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T-Mobile gives parents more control

T-Mobile's Family Allowances lets parents how their kids use their cell phones.

Though T-Mobile doesn't offer any cell phones specifically designed for kids and teenagers, the carrier on Thursday announced features that will allow parents to control how their children use their phones.

With the Family Allowances program, parents with a family plan can give their kids and teens a monthly allowance for using their cell phone. The allowance works on any T-Mobile phone and can cover all services including calling, messages, mobile Web browsing, and downloads. Once the allowance is used up, those particular features will stop working. However, kids will still be able to call any "always allowed" phone numbers that the parents set.

Family Allowances also lets parents set limits on the time of day a phone may be used, establish blocked phone numbers, and even limit use of the phone outright. The service will be available soon for an introductory rate of $2 per month for all lines on the family plan. A free add-on service called Web Guard will limit access to adult-themed Web sites on a phone's mobile browser. AT&T offers a similar service called Smart Limits.