Which Cell Phone Provider Has The Best Parental Controls?

Words by
Jackie Baucom

FEB 21, 2024

Which Cell Phone Provider Has The Best Parental Controls?

Over 91% of American fourteen-year-olds own a smartphone today. Data like that proves we live in an era dominated by technology (just in case that wasn’t clear already). 

Connectivity brings huge benefits but without proper supervision and parent monitoring, children may be exposed to inappropriate content and may struggle to regulate their screen time.

A child’s first phone is now a milestone as big (or bigger) than getting a driver’s license. When to give them that phone — and what phone to give them — are big parenting decisions.

The biggest considerations when it comes to parental control and safety features apply at the device and app level (more on this below) but cell phone service providers do offer some safety options to be aware of.

To help parents in this decision-making process, we have compiled a comprehensive list of safety features offered by prominent service providers.


att logo

AT&T offers the Secure Family plan to allow parents control over the entire family’s phone usage. For an extra $7.99, billed monthly, the plan can be used to locate the device, control screen time, and block inappropriate content. The plan also tracks location data on the account so parents can see where their children have traveled in previous days and weeks.

AT&T Parental Control Features

AT&T has parental control features that can be enabled from the parent’s account, or via the AT&T Secure Family parent app.

  • Location Tracking: Alerts can be sent to a parent’s phone when the child leaves school, arrives at a friend’s house, or heads to the park to play. 
  • Limit Screen Time: Set limits on screen time for when a child uses the internet via mobile data or Wi-Fi. Parents can also completely block access to the internet during particular time schedules.
  • Filter Website Access or App Access: Parents can filter inappropriate apps and websites either by age, or customized settings. Parents can also turn off the child’s phone from making in-app or App Store purchases.

How to Manage Parental Controls on AT&T

To enable parental control for AT&T phones, the parent must have an AT&T wireless account, with the added subscription of the Secure Family plan. The plan then needs to be activated through the AT&T Secure Family app. It’s important to note that only two parents or guardians can locate and manage family members’ devices.

To get started, plan members need to download the AT&T Secure Family app. From there, the app provides straightforward instructions for the pairing process.

T Mobile

T Mobile logo

T-Mobile provides a variety of plans tailored for children under 16, with each plan offering flexibility to cater to each family’s unique requirements.

This means that parents can have the autonomy to determine when and how they want to manage their family’s devices, granting them the freedom to strike a balance between connectivity and control that suits their family dynamics.

T-Mobile FamilyMode

FamilyMode is an app that allows parents to monitor internet access use on the T-Mobile network and over any Wi-Fi connection. A separate subscription of $10 a month is needed to use this tool. 

To get started, the FamilyMode app should be first installed on the parent’s device and all other devices to be monitored. T-Mobile also offers Family Allowances — a free add-on option to FamilyMode that allows parents to set up a specific allowance for the number of minutes, downloads, or messages on each device or account. Parents will need to sign up for FamilyMode from their own devices.

With FamilyMode and Family Allowances, you can:

  • View time spent on calls
  • Enact a talk time limit for all calls 
  • Monitor the number of messages sent and received and the amount spent on downloads per account
  • Limit the amount of money spent on any downloaded games, apps, and more
  • See tracking and location history

Web Guard by T-Mobile

Web Guard is a free option from T-Mobile as a supplement to Family Mode. This feature focuses entirely on moderating the content that your family sees on the internet. Here are some of the things you can do with Web Guard: 

  • Control the devices that can access the internet in your home
  • Create family profiles to personalize your settings 
  • Set up web browsing filters 
  • View browsing history for all devices in the home
  • Designate an online Safety Area — safe websites your children can visit 
  • Send rewards for good behavior 

However, Web Guard is only available when connected to the network provided by T-Mobile. It does not limit inappropriate content when kids use other means to access Wi-Fi. It won’t block inappropriate instant messages (IM), email, or text messages.

How to Manage Parental Controls on T-Mobile

Enabling parental control features through the T-Mobile FamilyMode app is a straightforward process that becomes easy to manage after the initial setup. 

First, download the FamilyMode app from the Google Play Store for Android devices or the App Store for iPhones. During installation, users must log in to the T-Mobile account, to ensure the device being used belongs to the account’s primary holder. 

Once successfully logged in, the app will guide the user through intuitive steps to configure desired controls. These controls encompass a range of options, including tracking features and setting screen time limits.

As the family’s needs evolve, parents can easily adjust and fine-tune these settings to maintain a safe and suitable online environment for their children.


verizon logo

Verizon Smart Family allows customers to manage everything from phone activity and usage to driving insights, depending on the plan chosen.

Verizon Parental Control Features

Verizon Smart Family offers two separate pricing plans. For a monthly fee of $9.99, the subscription can be used to:

  • Locate family members and set alerts for arrivals and departures
  • View driving insights and receive crash alerts in case of an accident
  • Block inappropriate content on websites and apps
  • Monitor texts, calls, and online activity 
  • Limit and monitor calls, texts, and purchases

The Verizon Smart Family subscription of $4.99 a month, gives more basic controls, including:

  • View activity of texts, calls, and online usage
  • Block inappropriate content
  • Set time restrictions for messaging and calls

How to Manage Parental Controls on Verizon

Users can manage Verizon Smart Family through their account via the “My Verizon” website or the Verizon Smart Family – Parent app

Once logged in to a Verizon account, phone lines can be selected and added to the Smart Family Plan. After the account is set up for this feature, parents can download the Smart Family Companion app on the child’s device.

Kid-safe Devices and Apps

While we approve any measures taken to improve kids’ online safety, no service provider parental control options should be considered foolproof. The best options for protecting your child are on the level of devices and apps.

little girl smiling at cellphone

We’re big believers in tech built for kids from the ground up. That’s why Gabb devices and apps are engineered specifically to prioritize kids’ well-being.

Our goal is to offer options that not only allow children to take their first steps into the digital world safely, but also provide parents with a hassle-free setup process, eliminating the need for complex parental control configurations.

Gabb Device Safety Features

Gabb phones have the most rigorous safety features available. Here are some of the features that Gabb devices offer: 

  • GPS tracking and geofencing
  • Customizable “safe zones”
  • No social media apps
  • No internet web browser
  • Lock Mode scheduling
  • Gabb Guard, standard software on all Gabb phones that blocks spam and robocalls

Gabb App Safety Features

Most of your kids’ time spent on their phone will be through apps so it’s crucial that you consider the safety of an app before allowing your child to download and use it.

Custom Gabb apps include:

  • Gabb Messenger, our custom messaging app that blocks dangerous messages and alerts the parents of questionable communications so important conversations can take place
  • Gabb Music, the largest, custom kid-safe music streaming service available

Gabb also has its own suite of Gabb-reviewed and parent-enabled 3rd-party apps. This app library eliminates social media apps and other apps that include the biggest risks for kids and teens. Anything available in Gabb’s app library has been reviewed so parents can easily understand what benefits and risks they contain before enabling them for download on their child’s Gabb device.

We Want to Hear From You

We’re always looking to hear from parents on what will help them most when it comes to keeping their families safely connected. What questions do you have about devices and features you can use to keep your kids safe? Let us know in the comments below.


  • Mint Mobile Promo Code on Feb 21, 2024 04:38 PM

    Great read. I posted this on my Facebook and my followers enjoyed it! Keep up the good work. :)

  • Gabb on Feb 21, 2024 05:33 PM

    Thank you! We appreciate your support.

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