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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.

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen
2 min read

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.

Enlarge Image

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.