What Parental Controls do Phone Companies Offer and are they Any Good?
Until recently, cellular companies’ parental controls were limited because they only worked when a device was on cellular. Now Verizon has introduced it’s Smart Family App that allows parents to set parental controls for both Wifi and cellular, so they’re active wherever your child goes. This is why Verizon has ramped up the advertising, but really, parents can get similar functionality elsewhere.
Apple’s Screen Time is free, and OurPact, which we think has a superior user-interface, is $6.99/month relative to Verizon’s $9.99 option. While the bells and whistles vary slightly and it’s not an exact comparison, we don’t think Verizon’s parental controls outshine the other options. However, as is often the case, it comes down to personal preference, but if you’ve already set up another option, there’s no need.
One area where Verizon did excel was its ability to help you limit who your child can communicate with. Known as Trusted Contacts, parents can use the Smart Family App to limit their child to calling and texting a maximum of 20 people.
Knowing that this is an important feature to parents, Apple is now introducing this functionality with the release of iOS13, making what Verizon offers as a paid service less necessary. Stay tuned.