It can be a challenge in today’s technological world to buffer your children from inappropriate content and keep them safe from scammers and predators. Therefore, parental control features are essential to many families. Why would we want to give our children smartphones, or any device for that matter, without some reasonable limitations on what they can do and see? Even if a child doesn’t have a smartphone, parental controls are a good idea for parents who sometimes hand over their phone to their kids to use for entertainment.
Just about every mobile phone provider has their own version of parental controls. As one of the top mobile phone service providers in the United States and Europe, T-Mobile has put a lot of thought into developing good parental controls. Family Allowance and FamilyWhere are both popular parental control services available for a small monthly fee. However, our parental controls may become lost. Here are some ways to add and recover lost parental controls on your child’s phone.
The Parent Line from T-Mobile is an internal system designation that indicates who on the plan can make any changes to your Family Allowance settings. Most carriers have some sort of variation of this control. As long as your password is secure, you’re the only one that can add, remove, or change any restrictions. The Parent Line is automatically assigned to the primary account holder on the account. If you want your child to pay for their own usage, you should pay it yourself first and then have your child reimburse you so that they aren’t accidentally designated as the primary account holder.
Text Messaging and Phone Calls
The average teen will send and receive approximately 30 texts in a single day, and many teens send over 100 per day. Most carriers provide some sort of parental controls where a parent can put a limit on the number of text messages their child can send and receive, along with restricting call times and the number of minutes.
Controlling and monitoring your children’s downloads is another important part of parental controls. Ideally, you should be able to see how much your child is spending on various kinds of downloads. It should also allow you to set an allowance for how much they’re allowed to spend in each time frame. If you’re concerned that your teen is an impulse buyer, this feature could be extremely valuable.
Many mobile phone service providers have a system that allows you to see the exact location of any phone on your plan that is connected to their network. Of course, if your child is not on the network, tracking promptly stops. There are also many aftermarket apps that can assist you with this, such as Facebook’s “Share my location.”
Lost Parental Controls
If your parental control settings get messed up somehow, first call your service provider to see if they can help you. If they can’t help you restore the controls, it may be time to reset your or your child’s phone back to the original factory settings. On most iPhones, the process is simple. First, use iCloud to back up any photos or songs you may want to retain. Then, go to “Settings” from the home screen and select “General.” Choose the “Reset” button at the bottom of the menu page. Then choose the blue “Erase All Content and Settings” option near the top. Next, you should see a pop-up window asking you to confirm your decision. You’re done!
Even if you’ve had extensive conversations with your kids about stranger danger, usage limits, and appropriate phone behavior, it’s still sometimes difficult to monitor what they do when they’re out of your sight. Parental controls can assist you in your efforts to keep your kids’ cell phone usage safe but fun. However, parental controls work best when used openly and respectably in partnership with your child, not to spy on them — which often leads to conflict.