T-Mobile Announces New 'FamilyMode' Feature for Monitoring Kids' Online Activity

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    T-Mobile this morning announced the launch of T-Mobile FamilyMode, a new feature that is designed to let parents monitor and control what their kids are doing on their internet-connected devices.

    T-Mobile FamilyMode service is available via a FamilyMode app and can also be used with an add-on device called the FamilyMode Home Base, which is designed to connect to a home's Wi-Fi system to provide access to connected devices.

    FamilyMode from T-Mobile will let parents manage, monitor, filter, and set time limits for a range of devices, even those that aren't connected to the T-Mobile network thanks to the Home Base. It will also provide location services for keeping track of kids.

    According to T-Mobile, it will work with phones, tablets, gaming consoles, laptops, smart TVs, and other Wi-Fi connected devices.

    T-Mobile is charging $20 for the FamilyMode Home Base and $10 a month for the FamilyMode app, which controls the FamilyMode system. The FamilyMode feature will be available to customers starting on June 29.


    Device monitoring and time management features to cut down on device addiction have become popular in 2018. The newest version of Google's Android operating system includes Android Dashboard for monitoring time spent on a device and setting limits, and a similar feature, Screen Time, has been included in iOS 12.

    Screen Time includes comprehensive monitoring of the amount of time spent using iOS devices, along with detailed parental controls and app limit features.

    T-Mobile isn't the first carrier to join the device monitoring trend. Verizon in April announced "Smart Family," an app that lets parents track screen time, set content filters, monitor location, and more. Verizon's option does not include hardware and is priced at $4.99 to $9.99 per month.

    Article Link: T-Mobile Announces New 'FamilyMode' Feature for Monitoring Kids' Online Activity
  2. Apple Architect macrumors regular

    Apple Architect

    Apr 4, 2007
    United Kingdom
    This is simply a Family Circle device (https://meetcircle.com) - often branded as Circle by Disney. One of payment, no monthly subscription.
  3. Bswails macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2016
    Why would I pay for something like this when it clearly appears google and Apple are both going to roll out better controls for devices for children Most families(at least the ones I know) all use the same brand device.
  4. jamescobalt macrumors regular


    Mar 7, 2012
    Boston, MA
    Yup, just a rebranded Circle. I believe I got mine for $49 on sale (normally $99); no monthly fee. For $5/month I can add a subscription to get the same features that this FamilyMode subscription includes for $10. So... after 11 months, it's cheaper to have bought directly from Circle, and that's assuming you paid full price for it. If you own it for a few years, that's about $130 cheaper.
  5. justperry, Jun 25, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018

    justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    How about:

    Monitoring Adults' Activity

    *Cause...you know, they sometimes need to be monitored as well.

    * Just an example, kids playing in the backyard, swimming pool nearby, but She/He is too busy with their phone....irresponsible behaviour.

    Wow, seems like they only added the T-Mobile branding, everything else seems to be the same.

    10$ Monthly sub is steep.
  6. stiligFox macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2009
    Perfect for helicopter parents all around the world!

    I understand that every situation is unique and I don’t have children yet, but I feel having meaningful discussions about the internet (more than a simple “don’t do that”) as well as setting time limits on internet access would be better than just idle spying.

    Granted, I can imagine more troublesome children will need monitoring; but as a whole I feel like this sets up a feeling of no privacy, and just gets kids used to the feeling that they are being watched always, either by parents or corporations or governments, so what’s the problem of not having privacy?
  7. deeddawg, Jun 25, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018

    deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    Bingo. You don't have children. That's okay, it just means you don't have the benefit of seeing stuff first hand.

    Some people's kids are pretty good about keeping out of trouble. Some people's kids aren't. Often, though not always, it's more to do with the child's personality than it is the parenting.

    Lots of content for kids is great. Some of it isn't, despite it initially appearing so. https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-39381889

    As parent you (ideally) tailor your parenting to the individual child's needs. Yes, you have discussions. To the degree you can, not every 8-year old really understands "why" they can't do what they want. As the child grows and matures you expand the boundaries. Give them freedom appropriate to their personalty until you have reason not to -- but *as* a parent you still need to keep an eye on what's going on so you can address an issue while it remains small. Particularly given the amount of predators out there and the new/different ways they stage an attack.

    So yes, trust the child to make good decisions. But you still need to verify at some level and to some degree. Without becoming a helicopter parent.
  8. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Actually no, you would need Circle Home and Circle Go to replicate this service. $99 and $4.99/mo. So it's cheaper over the long-run but still requires a monthly subscription.
  9. ThankYouRob macrumors member


    Mar 2, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    You are 100% right! Also Netgear has Circle built into a few of their wifi routers as well, but we went with the standalone Circle in our house, not perfect, but at least gives us the ability of turning on time limits with Youtube/internet.
  10. Yasonrad macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2018
    If you own a Netgear router you already get Disney Circle for free.$5 a month subscription for premium features but for most families even the basic free account offers you a really good content and app control over things like FB, YouTub, etc. You can even prevent vpn use to get around the filters.
  11. usarioclave macrumors 65816

    Sep 26, 2003
    As a note, you can use your circle to whitelist access to your connection - above and beyond your router's whitelisting.

    Basically, you put all your devices in a group, then pause the "Home" group. Anything that's new gets dropped into your home group and can't get out.

    As for the philosophy of internet blocking, well, you don't have kids. I've been online since the SLIP days, and there's a ton of stuff out there that's inappropriate for adults, much less kids. Think of the worst thing you can imagine and someone out there has made a business supplying it, and they've been doing it for years so they're really good at it. YMMV.
  12. stiligFox macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2009
    Very true info and I do agree very much. After giving it some thought there are definitely things I wouldn’t want my children to stumble upon (besides the obvious). YouTube, even YouTube Kids; even stuff marketed for kids like Bobs Burgers and the such are too inappropriate in my opinion until someone is older.

    And don’t get me started on half of the garbage in Netflix Kids.

    Thank you for your reply!
  13. dmylrea macrumors 68030


    Sep 27, 2005
    I would not label parents who monitor their kids (at any level from a minimum of random checks now and then to full-on logging and monitoring of everything they do) as "helicopter parents". To do nothing and just trust your kid is not parenting at all, and if you watch the news, you might see that it's just as easy for it to be YOUR KID that committed suicide or shot up their school, or ran away to be with an internet stranger, and you'll stand back, like ALL THE OTHERS, and say "I didn't have a clue"!

    Under 10 is more about controlling the amount of time spent online. Once in middle school, it's a whole different game. You'll find (if you ever have kids) that middle school is make-or-break for your child. It's very easy to hang with the wrong crowd, try drugs, etc. Social media--a big influence. Then there is high school.

    The point is, as an "armchair parenting expert" you think a kid develops and matures in the footsteps of how their parents parented them. And to some extent, it is part of the mix, but it's not cast in concrete and there are lots of distractions (the internet being the LARGEST of them) along the way. I might go as far as to say social media, internet "friends" and school friends have more impact than parenting. and, a kid doesn't have to be "troublesome" to have issues. Trust me.

    After all, young teens brains are not fully developed and things like consequences and decision-making are lacking for many of them.

    Good luck with your future kids!
  14. stiligFox macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2009
    Thank you for your input; as you say I haven’t had kids so I’ll see in time.

    My only experience is from my parents; they didn’t let me have a laptop until I was 15 and still locked down my MacBook to where I could only access certain websites and only use the computer for 2 hours a day.

    From my experience with that - and that is by no means the same for everyone - it failed horribly; not only did I find my ways around the system restrictions, and learned how to hide my tracks, it gave me a weird sense of privacy and I felt the need to hide everything I did, even if they wouldn’t have minded what I was doing.

    I eventually admitted to what I was doing and they eventually allowed me full access, I’m just saying that it’s not the right solution for everyone.

    I do very much agree unfettered access is not the solution as well, but there must be a happy medium.
  15. zakarhino macrumors demi-god


    Sep 13, 2014
    Bay Area, CA.
    Yes, yes, let's install an intentional networking sniffing device on the network... I'm sure nothing could go wrong with that...
  16. DeepIn2U macrumors 603


    May 30, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I'd like to announce to fellow parents of the world that are completely SLACKING ...

    a HUGE upside the face, strong like a withewall bat, full arm extended, wet open-hand SMACK across the back of the neck.

    it's getting really sad and pathentic that there are technology software enhancements that allow parents to watch over their kids instead of:

    Loving your kids
    paying attention to their likes/dislikes and growing needs from BIRTH,
    showing kids how to responsibly use and augment technology,
    building and maintaining a form of TRUST real world trust where your word is your BOND!
    applicable punishments/withdrawals of said tools and other benefits many, like ever child does at some point take for granted,
    instilling them with sound self confident ideals like a job, rewards of feeling good for taking care of responsibilities and positive encouragement to enforce these as life long habits even when at times it's not met by the kids.
  17. Morgenland macrumors 6502


    May 28, 2009
    helicopter parents, helicopter government - t-mobile supplies them all
  18. Glen Danielsen macrumors newbie

    Glen Danielsen

    Sep 4, 2014
    --- Post Merged, Jun 26, 2018 ---
    Great insights, Deep. So crucially important; thank you. Wondering though: how about using only the time-limit feature WITHOUT the monitoring privacy-invading feature. Teens can accept that there are limits to TV, social media, etc. Those things are too often addicting.
    So, not parental snooping, but rather a cutoff timer. What do you think?

  19. DeepIn2U macrumors 603


    May 30, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    A cutoff timer is great.

    I still think a lot of other parents are just throwing up their hands in “give up” mode Vs. doing their primary job ... being a parent ;)

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