This post is sponsored by T-Mobile.
As parents in the digital age, we all know the internet can be an amazing educational and fun experience, but it can also be a scary place for our children. It can be so hard to stay on top of monitoring all of their devices — from their smartphones and tablets to gaming systems and computers. Often, cell phone carriers don’t have parental controls that are encompassing to monitor all of it. You could control their phones, but not so much the WiFi or their gaming systems.
Data shows that children get their first cell phone by age 10, and most US families have five or more connected devices. On average, children have at least 19 hours of screen time a week, which can add up to more than 1000 hours a year. All of this leads to a majority of parents who don’t feel like they have control over their children’s online habits or screen time.
I have totally felt overwhelmed by the amount of devices my children have that I need to monitor. But, with T-Mobile‘s new FamilyMode app and Home Base, I have found it’s so much easier to do.
FamilyMode from T-Mobile
Recently, T-Mobile unveiled a comprehensive solution to help control our children’s online activities and screen time. It’s a combination of the T-Mobile FamilyMode app and a device called the T-Mobile FamilyMode Home Base. The app allows you to control your children’s phones, and the Home Base allow you to do so much more by connecting to your router and/or WiFi to control the entire internet in your home. You can control screen time on other connected screens such as tablets, gaming systems, computers, and any other WiFi-connected devices in your home.
#1 You can control data usage on each device with the app installed. My 8 yr old will watch YouTube Kids all day and night if I let her, so I have to turn it off every day. Sometimes I feel it’s the only way to get her back to doing crafts and playing outside.
Here is my best tip for using FamilyMode — I have found that if I turn off all the devices at dinner time, I suddenly get a lot more help putting dinner on the table.
#2 It provides real-time location and monitoring. My 8 yr old doesn’t have a phone just yet, but my teens go off to hang out with their friends. With this app, I can easily find out exactly where they are for my peace of mind. My oldest is in college, and this app lets me check on her as she’s driving that long four-hour drive home. If you have a child who likes to wander, this will help you so much.
The best part of this is easily finding missing phones or iPads. You have no idea how often my kids misplace their phones. Now I can easily find it for them.
#3 You can easily filter web content on their phones and with the WiFi-connected devices. We still limit my 14 yr old’s gaming. I do not like him playing adult games, and this easily allows me to completely filter them out, so it’s not even a choice for him to make by himself.
It also allows me to completely remove YouTube from my 8 yr old’s devices. She goes down rabbit holes and finds new videos that I can’t easily control. She loves Roblox and watching Roblox videos, but they can be too mature for her. I feel FamilyMode really lets me keep her safe because some of those videos she’s accidentally found have scared her.
#4 You can see usage on all their devices. I am able to see exactly how much time my 14 yr old is working on his Minecraft server on his laptop when he’s telling me he’s been practicing guitar or doing his big summer assignment for school. I can also see exactly how long my 8 yr old has been watching television when she gets up before the baby and I in the morning.
#5 You can even manage in-home devices connected to the WiFi with the FamilyMode Home Base. I am so happy that I can manage each kid’s laptop as well as the XBox. This is really the part I love the most about FamilyMode. It’s very easy to put restrictions on their phones, but watching the computers and XBox are so hard. With FamilyMode, I’m able to easily set a time limit for my 8 yr old for the XBox without just standing there and turning it off manually. I was also able to hook up the Roku and monitor their tv-watching and turn it off when necessary.
I feel like T-Mobile has finally thought of almost everything when it comes to monitoring our kids. The FamilyMode app and Home Base are like a game changer in our household!
How much is it?
I’ll be honest. Reading about all that T-Mobile FamilyMode offered, the first thing I worried about was how much something this all inclusive would cost, but it’s really quite affordable! For a limited time the FamilyMode Home Base device is just $20, and it’s only $10/mo for the T-Mobile FamilyMode app. New and existing customers can sign up for T-Mobile FamilyMode in T-Mobile retail stores, online, or by calling 1-800-T-MOBILE. And, you can download the app from the app store on both Android and iOS.
Adding the Home Base device is simple, you can pick one up at any T-Mobile store or call 1-800-T-MOBILE (existing customers can dial 611 from their T-Mobile phone). Then, you just follow the simple instructions. I had no idea what I was doing, and I easily hooked it up to our router and had it working on all of our devices in less than 10 minutes.
The app helps you figure it all out. It really is amazing how you can easily set limits, filter things, and set bedtimes and down times. Plus, it allows you to reward your children with extra screen time. I have never seen a parental control this easy before!
The Benefits of T-Mobile
FamilyMode isn’t the only amazing benefit. T-Mobile ONE family accounts with 2 or more lines have so many added benefits at no extra cost:
- Family Allowances – monitor talk and text usage on the lines on your T-Mobile account.
- Netflix On Us: through an exclusive partnership, get a standard 2-screen subscription at no extra charge.
- Simple Global: unlimited text and data roaming and low flat-rate calling in 140+ countries
- Mobile Without Borders: use your device in Mexico and Canada with unlimited talk, text, and data and up to 5GB of 4G LTE
- Gogo Inflight: get unlimited texting all flight long and 1 free hour of smartphone Wi-Fi on all domestic flights
- DIGITS: use up to five numbers on one device, or use one number on multiple devices
- MobileHotspot: connect all your devices to the internet with included tethering data
- Un-contract: only you have the power to change the price you pay
- Carrier Freedom: we help cover your switching costs
- T-Mobile Tuesdays: get thanked with free stuff every week just for being a customer