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Phones

T-Mobile FamilyMode will let parents track kids in or out of the house

It'll monitor what kids do online with their phones, tablets, laptops or gaming consoles.

t-mobile-family-mode-app-box

The service comes with an app and a physical device for monitoring online activity.

Business Wire/T-Mobile

It's hard enough for a parent to keep track of what their kids do on their phones in the house, but it gets even harder when they leave or use a different device.

On Monday, T-Mobile announced its FamilyMode service. FamilyMode works in two ways: It gives parents control over what their kids do online with cellular data in or out of the house, and it lets them controls kids' Wi-Fi-connected devices like phones, tablets, laptops, gaming consoles and smart TVs. 

The service costs $20 upfront and then $10 per month. That includes the home Wi-Fi device that monitors all sorts of internet-connected devices (it sits between your regular router and devices) and the FamilyMode app that lets you control internet usage.

PCMag reports that FamilyMode is a rebrand of Circle with Disney, a feature you can also find on some Netgear Orbi and Nighthawk routers -- but Circle only works on your home network.

Some things you can do with the FamilyMode app, according to T-Mobile:

  • Set daily internet limits on certain apps or platforms
  • Choose what apps, platforms and sites your kids can access on their phones or tablets
  • Pause and resume mobile internet access
  • Filter inappropriate content
  • Reward kids with bonus screen time
  • See which sites and apps your kids use
  • Track your kids' location

FamilyMode will be available starting June 29.

Other carriers (like Verizon) offer similar parental control services. T-Mobile created a chart to show how its service compares to the others (see below) which might be handy, though the company's naturally a little biased.

Which family control plan is right for you?

Business Wire/T-Mobile

Verizon Smart Family app: A new way for parents to track their kids and limit their phone use.

How to set parental controls on your kid's iPhone: Protect your child and your credit card.