With school back in session, children are heading away from home and showing off their flashy new mobile phones. The calls to friends, text messages about a cute guy or girl, and cool downloads can add up fast. A new service called AT&T Smart Limits for Wireless allows parents to set usage limits on their children’s mobile phones. Calling time, text messaging, instant messaging, downloads and access to Web sites can be controlled for safety and budgetary reasons.
Controlling the amount of time a child has on the phone can go a long way to keeping the family budget in order. But the service also helps protect children. Parents can block inappropriate calls, texts and Internet content by blocking numbers they find to be inappropriate and filtering access to content inappropriate for the child. This service is now available to all AT&T customers for $4.99 a month for each line. No special handset is required.
Some might criticize and say such a service is only needed because of bad parenting skills. I disagree. A child’s brain is a child’s brain. Children do stupid things without thinking about future consequences. The temptations we put in our children’s hands with a mobile phone are too great not to expect some misuse. A hot new song or mobile game has to be downloaded if the child is to keep up with his or her peers. A friend may be going through a crisis and needs consoling. Services like Smart Limits helps to teach children budgeting while keeping them away from content deemed to be inappropriate.