It’s different today. Send a kid to her room and she can play Fortnite with other kids around the world or disassemble your old tablet and rebuild the motherboard from YouTube videos.
But today’s parents are learning how to combine “house rules” with the new parental controls. “Seventy-nine percent of parents have used a type of digital tool in the form of in-app solutions, parental controls, safety features, privacy settings or digital usage restrictions,” according to a study on tools for today’s digital parents in 2020 by the Family Online Safety Institute.
And now, parental control apps with GPS built in, like Verizon Smart Family, can help parents do more than set time limits and filter content. They also show your child’s near real-time location using GPS, geofencing, location history, crash detection, as well as provide updates on battery levels and other features parents can utilize.
Verizon’s Smart Family app also uses GPS to meet your kids where they are—whether they’re across town and need a ride, or in a multiplayer game online. So, if you can’t send them to their room, you can shut off their Internet but keep their phone operable to call or text in an emergency. But how do you use these apps so the tech disappears and the parenting stays front and center? We asked an expert, Sarah Werle-Kimmel, founder of Family Tech, how she uses Verizon Smart Family’s GPS and more to parent her two kids, Maddie, age 16, and Michael, age 13.
What is Verizon Smart Family and how does it work?
In short: It’s a way to monitor and control your child’s mobile device. Install the app on your device and the companion app on the mobile devices in your child’s life, and you can set limits on screen time, shut off data, filter out age-inappropriate content and check their GPS location at any time. You can also adjust these settings from the app as your kids grow up, and if they try to uninstall the app from tracking their online behavior, you’ll get a notification about that, too.
Werle-Kimmel recommends using the parental control app that is offered by your wireless carrier—in her case, it’s Verizon’s Smart Family (and if you’re thinking about switching to Verizon, they just launched a new unlimited plan with Welcome Unlimited1).