unwanted content, callers, texts and purchases.
- How many voice minutes or text messages is needed? Research continues to show that kids are texting more than they are talking on their phones so parents may want to consider a bigger text message plan than voice. At the same time, parents may use a service plan to limit the number of text messages kids’ send/receive and voice minutes.
- How much data is needed? Or another way of looking at it is to determine how much Internet-type services kids will use on their phones. Watching videos, streaming music, updating a social networking profile, downloading an application and playing a game are services that typically require a data plan. By choosing the right data plan, parents may control what services their kids use on their wireless devices.
Look for the Use () or Calculator () to see what CTIA member companies offer to help parents manage their kids’ voice, text and data usage.
Control Tools: Depending on the kids’ wireless devices and plans, the wireless service providers and/or devices may offer parental control tools.
- Wireless Service Providers: Many wireless service providers offer tools that allow the account owner (e.g., parents) to control how and what content users may access through the mobile devices. These tools include limits on the types of content, based on age, that may be downloaded (e.g., music, videos, applications and Internet access). Some of these parental control offerings may be free or provided for a fee.
- Look for the Use (), Content Filters () Time () and Calculator () to see what CTIA member companies offer to help parents block, limit or filter for age-appropriate use.
- Wireless Devices: Wireless devices (e.g., cellphone, smartphones, tablets, etc.) may have control tools built-in so parents may password protect location based services (LBS), web browsers, videos, cameras, music and applications. Parents may also be able to filter content based on their ratings.
- Look for the Use (), Privacy () and Content Filter () to see what CTIA member companies offer to help parents block, limit or filter for appropriate use and location services.