By B.N. Frank
For many years already, Silicon Valley parents (aka tech inventors) have been limiting their own kids use of screens and sending them to expensive “low tech” schools. This seems hypocritical since all the while tech companies have been marketing screens to kids of all ages, parents, and schools (See also 1, 2).
Activist Post and many others have reported recently about Silicon Valley (aka tech inventors) taking even more extreme measures to prevent their kids from using as well as being exposed to screens. This includes making their nannies sign “no screens” contracts and spying on them.
Regardless, non-Silicon Valley parents are still buying smartphones for their kids. In fact, according to some research, “high tech” parents provide their kids with phones at 7 1/2 years of age (on average). This being the case, it only seems appropriate that Verizon has designed and is now marketing a “Just Kids” smartphone plan. It’s also worth noting that in 2014, Verizon also announced the likelihood that they would eventually be sued and have to pay settlements for harm caused by their products and infrastructure.
Verizon will begin offering a smartphone plan designed to help parents keep tabs on their children’s screen time later this week.
Verizon says it’s the first major wireless carrier to launch a smartphone plan specifically designed for children, as youngsters are receiving their first smartphones at earlier ages. According to the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), children with a smartphone typically received it at seven-and-a-half years old. Verizon is a founding member of FOSI.
The new Just Kids plan includes Verizon’s $10-per-month “Smart Family” platform, which Verizon launched last year as part of its mobile parenting suite. It enables parents to keep track of where their kids are with location tracking, can limit how much time is spent online and can be used to set content filters using an app connected to the child’s phone. The Just Kids plan includes 5GB of 4G LTE data and unlimited talk and text to 20 contacts that parents can choose. It also includes a safety mode to ensure children do not go over their data limits.
“We’re leading the way on growing up with tech, providing parents with plan options and features that give them the peace of mind they need for safe and responsible phone usage,” said Angie Klein, VP of marketing at Verizon, in a statement.
Big thanks to Verizon for helping parents protect the well-being of children. (Finger sticking down throat.)
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