Do you constantly have to pay the coverage fee?
A family plan is a fantastic way of saving money on your phone bill, but when it comes to sharing data, it can also be extremely stressful. It is not unusual that a few individuals, mostly children, use a disproportionate amount of data per month on a family plan. This may result in costly overage fees or reduced internet speeds. Here's how to decrease the use of data on a family plan, avoid monthly overage fees, and have more control over the screen time of your kids.
The screen time function in the settings app is a great way to monitor the use of data by your kids. You can set periods of the day when your child can not access designated apps (Downtime) through the Screen Time function on your child's phone, set a limit on how long your child can be on certain apps every day (App Limits), limit communication to specific contacts every day (Communication Limits) or even block inappropriate content (Content and Privacy Restrictions). If you want to limit your data use or screen time in general, this function is also a great tool for you.
How to do it:
Go to Settings
Choose Screen time
Choose downtime, turn the feature on, and specify what time of the day you want
Go back to Screen Time
Choose Always Allowed to set the apps you want your child to have access to at any time.
Go back to screen time again
Select use screen time passcode to set the screen time settings
This app is free and has no free trial. In order to track and manage information use, Android phone owners should download the Datally app. You have access to information on what applications use much of your monthly data via the app and keep track of how much information you have left for the month. You can set daily limits for each app on your phone to slow data usage if you are using more data than you would like. This is also a great app to download for your children so that they are aware of how much data they use from their favorite games.
My Data Manager (iPhone)
A free app without a trial period for iPhone users. A data monitoring software designed for IOS users is My Data Manager. My Data Manager, like Datally, allows you to monitor your total data consumption and the data usage of each of your apps during the month. You can impose regular data limits for certain apps until you know which apps are eating up your data. My Data Manager also provides a shared data control feature unlike Datally, so you can keep track of how much information per month is used by everyone on your family plan.
AT&T Secure Family
This app from At&T will cost you $7.99/ month with free 30 days trial. For those with a family cellphone plan, including non-AT&T customers, AT&T provides the Safe Family app. Via the app, for everyone in the family, you can set data blocks, pause and resume Internet access, and limit periods for data use. While the app costs $7.99/mo., if you are already paying overage fees for most months, it will probably still save you money. With AT&T, for example, you pay a minimum of $15/mo. When your monthly data cap is surpassed by you and your family.
T-Mobile Family Mode App
This app from T-mobile will cost you $10.00/mo. and no free trial and can only be used specifically by T-Mobile users. The app allows you to monitor the screen time of all users, set screen time limits for each device, and control when family members can go online or even use a particular app.
Since data overage fees have been eliminated by T-Mobile, this app is possibly more targeted toward parents who want to be able to monitor when and how much their kids are on the internet and less towards parents who simply want to control the use of monthly data so that they do not go beyond their cap. For parents who want complete control over the screen time of their children, for a total of $20/mo, they may want to get both Family Mode and Home Base.
Verizon Smart Family
This app's price ranges from $4.99 to $9.99/month for premium with free 30 days trial. Verizon Smart Family is an app that allows Verizon Wireless customers to monitor and control the use of data by their family, as well as display the online behavior of their children, track their calls and messages and block content. The standard version of the app costs $4.99/mo, but $5/mo for an extra month. For all devices on their plan, Verizon customers may also gain access to location monitoring. The paid edition of the app is best for parents who want to keep track of their children in an all-encompassing way.
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