It was a gleam in some early adopter parents' eyes back in 2004 when I first wrote about phone controls; now a reality. This week AT&T launched a service that might make for a little more cellphone-related family harmony: "Smart Limits" for $4.99 a month. "Many parents want their children to have access to cellphones for safety reasons, but they don't want them making or receiving non-emergency calls during the school day, chatting away all the shared family-plan minutes or bloating the bill with text messaging charges," AT&T told the Associated Press. "The functions, ranging from call blocking and hour limits to text message and download allowances, will be set through a website. Calls to or from a parent's number can be made to override the restrictions, and calls to 911 can be made anytime." Smart Limits also includes filtering if Web access is within the AT&T phone network, though this is no cure-all – just another tool in the parental toolbox (it won't work on an iPhone or when any phone is using a wi-fi hot spot for Web browsing outside the company's network). Here's the Detroit Free Press's coverage, which says about 79% of US 15-to-17-year-olds have cellphones.
NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
- A positive, insightful new book for schools on bullying
- Students called heroes in this 6th-grade class
- In the face of school violence, what do we default to?
- Popularity: The other kind of vulnerability
- FB & Oculus VR: The potential of a virtual-reality platform
- What’s (importantly) different about Snapchat
- We ‘like’ faces in social media: Study
- Yik Yak update: How the app came to geo-fence off US schools
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- Facebook’s ‘Nearby Friends’ feature: What you need to know
- Identity theft a problem from cradle to grave — Kids most vulnerable
- How to protect your family from Heartbleed security flaw (slideshow)
- Beware of Heartbleed inspired phishing scams
- Are sites you use vulnerable to Heartbleed security flaw?
- Microsoft ends support of Windows XP: Machines highly vulnerable to security risks
- The evolution of online safety: Lessons learned over 20 years
- Safety through mindfulness: Watch ‘The Science of Character’