AT&T today announced Smart Limits for Wireless, a new Web-based service that allows parents to set usage limits on a child’s talk time, text messages, instant messages (IMs) and downloads, manage how and when a child can communicate, restrict access to mobile Web sites and allocate minutes among users of shared wireless plans.
It helps parents protect children from inappropriate calls, texts and Internet content by allowing parents to block numbers they deem inappropriate and filter access to content inappropriate for children on their child’s phone. Parents also have the flexibility to go online and change the limits at any time. With AT&T Smart Limits for Wireless online service, customers can:
- Limit the number of minutes that their children can use a wireless phone
- Set limits on text and instant messages
- Establish a dollar amount for download purchases, such as ringtones and games
- Control the time of day and days of the week that the phone can be used
- Block calls and text messages to/from numbers they don’t approve
- Filter access to Internet content that is inappropriate for children
- Calls and text messages to and from numbers designated as “Allowed Numbers” and calls to 9-1-1 are permitted regardless of restrictions to allow families to keep in touch
The AT&T service also allows filtering of Web sites parents don’t want their children accessing from their phones, but that function will not work on Apple’s iPhone because of the browser, said AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook. The Web site filter will also be inoperable when a phone is using a Wi-Fi network because AT&T can only block content delivered over its wireless networks.
Disney Mobile offers many of the same functions as AT&T’s new service, but parents must sign up their kids with the carrier. Disney phones also include a GPS function that allows parents to physically locate their kids’ handset. Other parental controls are offered by Enfora Inc.’s TicTalk and Firefly Mobile which offer handsets for children.
AT&T Wireless also has a subscription navigation service called TeleNav GPS Navigator on some handsets and PDAs, while Verizon Wireless has VZ Navigator and Sprint Nextel offers MapQuest Navigator, which features a pedestrian walking mode. Telmap provides navigation on your cell phone for a small monthly fee, not just in the U.S. but in many other markets as well.
Researcher Pike & Fisher gave Sprint the highest rank for location based features, enabling users to get voice-guided driving directions, traffic alerts and alternative routes, as well as the location of gas stations with the lowest prices. At the other end of Pike & Fisher’s top-five list is T-Mobile USA.
Related DailyWireless stories on Location Services and GPS include; GPS Tracking: In a Shoe, On a Bike, Road Trip 2.0, Tracking Vehicles: Good to Go, Navizon on Blackberry: GPS Not Required, What Up at Where 2.0, and Geocoding Content & Telemetry.