Service Lets Parents Watch Kids' Cells

New AT&T interface includes limits on mobile minutes, texting, downloads
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2007 2:39 PM CDT
"We were certainly hearing from parents who were dismayed at overuse of text or phones," said Carlton Hill, vice president of voice products for AT&T's wireless unit and the mother of two teenagers....   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – As cell phones become ever more an extension of kids' ears and thumbs, AT&T is helping bill-paying parents avoid the sweaty-palmed opening of the monthly bill. For $4.99 a month, Smart Limits lets parents have some say in who and when their children call, and how many texts and downloads they're allowed, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Almost a quarter of children aged 10 and 11 have cell phones, and AT&T even sees a market for the easy-to-use online interface in keeping tabs on tweens—a February survey found that 25% of parents would be willing to pay for one. The figure increases to 37% for parents of children younger than 13.