Tech Check: Summer smart phone data

Tech Check: Summer smart phone data

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Many teens act like their smart phones are a permanent attachment to their bodies, but there are ways parents can cut costs and keep an eye on their teens' data usage over the summer.

During summer break, teens will spend an average of three hours and 45 minutes each day on their cell phones.  So what can you do to make sure the kids are not wasting away their summer on a device?  The folks at Verizon say that all wireless carriers offer options for parents to monitor their kids' smart phone usage.  It may cost a little bit (the fee at Verizon is $4.99 per line), but that might be better than a big bill.

With usage controls, parents can both monitor and manage what their kids are doing with their devices.  You can choose what kind of apps they can buy, or set up an allowance that budgets how much they spend in the app store.  You can also set up quiet time that prevents your kids from using their devices during certain hours.

Along with the internet, most teens use their smart phones to send text messages.  In fact, 88 percent of teens will take their texting device everywhere they go this summer, from camp to vacation to their summer jobs.  Just over half of them will text message more than 51 times a day.

You can set up controls that allow them to communicate only with certain people in their contact lists.  Or, if for some reason your child calls 911 for an emergency, you can receive an instant text message letting you know.  

Wireless carriers also offer services that help you locate where your family members with smart phones are so you can keep track of them.  

Check with your wireless carrier to see what kind of services they offer to manage and monitor your kids' smart phone usage.

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