Verizon Adds New Parental Control Options

Verizon Adds New Parental Control Features - Web and App Monitoring

Verizon updated its parental control suite with a new name, a few new features, and a new price scheme.  The new option is called Verizon Smart Family and is available for most post-paid smartphone plans.

The new option is now divided into two tiers - Smart Family for $4.99/month and Smart Family Premium for $9.99/month.  The previous Family Base service was $4.99 a month and geolocation services were an additional $9.99 a month, so the new Smart Family service is less expensive and contains more features.

Users of the previous Family Base will automatically be moved the new service.  Customers will also need to download and configure the new Smart Family app to take advantages of all the features.

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One of the great things about the internet is that you can find anything.  One of the terrible things about the internet is that you can find anything.

It's completely normal that parents may want to control or manage access to specific content or even the internet generally.

Parents may also want to block internet access at specific times of day, block some devices from the internet or otherwise place limits on what kids can do and see on the internet.  The carriers each offer different options for helping parents monitor and control what content their kids have access to.

Verizon Smart Family Options

Verizon's parental control options are geared specifically for smartphone users. To get the full features, every smartphone needs to have the companion app installed and iOS devices need to use the Smar Family MDM (Mobile Device Management) profile. Features are very limited for data-only devices like tablets and Jetpacks.

The Smart Family service comes with the following features and options.  Like all cellular-based parental controls, there are some serious limits to what Verizon can do to block or manage WiFi connections, built-in device features, and third-party app functions.

  • Data Limits and blocking: The "Pause internet" feature can block cell data use or turn it off after a certain data limit is reached. Limitations: Does not disable Wi-Fi connections. "Pause Internet" does not work on tablets or mobile hotspots.
  • Activity Monitoring: Monitors phone, text and data usage, and can send alerts to parents when certain criteria are met.
  • Content Filtering: Can set filters to block inappropriate apps and websites.
  • App Blocking: Can block the use of specific phone apps.
  • Time Restrictions: Limit cellular data, outgoing voice, and texts use during specific times of the day.  Limitations: Does not restrict incoming calls, Wi-Fi use or some third-party apps.
  • Geolocation (SmartFamily Premium Only): Includes tracking, arrival and departure notification (geofencing), and automatic location updates.
  • Web and App Monitoring (New - SmartFamily Premium Only): Monitors Web and App use on smartphones.

Summary

Verizon's rebranded parental control options add useful monitoring tools to the premium option.  The premium service is also $5/month cheaper than the previous Family Base and geolocation services.

Families will need to carefully read the fine-print as this service comes with some major technical limitations.  Fortunately, Verizon offers a free one-month trial, so that parents can test-drive the features before buying.

More information on Parental Controls, check our brand new member guide:

Mobile Internet Considerations for Families and Homeschooling

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