PORTLAND, Ore. – Sean Premo can decide how much his 12-year-old daughter can talk and text.
He can also choose who calls her and when she can talk during the day.
“Little does she know how much power I have right now,” Premo said. “On the fly I can shut my daughter down if needed.”
58 percent of high school seniors said they’ve texted while driving, according to the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
The Pew Research Center said 64 percent of teens with cell phones have texted while in class.
Premo, who manages a Verizon Wireless store, only set a limit on the number of minutes his daughter can use per month. He’s giving her 25.
Verizon and other companies let you set limits for texts and Internet use as well.
Premo can set a clock to block incoming calls or texts during school, dinner or after bed time.
“That phone, when they sit down in bed, is just not going to work,” he said.
Settings allow the phones to lock while a car is moving so teens don’t text and drive. The phone senses when it’s moving at more than 10 mph and shuts down, even in the middle of a call.
Service will restore after the car stops for several minutes, not just at a traffic light.
There are exceptions. The phone can always call 911. Teens can also override the system if they are a passenger or riding a bus. Then parents get a message that says the lock has been overridden.
Premo said he’s going for minimal controls, for now, with input from his daughter.
“It’s all about how you approach it,” he said.
Setting up controls through your phone:
Parental controls offered by phone companies:
Free workshops from Verizon to learn more about how your phone works: