Verizon Smart Family is a parental control app that lets you monitor your children’s smartphone, tablet, and computer use. With its GPS tracking feature, you can see exactly where your kids are at all times.
You’ll know if they’re lying about their location or if they’re spending too much time in one place. The app also gives you access to the contacts in your child’s device, so you can stay connected with friends and family members in case of an emergency.
The app is free to download on Android and iOS devices. However, to unlock all features, you’ll need to download the premium version for $10 per month or $100 per year.
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The Verizon Smart Family Premium app gives parents access to a lot of information about their kids. Through the “Call & Text Logs” section, you can see who has called your kid or sent them a text message over the past 30 days. There is also a “People You Know” section that shows you who your child has been communicating with most frequently over the past 30 days. And with the “Messages & Social Media” section of the app, you can view all the messages.
Verizon Smart Family offers features such as:
- A dashboard where you can see what your kids are doing on their devices and set time limits for them
- A location tracker, so you can monitor where your child is at any given time and get real-time updates on their location if you feel something is amiss.
- A call tracker, which automatically records incoming and outgoing calls from all of your kids’ devices. This way, if they receive or make a call that raises red flags, you’ll be able to listen to both sides of the conversation and find out exactly what went down
- An activity log that allows you to see which apps are used most frequently by your child, which can help you make decisions about what types of content they may be exposed to. The log also shows how much time your child spends on each app or other device activity.
- Scheduling: Schedule when devices can access the Internet, including days of the week and times of day as well as blocking specific websites.
- Alerts: Receive notifications whenever a device connects to the Internet or experiences some other activity.
- Geo-fencing: Set up virtual boundaries around your home and receive alerts if any devices attempt to leave that area.
- Age-based Filtering: Choose from pre-selected age groups for each device and block inappropriate websites or apps.
- Search Filter: Limit searches of content on particular websites or apps to only those that are appropriate for the age group you choose for a device.
- Usage History: View how much data has been used on individual devices and set usage alerts so you know when you need to intervene on your kids’ behalf.
Verizon’s newest product, Smart Family, is a comprehensive system for monitoring and managing your family’s internet activity. It allows you to set time limits for specific devices, monitor the content of web pages visited, and block certain types of content (like pornography or gambling sites). The product is on-par with competitors in terms of its features, but it has a distinct advantage in the number of ways it can be customized to fit your family’s needs.
Verizon Smart Family is available as a free app for Android and iOS devices. For $10 per month, you can also access the service through a website that provides additional functionality. If you want to monitor more than five devices or want to block adult content on your home network rather than just specific devices, you’ll need to pay an additional $10 per month for each extra device or $20 per month for the entire home network.
The app itself looks pretty good, with a clean design that is easy to navigate. You can see the details of each child’s account, including the dates of their plan, whether they’ve used any data or minutes recently, and how many texts they’ve sent or received. It also shows how many times they’ve been online on certain websites.
Verizon Smart Family gives you real-time access to the location of your children through an online map for your smartphone. You can also view past locations. The system includes a feature that will alert you if your child leaves the “safe zone” that you’ve set—you can specify the distance and directions from the specified safe zone that will trigger an alert, such as “Google – 2 miles, 50 degrees,” so that if your child goes somewhere that takes him farther than two miles away in a direction of 50 degrees or more (e.g., going due south), you’ll get a text message.
The app comes with several pre-programmed modes:
Away: The mode sends you an alert when a door or window opens. This comes in handy in case of burglary or other unwanted entry.
In Home: Notifies you if a door or window opens while everyone is at home.
Night: If a door or window opens after midnight, the app will send you an alert. This one is also useful for burglary purposes, especially if you’re home alone at night and living in a neighborhood where crimes of opportunity are common.
Smoke/Fire: When smoke or fire is detected, the app will let you know so that you can handle it quickly before it becomes a major problem.
Night Light: The app senses when a room gets dark and turns on the lights. Useful for kids’ rooms without doors, or rooms without windows where there’s no natural light coming through during daytime hours.
- Track your child’s location while they travel in the car.
- Monitor their speed and driving behavior.
- Receive automatic alerts when your child arrives at their destination.
- Receive automatic alerts when your child requests a ride.
- Send commands directly to your child’s phone using text messages (like “call me” or “set speed limit 10”).
Parents can set a schedule for when their children are allowed to use certain features of the phone, allowing them to have control over how much time the kids spend on their phones each day. For example, you could set a limit on how many texts your child can send per day, or you could allow unlimited texting between family members while limiting text messages to other people. You can even customize settings to apply only at certain times of the day such as during school hours or dinner time.
This feature is great for parents who are concerned about how much their teens are driving or how they’re driving. It allows you to see not only when they’re driving, but also the length of each trip, the places they go, and even who goes with them. This can help you to establish if your child is a safe driver or if you should be doing more to encourage them to be safer on the road.
The content filters, on the other hand, can help you to monitor what your kids are doing online from time to time. These filters block certain types of content from being accessed on their phones and tablets. You can choose from several categories (including social media, gambling, alcohol, dating sites, etc.) and set a schedule for when these filters are active. This is a great feature for parents who want to limit their children’s access to inappropriate content at certain times of the day or night.
Web and Apps
The Verizon Smart Family website offers a lot of information, including articles on how to set up the app, videos, and FAQs. After signing up for an account (and creating child accounts), you can get started by downloading the app on the child’s phone. At this point, the child will be prompted to install an agent on his or her device. The agent is basically a VPN that connects the child’s phone to your account so you can view what they’re doing online through your own account.
Web Viewing Features
The web-based app has plenty of features that will help keep your family safe online. You can easily set time limits for each device, so if your teenage daughter is spending too much time on Instagram instead of getting her homework done, you can limit her access until she does it. You can also schedule times for when each device will be accessible, which could help with curfews or bedtimes if your daughter gets out of bed after lights out.
By utilizing the Verizon Smart Family app, parents can better educate and guide their kids on making the right decisions. Because there have been so many complaints on tracking phones through GPS, we appreciate the fact that Verizon Smart Family allows you to do this without actually having to track any phone at all. It’s a feature that isn’t as invasive, but is still extremely functional. You can also customize your settings regarding which information you keep private, and you can even see if your teen gets those few extra hours of sleep they need.
Verizon Smart Family has all the features we look for in a parental control app. The app works well, is simple to use and is also very secure. The device locking feature is not only useful but very unique to Verizon Smart Family. For parents that need this feature it is a positive. Overall we give Verizon Smart Family 3.5 out of five stars!