You can’t keep children away from technology. Internet connectivity is so ingrained into our lives that you simply cannot pull your child away from it. The Internet is an important tool for learning and a great tool for entertainment. No parent should be denying their child access to it. However, they should be protecting their children from the horrors of the Internet. While the Internet is one of the greatest inventions in history, it has a dark side. Websites that you don’t want your children on. Online predators. Cyberbullies. It is the parent’s role not to stop a child from being on the internet, but to monitor how they use the internet. This is why Verizon introduced the Verizon Smart Family.
Verizon Smart Family is a piece of software designed for families. This tool makes the internet safer for children. It helps to monitor the ways in which a child is using the internet and prevent anything bad from happening. In this Verizon Smart Family review, we want to look at how Verizon Smart Family works. We will take a deep dive into the features it brings to the table, as well as the overall benefits a parent may have installing this on their child’s internet-connected smartphones and tablets.
A Powerful Suite of Parental Control Tools
Verizon Smart Family is a comprehensive suite of tools that can be installed on a child’s smartphone or tablet (iPads are not currently supported). In fact, it is perhaps one of the most comprehensive parental control tools available on mobile devices right now.
- Location tracking
- Driving insights (plus crash detection)
- Content filters
- Web and app monitoring
- Internet connectivity controls
- View calls and text messages
- Screen time viewer – see how often certain apps are used (Android devices only)
- Alerts if something noteworthy happens.
Perhaps the highlight of these features is the ability to block or filter content for the child. This means that access to certain apps can be restricted, as well as certain websites. This allows a parent to retain a tight leash over how their child is interacting with the internet. Verizon Smart Family ensures that only age-appropriate content can be accessed. Controls can be switched off by the parent easily, so as a child grows older and can be trusted more, the parent can open up more features to be used.
Every parent has probably had an issue with their children using their devices when they probably shouldn’t be, whether it is at school, when they are supposed to be doing homework, or when they should be sleeping. Verizon Smart Family allows the parent to restrict screen time. Daily limits can be put in place, as well as controls over the exact hours that the device can be used. Parents can change these settings whenever they wish.
Location Tracking and Geofencing Capabilities
Verizon Smart Family allows you to keep tabs on your child in real-time. Whenever you boot up your app, you can see exactly where your child is. Right down to the very street, or house they are in. Without Verizon Smart Family (i.e. just the basic Verizon tracking), you can only tell where they are within a few miles, which isn’t all that useful.
Verizon Smart Family also allows you to set up geofencing. When this is set up, you can receive notifications if your child leaves an agreed area. So, you know instantly if your child is breaking any rules that you laid out or if something has happened to them. Setting up boundaries like this is important. It shows that you trust your child, while also ensuring that your child only sticks to safer areas i.e. you don’t want your child wandering off in the direction of busy roads or high crime areas.
While Verizon Smart Family allows you to keep tabs on wherever your child is whenever you want, you probably won’t want to do that. You want to show some sort of trust in them. Therefore, Verizon Smart Family has provided a wealth of tools that allow you to set up notifications for when your child leaves designated areas. It takes just a couple of minutes to set up, and real-time monitoring ensures that notifications are sent instantly.
On top of this, Verizon Smart Family also allows you to set up drive insights for older children that can drive. Verizon will allow you to track this in real-time too, as well as send crash notifications if the worst should happen.
Remember, while your children may not be happy about you tracking their location, it is something that could feasibly save their lives. Imagine if the worst should happen and your child wandered off with somebody they didn’t know? Or got lost? You would be glad to have Verizon Smart Family running.
Communication Management and Contact Monitoring
One of the ‘big’ issues of this connected world is just how easy it is for predators to contact children. It was happening decades ago, but now the internet has made this so much easier. This is why Verizon Smart Family allows parents to monitor their child’s contracts and text messages.
Parents have the ability to see all calls and text messages going through their child’s phone. This means that parents can ensure their child is not talking to anybody with ulterior motives.
For added peace of mind, parents can set up a trust contacts list. This ensures that only people that you trust can speak with your child.
While parents are unlikely to want to monitor their children’s call logs and text history constantly, it does provide peace of mind knowing it can be accessed whenever. This way parents can see whether ‘bad’ people have contacted the child, or whether any cyberbullying is taking place. Both issues can be stamped out quickly.
Usage Insights and Activity Reports
As we said at the start, the internet is a very useful tool. You should not deny your child access to it. It is important to their education. It is important to their life. However, it is important that you monitor how your child is using the internet. This is why Verizon Smart Family allows parents to track app usage.
At a glance, parents can see which apps and websites are being accessed and when. Parents can even block certain apps and websites from being used. A parent literally has full control over how their child uses their phone. This may be important for younger children where a phone is a necessity, but where they shouldn’t be having unrestricted access to the internet.
Things like social media addiction, YouTube addiction, and game addiction are all too common nowadays. It is important to monitor your child to ensure that they are not spending too much time on certain apps or playing certain games. They can do it a little. The internet can be fun. But, when it is happening for hours and hours per day it becomes a real problem. Verizon Smart Family ensures that the child cannot do this.
Verizon Smart Family allows time-based restrictions on apps, allows the internet to be cut off at certain times, and even allows parents to receive alerts if their child is doing something with their phone that they probably shouldn’t be doing. This allows potential areas of concern to be addressed quickly.
Ease of Use and Compatibility
Verizon Smart Family works with most Android phones and iPhones. Unfortunately, due to technical limitations, you cannot use Verizon Smart Family on iPads. This is unlikely to ever be allowed.
Installing Verizon Smart Family is a breeze. Once you have signed up and paid for a Verizon Smart Family account, you can go to the app store (Google Play or Apple App Store, depending on the device) and install the Verizon Smart Family app on all family devices. Set-up takes place on the parent’s smartphone/tablet where they will need to log in to their Verizon account and pair their child’s devices. It takes just a couple of minutes to do.
The Verizon Smart Family app is incredibly easy to use. Menus are dead-simple to navigate, In fact. pretty much everything about the app is self-explanatory. Even if you don’t have that much phone knowledge, you should be able to navigate through the app with ease. Everything is properly explained, and even changing the most complex settings isn’t too difficult.
Parents can edit their child’s phone ‘permissions’ whenever they wish. There is no need to have the child’s phone nearby. On Android devices, the child won’t be able to uninstall the app without permission from the parent. The same can be set up for Apple devices, although the process is a bit more convoluted.
It does take a short while to get the app set up properly, especially if you are planning on putting a lot of restrictions on your child. But, once it is set up, it is pretty much ‘forget about it’. You will never have to tinker with the settings again, even if you change your phone. Just reinstall the app and everything should be saved.
Privacy and Security Considerations
Verizon takes privacy and data encryption seriously.
Parental control solutions, including Verizon Smart Family, will be playing host to a lot of data about your child. It will say who they are talking to, who they are messaging, the apps they are on, etc. More importantly, it will say exactly where they are. You need to ensure that the only people that have access to this information are those with permission to access the information. You don’t want a random person to know the real-time location of your child, right?
As part of Verizon’s commitment to privacy and security, all information sent through Verizon Smart Family is encrypted. The only people that can see that information will be those with permission to see it. Nobody can snoop in on that information, helping to protect your child.
Customer Support and Assistance
While we don’t anticipate that you will have any issues using Verizon Smart Family, you will be pleased to know that Verizon has extensive support options in place ‘just in case’.
If you log in to your Verizon account via your web browser, you can access the Verizon Live Chat system where you can get your answers in minutes. You can also drop the company an email or a phone call. Alternatively, the company can be reached via Facebook Messenger or Twitter. Although, don’t use Twitter if you are sharing private information about your child. Your tweets will be public.
Verizon also has an extensive FAQ that answers the most common questions related to Verizon Smart Family: https://www.verizon.com/support/verizon-smart-family-faqs/
For Verizon phone users, Verizon Smart Family is a robust parental control solution. This app-based tool is loaded with features to help protect your child both online and in the offline world. Those opting for the Verizon Smart Family Premium package will have extensive tools to track their child’s real-time location, whether they are on foot or driving. Opting for the standard Verizon Smart Family package will offer content and app-blocking options, as well as methods to track your child’s phone communications. Apps like Verizon Smart Family are vital in this day and age. They ensure that your child can use the internet, apps, etc. while also ensuring that they do so in a safe way. It is a worthwhile purchase for any parent that cares about their child’s phone and online safety.