Putting all safe parenting tools in one app

By: Neil Mitchell

Studies show parents use up to eight apps to monitor a family’s digital activities.

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Ensuring a safe mobile experience for your kids can be a full-time job. There are so many options that it can be maddening. Magid’s Mobile Lifestyle Study found that there are at least eight common tools or apps parents use to help manage their family’s mobile usage. That’s a lot for parents to navigate.

If you’re looking for apps to monitor your kids’ phone usage, Verizon Smart Family has helped simplify this process. This suite of tools is an app-based solution that puts it all in one place—a one-stop shop for safely managing your children’s mobile experience. Plus, the app is constantly updating to keep pace with today’s digital parenting needs.

Here are the latest features and services that Smart Family offers:

Check-in – Know your child made it home or to practice. Smart Family’s check-in option notifies you when your child arrives at their destination. Plus, there’s a location-sharing option, displaying a real-time device map to track progress during any anxious time spent waiting.

Pick Me Up – Paired with the Smart Family Companion app, this feature will indicate a street address and approximately how many yards away the device is from that location. With just a tap on a screen, your kids can ask for a ride home and you’re notified immediately.

Monitor Usage & Activity – Smart Family provides tools that will help confirm your kids are engaging with trusted contacts and sites. Monitoring options include:

  • Text and call activity reports from any device on the account

  • Times associated with each text and call received

  • Contact ranking based on the frequency of texts and calls in a 7-day period

  • Contact watch list that allows you to add new contacts and receive notifications about calls/texts from contacts on the list
    • Your kids will also receive a notification about calls and texts from watch list contacts, giving them awareness of their own responsible behavior.
  • Track texts and calls your child receives during school or night hours

  • Save numbers that interact with your child's device under unique names

  • Category summary that displays types of content and ratio of time spent in each category

  • Breakdown of which sites and apps your child uses on the device

These enhanced app features are all in addition to the foundational Smart Family options, the basics for any smart parenting tool:

Internet Access Control ­­­­­– Establish good digital habits with Smarter Boundaries. This feature turns off the web during school hours, bedtime, dinner or any appointed time. You can also institute access and restrictions to calls, texts, data and purchase limits for apps, games and music.

Block Access to Inappropriate Apps and Websites – With Content Filters, you can block content, most social media, and messaging and gaming apps. You can unblock just as easily when you feel your children are ready to access them.

Location Tracking — Find family members, or use the location check-in feature, where kids can notify you when they arrive at their destination.

Parenting apps and tools can’t replace the open conversations you have with your kids about what they’re watching, who they’re texting and why. Consider the Smart Family suite of apps and tools simply as an assistant to your parenting style.

About the author(s):

Neil Mitchell is media consultant, focused on digital and online safety. He has been working with Verizon on online safety issues for over a decade.

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