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Sprint Announces Parental Mobile Controls, Kinda Sounds Like Kiddie Carrier IQ

Posted In News - By Mark Hearn On Monday, December 5th, 2011 7:08am PST With 7 Comments

Are you a parent that has an obsessive teenager that can’t seem to put their phone down, even at the most inappropriate times? You’re mostly likely not alone in this situation, but it appears that Sprint and the folks from Safely seem to have a solution. Sprint’s new Mobile Controls gives parents the opportunity to use rich graphical representations of how their family calls, texts and use applications, as well as the ability to lock phones remotely at specific times.

Call us cynical, but in a way this sounds like the very thing (Carrier IQ) that many of their targeted audience appears to be protesting. If you’re a parent opposed to Carrier IQ, but happen to be for using this type of software, we’d love to hear the rationale behind your decision. But no matter how you look at it, this is kinda calling the kettle black. Full press release coming up after the break.


Sprint and Safely Help Families Manage Wireless Phone Usage with Innovative Mobile Controls

New Sprint Mobile Controls will allow parents to set phone use limits by time of day or week, see daily calls, text messaging and application activity

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., & EMERYVILLE, Calif. (BUSINESS WIRE), December 05, 2011 – The wireless phone is the number one tool teens use to communicate. More than 75 percent of children ages 12-17 now own a wireless phone.1 With many schools banning wireless phone use during class time and family dinners being interrupted with texts, parents are looking for solutions to help teens use their phone responsibly.

Sprint (NYSE: S) announced today new Sprint Mobile Controls powered by Safely, a division of Location Labs, that will allow parents to see rich graphical representations of how their family calls, texts and use applications and to lock phones remotely at specific times.

Sprint Mobile Controls, along with Sprint Family Locator, Sprint Drive First and Safely Social Monitor powered by Safely, are part of a suite of family services offered by Sprint to help parents better stay connected to their children and help protect their physical and virtual safety.

Parents can sign up and learn more about Sprint Mobile Controls by visiting www.sprint.com/mobilecontrols. Key services that are available include:

  • Easy-to-read dashboard of phone usage, including voice and text messages broken down by time of day.
  • Seeing who your son or daughter has been calling or texting recently – and how often.
  • Quickly and easily setting phone use limits by time of day and day of week.
  • Establishing an allowed list of phone numbers from which your child can receive a call or text.
  • Seeing a list of your child’s contacts with an associated picture ranked by overall texting and calling activity.
  • Viewing what apps your child is downloading to their phone.
  • Choosing up to three anytime apps that your child can use when their device is locked.
  • Ability to set optional alerts.
  • Allowing your child to override phone restrictions in case of an emergency.
  • Setting alert notifications for new contacts, or School Hours and Late Night time periods.
  • Setting Watchlist contacts: Receive alert notifications when your child communicates with a Watchlist contact.

“Sprint is pleased to give parents’ tools and information to help better manage their teen’s and families’ wireless usage,” said Fared Adib, vice president-Product Development, Sprint. “With Sprint Mobile Controls, Sprint Drive First and Sprint Family Locator, Sprint offers parents a comprehensive and innovative suite of applications to ensure their teen is using their wireless phone responsibly.”

Sprint Mobile Controls is available on all Sprint CDMA Android smartphones for $4.99 per month per line and includes a 30-day free trial. At the end of the trial, customers will be charged the $4.99 monthly rate unless they cancel service at www.sprint.com/mobilecontrols. The service will be offered to BlackBerry® devices and other operating systems in the coming months.

“We are excited to be launching another service with Sprint,” said Tasso Roumeliotis, CEO of Location Labs, creator of Safely. “Sprint Mobile Controls leverages our mobile platform, strengthens our longstanding relationship with Sprint, and gives parents greater confidence about letting their kids engage with mobile phones.”

Sprint Family Locator

Sprint Family Locator is a location-based service that uses Sprint’s state-of-the-art GPS technology to enable a parent to use a phone or PC to locate a child’s phone on a map. The service also gives the address, surrounding landmarks and accuracy of the phone’s location within a specified radius. Parents can also set up safety checks that alert them if their child is not at a designated location at a specific time. Sprint Family Locator costs $5 per month to locate up to four phones. For more information and to register, visit www.sprint.com/familylocator.

Sprint Drive First

Sprint Drive First is an application that automatically locks a mobile phone when a car is moving more than 10 mph, disabling phone functionality, directing incoming calls to voice mail, and silencing distracting alerts for emails and text messages. Anyone texting the driver will receive an automated message indicating the person they texted is driving. A locked device displays a home screen with exit and emergency 911 buttons to override the app. Sprint Drive First can be overridden if the user is a passenger in a car, on a bus or train, but the parent or account holder can choose to receive notifications when the service is overridden. Sprint Drive First costs $2 per month. For more information and to register, visit www.sprint.com/drivefirst.

Safely Social Monitor

Safely Social Monitor is a free service offered exclusively to Sprint customers. With Safely, parents can monitor their child’s Facebook activities, including viewing their friend list, see who they speak to most frequently and the ages and gender of their friends. They also can view newly posted photos of their child and receive alerts when certain phrases are used or when they are tagged in photos. This will help parents quickly intervene when necessary to keep their child safe. Safely Social Monitor is part of the Safely family of services. For more information and to register, visit www.safely.com.

Supporting Resources:

About Safely

Established in 2011, Safely is a division of Location Labs and provides services that enhance the personal security of millions of families. Nearly a dozen Tier 1 wireless carrier services are powered by Safely, helping parents to keep tabs on loved ones through mobile alerts and online activity reports.

Safely includes: Safely Locate, a mobile location service available via AT&T FamilyMap, Sprint Family Locator and T-Mobile FamilyWhere; Safely Drive, the only carrier-grade, patent-pending safe-driving service on the market, available via Sprint DriveFirst and T-Mobile DriveSmart Plus; Safely Phone Controls, the most advanced mobile phone remote control and usage analytics service, available via Sprint Mobile Controls; and Safely Social Monitor, an online service that helps parents stay informed about kids’ social network activities.

Location Labs has raised $26 million in venture financing from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, BlueRun Ventures (formerly Nokia Venture Partners), QUALCOMM Ventures, Intel Capital, and Mitsui Ventures and was named to Inc.’s 500/5000 list of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies in both 2010 and 2011. For more information: http://www.Safely.com and http://www.LocationLabs.com.

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 53 million customers at the end of 3Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index showed Sprint is the #1 most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all industries, over the last three years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint andwww.twitter.com/sprint.


About - Mark is the founding father of SprintFeed. He is a nerd's nerd if ever such a thing existed. His love affair with the Now Network started with the release of the Treo 600 back in 2004 and has been going strong ever since. Highly opinionated and somewhat eccentric he shares his ramblings about his network of choice here at SprintFeed.

  • Aaron

    Wow, I didn’t realize Carrier IQ was paying my bill for me. This is exactly the same. Ok, sarcasm aside, I’m not a big fan of the spyware aspect, but a decent tool to help [force] teens to disconnect when appropriate (school hours, overnight, etc) can be useful.

  • http://twitter.com/GothPanda Trevor Sacks

    It’s not spyware if YOU install it, or decide to use it. It’s only really spyware if some other entity decides to install it to watch what you do. A parent watching what a child does? Legally, that child isn’t responsible for themselves, and it’s the parent’s right to do this. However, adults have a reasonable right to privacy, so the Carriers don’t get to play mommy and daddy.

  • KCW

    Hi! I work for Sprint. I wanted to clarify a few things about Sprint Mobile Controls. When a parent sets up the Sprint Mobile Controls, the phone that is being monitored will get a message asking them to opt in to the service. Parents can use this as an opportunity to talk with their teen about being responsible when using their device. Also, when the parent views the information about calling and texting, they are just seeing contact names or numbers. Parents cannot see the actual content of the text. However, parents can use the information to ask their teen questions if there is a questionable number posted. This service is another way to help teens use their device responsible and safe manner.

    Also,the ability to lock the phone (except for emergency use and certain numbers) is a good way to ensure the teen is not using the phone at school, late at night or at dinner.

    Hope this additional information is helpful.

  • Rwalford79

    Here is a concept… Don’t give your kids cellphones. You want it for emergencies only? Give them prepaid and have all numbers blocked except your own. Period. Problem solved.

  • Anonymous

    nexus s 4g No spyware

  • Dawn Edwards

    I am all for PARENTAL controls. I wish I would have had access to KAJEET when my children first got cell phones.
    My objection is the same objection I have on Sprint Family Locator. I pay the bill, it is my account, I bought the phones – why do the phones have to be notified of the use and to opt in? I get the “Parents can use this as an opportunity to talk with their teen about being responsible when using their device” concept. I just don’t think the child should have the ability to “opt-out” or the ability to turn GPS off. (I know, I know… they can always turn the phone off, or go somewhere without the phone – but the odds of that are less than the other.)
    As for blocking numbers on pre-paid phones? Not as easy as Rwalford79 made it sound. Most of the time it has to be done using the phone and can be unblocked as easy as 1,2,3.
    My daughter started with pre-paid, learned to manage her time and texting; graduated to a Sprint phone and still had to manage her time and texting. But I would have LOVED to be able to block usage during school and overnight except for designated numbers.
    I am currently looking at KAJEET for some nieces and nephews, but adding them to a Sprint account would be much easier and nicer (Sprint roams on Verizon – KAJEET does not) and Sprint is cheaper.

  • Monica

    I think this is a good idea; as a new parent I am a fan of open communication but am also a bit authoritarian. I like to stick by my rules but explain the reasoning behind them and this will offer the perfect opportunity to do so. This is definitely helping me choose my new service provider since I am currently out of a contract and looking for my first smart phone. I was already leaning toward Sprint because I get a discount for working for DISH and now am nearly convinced. I am looking forward to the ability to get apps though I know they are a security risk so will try to keep it limited. The two apps I know about and want are the DISH TV Everywhere app and the Amazon Barcode app. The DISH app will let me watch TV anywhere including live TV and recordings and the Amazon Barcode app will probably save me quite a bit on groceries and other regular shopping items.