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
- New Facebook policy targets guns, other regulated items
- Google’s new learning tool that learns
- The flap over Talking Angela the chatbot app
- About the worldwide ‘selfie’ phenomenon
- How technology will improve the well-being of young adults
- Calling our children narcissists on ‘a sociopathic scale’: Really!?
- Nothing complicated about this: Read ‘It’s Complicated’!
- Teens’ own (wise) perspectives on life with social media
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- Smartphones that promise user privacy
- Author danah boyd on why teens and social media are ‘complicated’
- Security experts at RSA decry government hacking
- In defense of Internet safety education
- ‘Neknominate’ is a stupid and potentially deadly online dare game
- Confessions of a binge viewer
- People who suffer from so-called ‘game addiction’ have other problems
- U.S. Safer Internet Day focused on potential, positives and problems too