Monitoring Kids' Mobile Phone Use Could Take a Village

Parents today no longer ask “Should I get my child a mobile phone?,” but rather “When should I get them one?” More than 85 percent of American teenagers have their own mobile phone, and teens are the fastest-growing segment of smartphone users.

Parents – 84 percent of them – spend a lot of time monitoring teens’ online and mobile activity. This is understandable because these powerful devices have the potential to distract kids from schoolwork, sleep and family time.

To give families what they need, wireless companies must provide more than just devices and data. Parents want ways to customize and control children’s mobile experiences, without complicating their overscheduled lives. A solution may already be in use by businesses. The ability to easily and remotely lock a smartphone or limit use during certain times has been integral to many companies’ management of employees’ mobile devices for years.

Recognizing that parents could use similar tools to make their kids’ mobile experiences safe and suitable, Verizon Wireless, along with its app developer partners, is creating ways for families to increase and fine tune their control over when, how often and with whom kids communicate, for better overall “digital wellness.” Earlier this year, Verizon showcased apps, such as Safely Go, that aid conscientious drivers to avoid texting and calling related distractions while driving.

Today’s families recognize that mobile technology is here to stay. So, ensuring that kids enjoy its benefits in age-appropriate ways – through texting and app usage limits or contact list oversight – has become as much a part of healthy living as good nutrition and exercise.

For a hands-on demo of how Verizon Wireless is helping parents to manage and monitor their kids’ phone use, slated for spring 2013 release, visit the Verizon Wireless booth at 2013 CES.

Check out more from Verizon at CES.