Using Parental Controls with Kid Cell Phones

While parents don’t necessarily have to worry as much about teens running off like a small child would, knowing where they are at all times can offer some peace of mind.

Of course, teens and even tweens can be a finicky bunch. They want their phones to look cool and have fun features like texting and MP3 players. Parents are more concerned with keeping them safe and, in the case of preteens, monitoring how and when cell phones are used.

Parental controls are a standard feature on phones geared toward kids and teens. One of the most popular services is Kajeet. The company offers its slick-looking phones with all the features parents want. Kajeet uses its Web-based Configurator to allow parents to approve and block numbers, set when phones can and can’t be used, and view outgoing and incoming calls—all online.

The Guardian Angel operates the same way using its own cell phone with GPS special software installed. Parents can monitor their child’s location by logging into the service’s Web site. Phones cost anywhere from $85 to $149, with an additional $50 set-up fee. The monthly service is $30, prepaid.

Another service called the Radar My Mobile Watchdog won’t tell you exactly where your child is, but it will allow you to thoroughly monitor all call activities. By setting up an account, parents can view all incoming and outgoing text messages (including multimedia). They will also be alerted when their child receives unapproved texts, calls and e-mails. Parents can also print out all text messages and phone records for authorities.

The software costs only $10 a month on top of a regular phone service plan. It’s been making headlines, too—from features on Today and Good Morning America, to a recent OC Weekly article that said My Mobile Watchdog has led to the arrest of 43 alleged sex offenders in Jefferson County, Colo.

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