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Parental controls on texting

Parents have become more concerned with monitoring the texts that their kids receive on their cell phones. Some parents disagree with this idea. They believe it means you are trying to be to controlling over your kids, or that it is equivalent to spying.Others view cell phone parental control as a crutch for parents not taking time to develop a relationship with their children, and teaching them how to be safe. But still many parents believe that it is another way of being a good parent. They compare parental control on their child's cell phone to a parent checking attendance at school, completion of homework, meeting their friends, and knowing their daily schedules. Kids having cell phones gives them a lot of opportunities for social interaction. Reports have shown that as many as 45% of kids between 10 and 12 have their own cell phones. Most phones are web compatible and contain a camera, also giving the ability to receive picture messages, even if they are inappropriate. There are many dangers with kids having cell phones. Many kids do not fully understand the implications of sending out revealing pictures. Any embarrassing or inappropriate text or picture messages are harmful, because they can easily be broadcasted to large numbers of others quickly. Having parental control software is a solution to keep your kids safe. What features does the parental control software offer? Many but not all parental control software's offer the three following categories:

Content Filters
This allows parents to set filter for what multimedia content their children can download to their cell phones. While content filters are more important for web, video download capabilities most phones now have some internet browser connection. However content filters are not fully foolproof. Inappropriate content can also be received via text, IM or email.

Usage Controls

Usage controls put the parent in charge of a child's cell phone usage. Such as regulating the number of calls and text messages they can send or receive. Now many parents often decide to go with a cellular plan of unlimited text messaging to avoid any overages. This will still allow parents to block certain numbers or restrict outgoing calls to a pre approved list. It can even disable their cell phone during certain times of the day. Example would be during school hours or after a certain time in the evening.

Location and monitoring controls
This can be used to monitor where your child is through a built in GPS system. Some systems are even capable to send alerts when a child's phone moves out of a pre-agreed zone or range.
Each carrier has a different parental control system. Below it will list each carrier and what is offered through their parental control.

AT&T's main parental control product is AT&T smart limits for wireless which include the 3 categories described above. Sprints parental controls are less developed and there is no complete package of controls that can be accessed online. Instead they offer selective blocking features for incoming calls, text messages, and content purchases which are managed through the users my sprint account.

T-Mobile is perhaps the least sophisticated of the main carriers when it comes to parental controls. Their "family friendly" features consist of a series of all- or nothing blocking options and web guard.

Verizon has by the far the most comprehensive menu of parental controls, which are organized along the lines of the three main categories listed above. Using parental control will help to keep your children safe, but it is a personal choice whether or not the parent decides to use this feature.

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