Over the past few weeks I have hosted a few little get togethers around Indianapolis talking to parents about kids and cell phones. I personally don’t think it’s a horrible idea for kids to have cell phones as long as there are limits, Cody agrees with me but until I began working with AT&T I believed that the only way to manage kids and cell phones was on the honor system.
I’ve tried the honor system with Addie and guess what? It doesn’t always work so well. Addie also has a terrible, TERRIBLE habit of misplacing things. A phone? Pfft. That thing would be gone forever in a week. Still, there are times I wish I could let her ride around the neighborhood on her bike, just like I did as a kid, and not worry about her. What if she fell off? What if she got lost? A phone in her pocket would alleviate many of those fears.
AT&T has worked really hard at looking at real world problems that parents face when it comes to mobile phone safety as well as phones for their kids and they’ve come up with some really smart solutions to everyday worries.
Problem: I can’t resist answering text messages and phone calls when I’m driving!
AT&T Solution: Drive Mode. A free app available for AT&T subscribers on Android and Blackberry (coming soon for iOS) lets you input a custom message that auto replies to texts and phone calls while you’re driving. The latest update activates Drive Mode as soon as you’re traveling above 25 MPH (if the automatic activation is not enabled you simply have to activate Drive Mode with one touch from the App.) Let’s say I’m driving to Emily’s and she texts or calls me to ask “Where are you at?” she’d get an auto response that says “I’m driving right now so I can’t/won’t answer my phone. I’ll get back to you when I am able to. I like being alive and so do all these other people around me.” My text alert doesn’t go off so the temptation to respond is gone and Emily knows what I’m doing. Up to 5 phone numbers can be set to get past Drive Mode so you’re not completely cut off from important communication.
Problem: I just want to know where my family is without bugging them!
AT&T Solution: Family Map. Allows you to track the location of the phones within your plan. Also allows you to set up alerts to tell you when someone in your family gets to a predetermined location “Addie made it to her gym.” or regularly update you at a certain time as to where everyone is “4pm, all six of your kids made it home from school.” Had Family Map been around when I was a kid I would have been in some serious trouble. “Hi Mom! I’m at the library with Sarah!” when I was really at a pizza place with my boyfriend. Offers peace of mind and big brother capabilities. Cost? $9.99 for two phones, up to five phones $14.99/month.
Problem: My kid texts at school!
AT&T Solution: Smart Limits for Wireless. You the parent control your child’s phone. You control when it turns on, when it turns off, how much data they can use, who they can call, who can call them and when they can call, text or use data. It sounds a little overbearing, but when you look at issues facing kids today with phones, it’s actually quite brilliant. You can set your child’s phone to be unusable in school except for the ability to call their parents or other numbers you predetermine. Once school is out? The phone unlocks and they can text their little hearts out. Bedtime? You can set quiet hours so Jane’s boyfriend can’t keep her up until 3 am talking about the latest pop band or indie flick. Have to ground your child but don’t want to take away their phone completely because you still need to be able to get ahold of them and vice versa? You as the parent have complete control. Kind of makes you drunk with power, no? Smart Limits also lets you block purchases and 411 capabilities. Cost? $4.99/month per line.
Problem: I’m stranded with a flat tire and I don’t know who to call!
AT&T Solution: Roadside Assistance. 24/7 coverage on towing for mechanical failure, battery service and jump start, flat tire assistance, out of gas fuel delivery (up to 3 gallons), and lockout assistance and key replacement (up to $50.) Coverage covers you in whatever car you may be traveling in as long as you have your phone with you. Cost? $2.99/month per enrolled phone. That’s cheap for peace of mind.
Problem: I lose my phone all the time when it’s on vibrate! I lost my phone! I DROPPED MY PHONE IN THE TOILET!
AT&T Solution: Mobile Protection Pack. Let’s you send a message to your phone to set off a three minute alarm even if your phone is on silent or vibrate. Also allows you to locate your phone using GPS and if you really did lose it, Mobile Protection Pack allows you to lock it remotely so no one can snoop in your business or use your phone for their plots to take over the world. Perhaps your seven year old dropped your phone in the bathtub while texting their dad? For a deductible Mobile Protection Pack will replace your damaged or lost phone within 24-48 hours. Cost? $9.99/month per device.
The best part is you can pick and choose which services are right for you and your family. With little kids, my gift for misplacing my phone and our lives on our phones, Mobile Protection Pack is a must. Someday Smart Limits will come into play and perhaps we’ll even have to track each other with Family Map in the near future. Drive Mode has changed the way I don’t text and drive pretty much every issue I had with Addie ever owning a phone in her youth has been answered by one of AT&T’s services. Good job AT&T.
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by AT&T through their Mobile Safety School program. I have been compensated for my time in participating and discussing AT&T’s commitment to family safety, not for selling a particular product or service. We do have AT&T, have had AT&T for years, we love AT&T and we paid for our own phones and we pay our phone bill every month as well.
Photo credit: Avitable