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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #JustACallAway #CollectiveBias Tips For Monitoring Your Teen’s Unlimited Plan, Because Taking Away My Teen’s Phone Was The Worst Decision Ever

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I won’t go into details, but my teen pushed every one of my buttons toward the end of the school year. It started with him using his phone during class. The school might have taken it away from him until year-end, but I basically begged them not to do that. I explained that my probably spoiled teen with his cool smartphone and Unlimited Plan needed his phone, because I needed to get in touch with him daily after school. You’ll probably agree that taking away a Tween or Teen’s phone is the biggest form of consequence you can give them. It’s not like it was when we were growing up. Kids have cellphones. As parents, we rely on that modern technology to make our own lives just a little bit easier. Sure, we constantly have to tell them to get off the phone, too. But it gives us such peace-of-mind to know we’re always just a call away.

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Still, there comes a time when a teen inevitably leaves us no choice but to take their phone away. Sometimes they deserve an Unlimited Plan and sometimes they don’t deserve a phone at all. Am I right? No. No, I’m NOT right. Don’t do it! Especially, don’t do it during the school year. You’ll be sorry. Trust me. I did end up taking my teen’s phone away and I’m pretty sure it hurt me much more than it hurt him. All of a sudden, I had constant emergencies. I couldn’t reach him. I couldn’t get important messages to him. During Summer School he forgot his backpack eighteen-gazillion times. While I don’t want to be his backpack “retriever,” I also don’t want him to lose credit in School for homework I know he did. The Summer School program was grossly understaffed and my son was not allowed to call me from the school unless it was an absolute emergency. Forgetting his backpack, trying to figure out where or when I’d be picking him up, and asking permission to go somewhere after School, didn’t qualify. Taking away my teen’s phone turned into a nightmare, for me! Oh, and while the “phone was grounded,” it broke. There is no way I’m letting my son start the new school year without a phone. I can’t do that to MYSELF! 

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So, I headed over to Walmart and picked up this awesome Samsung Grand Prime™, to use with the Walmart Family Mobile service. For only $29.88/month (for the first line) you get an Unlimited Talk, Text & Data service plan which includes up to 1G of 4G LTE data. . 

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The service and the phone have all the features a teen could ask for, including 4G LTE capability, a 5″ qHD Touch Screen, 8 MP camera with 5 MP Front-Facing camera, and even Ultra Power Saving Mode. This phone is a winner!

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Of course, things are going to be different this time around. I’ve come up with a plan to monitor and manage my son’s Unlimited Plan. I can keep the great plan and reduce or modify the features as needed. There’s only two weeks until school starts again, so I’m letting him have full access right now. (And maybe because a sincere apology goes a long way)

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As soon as school starts though, I’m putting all my tips and tricks to work. I’ll still always be #justacallaway

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Here are my top five tips:

Set Up A Usage Schedule

  • Limit your teen’s access to their unlimited plan during school hours, during homework time, and at night. Walmart Family Mobile’s “Family Controls,” allows you to block usage at certain times of day. You can even set up how many minutes or messages can be used. The designated Parent Line can be notified by text message when any line on your account has reached a set limit.

Be Just A Call Away

  • It’s important that our kids can reach us in an emergency. Family Controls also allow you to set up to ten ALWAYS ALLOWED & NEVER ALLOWED phone numbers, per line! No matter what settings restrictions are in place, your teen can always contact you and the numbers you designate.

Disable Texting While Driving

  • To set a limit on the number of minutes or messages that can be used by the line. (Limits on minutes will not interfere with the user’s ability to call 911 or any Always Allowed numbers.) Simply set the text limit to ZERO. Limits on minutes will not interfere with the user’s ability to call 911 or any Always Allowed numbers. When the user attempts to send a message after the message limit is reached, they receive an error message on their phone.

Monitor Data Usage

  • With Family Mobile, you also enable, disable, and set data usage limits! Don’t ground the phone. Ground the features. (This is why we have an ever-changing wifi password at home!) Sure, my teen can go scrolling through Instagram, after he does his homework, reading, and chores.

Block Adult Content

  • Familty Mobile Web Filter allows the primary account holder or other users with full permissions to restrict adult web content on your family’s phones. The following settings are available:
    • Child – All ages
    • Teen – 13 and up
    • Young adult – 17 and up
    • Unrestricted (Off) – Appropriate for ages 18 and up

You can also block 411, receive alerts when lines on your account reach or exceed a Family Controls limit, and assign another line Parenting Line permissions.

Now is the perfect time to switch over to Walmart Family Mobile. Not only are the parent controls amazing, but there are no contracts and your service wont’ immediately shut off (like some providers) if you’re a day late making your payment. Walmart Family Mobile is not a typical prepaid service, it is a postpaid service!

All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/kxt3 or your local Walmart for current pricing.

How do you monitor your teen’s smartphone usage? Share in the comments!

By:  Alicia Gonzalez

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