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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Get Peace of Mind with Verizon Safeguards

As we kick off what promises to be a record Holiday buying season, smartphones and tablets seem to be at the top of every child’s wish list. But despite lower prices and more flexible cellular plans, buying a mobile device for a younger family member can still be the cause of apprehension on the part of parents: Will the device be misused? What happens if the phone is lost or damaged? and Is it possible to block inappropriate web content and apps?

Luckily for Verizon Wireless customers, there is a whole suite of security options that can help give parents some much-needed peace of mind. Verizon recently consolidated all its safety tools in one easy-to-navigate online location entitled Verizon Safeguards, which features apps that can monitor individual data limits, block unwanted texts, track a user’s location, and much, much more.

Usage Controls

The foundation of any smartphone safety plan has to be the Verizon Wireless Usage Controls, which allow parents to set limits on calling, texting and data usage, as well as place restrictions on when a phone can be used, such as during school hours or after bedtime. With Usage Controls, parents can also block unwanted calls, texts and emails, and set up an allowance for spending on content downloads such as games, ringtones and apps. Usage Controls cost just $4.99 per month per device and, for a limited time only, the first month is free.

Content Filters

Along with other wireless carriers, Verizon has adopted a Mobile Application Rating System, which assigns ratings to content choices in the Verizon Apps storefront. Content Filters then allow parents to restrict what children can access from the Verizon Apps store based on age-appropriateness. Content Filters are free with a Verizon data plan.

Family Locator

As well as allowing parents to keep in touch with their kids through calls and texts, Verizon customers can also track the whereabouts of a phone – and therefore its owner – through the Family Locator app. Family Locator uses GPS technology and cellular network data to track the movement of a phone and even pinpoint its precise location. Parents can see where their kids are on detailed map, get notifications of arrival and departure from predetermined locations such as a school or friend’s house, and stay connected through an integrated family messaging tool. Family Locator can even link to VZ Navigator to get turn-by-turn directions.

Phone locations can be tracked on a smartphone through the Family Locator mobile app or via the web. Family Locator costs $9.99 per month for up to 10 separate phones.

Usage Alerts

If you want to make sure that your family stays within its plan for voice calls, messaging and data, then you can set up Usage Alerts. Alerts can be in the form of texts or e-mails and you can choose the levels at which the notifications are received. For example, you could request that family members receive alerts when data usage reaches 50%, 75% and 100% of the monthly plan.

Check out Verizon Safeguards for more information on these and other important safety tools.

The Online Mom receives a fee for participating in certain promotional campaigns for Verizon Wireless.

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