Family Allowances seems to be some kind of joke


    I'm looking into Family Allowances because I want to restrict my 10yo daughter from using her phone until early hours of the morning. She seems to be addicted. We take it away from her in the evenings, but she quite often finds it (she's very intelligent and sneaky). We tell her she isn't allowed to use it at night, but she seems driven to use it. So I decided to look into just shutting down her ability to use it.

    I've heard from other parents that they can restrict all accesses based on time schedules (with their providers). T-Mobile doesn't seem to have that possibility. After reading through Family Allowances it seems it can only restrict calls and messaging? That is useless for this situation.

    I read this in T-Mobile's family allowances description:


    • You can allow or block when your children (managed lines) can use their devices during predefined time periods, such as during school (9 a.m.-2 p.m.), during homework or dinner time (4-9 p.m.), or when they should be sleeping (9-11 p.m. and 11 p.m.-6 a.m.).


    This indeed makes it sound like the "device" can be restricted, but this appears to be an outright lie based on everything else in the description. Everything else only talks about calls and messaging. Blocking the use of their "device" would mean everything can be blocked, not just calls and messaging.


    Does T-Mobile have the ability to "allow or block when your children (managed lines) can use their devices" as described, or are they far behind other carriers in this area?

      All replies

      • tmo_mike_c

        Just so I'm on the same page with you rglaus, are you looking for something that'll block the devices built-in functions to be blocked? Our Family Allowances is designed to restrict the phone from using services on the network. Unfortunately, we don't have a feature that we offer if you're trying to block them from accessing the phone's internal features.

        • smplyunprdctble

          Having been a kid myself once, I'm going to start out by saying kids will find ways around just about anything.  Nothing is going to be foolproof.


          T-Mobile can help manage access to the T-Mobile network (as does any parental controls across carriers).  T-Mobile's isn't flexible, and doesn't fit in everyone's needs (this is me still saying it needs to be revamped), but it "works".


          But, no carrier will basically completely disable all features of a device with their parental controls.  It's not feasible.  A carrier network cannot control what happens on WiFi, nor vice-versa.  Your two options in this case are:


            - Get a home WiFi Router that has proper parental controls (I heard about one on the radio some time last year -- something tells me Disney may have been somehow affiliated with it? I don't recall the details, but there are several routers nowadays that will let you have restricted times per device).  Use this in addition to T-Mobile's Parental Controls (T-Mobile controls their network, you control yours) -- This doesn't stop them from getting on the neighbor's WiFi.

            - Actually be a parent and let there be consequences of the child not putting their device down when instructed to (this is hard to do, I know, but, back in my day, if I was up late playing my Nintendo, it was removed from me for a while.  There are things called "Feature Phones" or "Dumb Phones" that you can swap their device out for and give them an actual alarm clock if they're not properly obeying).


          There's probably apps out there that will help you restrict.  But, apps are easily uninstallable (although, probably not easily reinstalled with the same parameters you set).  Nothing beats being a properly involved parent who follows through with consequences.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • wtssuperpower

            We tell her she isn't allowed to use it at night, but she seems driven to use it. So I decided to look into just shutting down her ability to use it.


            I SO get this, rglaus

            We've had a similar issue ongoing with one of the 10 year olds in our home (two ten year olds in one home is one of the hazards of blending families )    and the solution we came up with may seem rather barbaric to some:  We disabled data on his line.    (this was easily accomplished from the mytmobile website by selecting 'Plan', selecting his line, and then 'Change Data' .  We opted to disable all data for that line, for the time being)


            First, of course, he was given an opportunity to solve things himself. We talked with him about the problem we had noticed (staying up late on device) , asked if he would like to hear some suggestions about how to solve it (he politely declined), and said (and I quote)  "Good luck.  Let us know if you change your mind".  

            He did not change his mind about hearing some possible solutions, and did not have good luck with whatever solution he tried, because the behavior continued,  and his parents took care of the problem for him.  Im sure he would have preferred the problem to be taken care of in a different way, but it did get taken care of.  

            Our hope is that the next time he is given the opportunity, he may have decided that he would rather us not have to take care of it, and will make a better decision about how to keep his use of electronics from becoming a problem.




            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • magenta3509891

              I agree with you they are a joke! If they can find a way to shut a phone down for non-payment, and immediately bareconnect upon payment, they sure as hell could manage this very basic control. They want our kids addicted, the jerks.

              • sideflare

                Re: Family Allowances seems to be some kind of joke

                Yeah TMobile! We want to be able to block DATA. and we want to be able to do it REMOTELY by logging in to the website! ALSO We want to be able to see the domains they are visiting AND be able to link blacklist and whitelists to the accounts!

                • fvbe

                  Re: Family Allowances seems to be some kind of joke

                  I agree that T-Mobile Family Allowances is a joke... I have tried it twice on my son's phone and both times it did not work for what i wanted to do: stop his ability to download data to his phone at specified times or all together stop. Even if one set the data allowance to "0 MB" or "1 MB", the system will tell you that this line is over the limit, but it does not stop the download.


                  I've also tested the time restrictions on messaging and calls. The interface only allows preset time periods such as 9 am to 2 pm or 4-9 pm or 9-11 pm or 11 pm to 6 am... IN THEORY. In practice, i've found that after i set the limits, my son reported that his phone was not working then it was supposed to work, and sometimes working when it was not supposed to work... Let alone the issue that we'd like to be able to select the times ourselves, rather than having preset times...


                  Then i also tested the "Always allowed numbers" : phone numbers that would not be blocked such as being able to call your family... It did not work, according to my son. He could not call me, even after the numbers had been set up as "Always allowed".


                  So twice i had to ask T-Mobile to remove Family Allowances from my account, and get me a refund, which they gladly did with an apology...


                  What works to restrict kids time on phone is to install an app called " Our Pact"on your phone and your child's phone. See Friends use it, and it does the job nicely...  provided your kid lets you install this app on his/her phone. Once it's on, i heard it cannot be removed without parental permission.


                  Good luck!

                  • chrootz

                    Re: Family Allowances seems to be some kind of joke

                    I have a problem access to a Family Allowance, Kept said "

                    We are currently having trouble with your request. Please wait a few minutes and try again."


                    Here the picture screenshot. It have been since 2 months and WTF I want this get damn fix ASAP so i can put limit schedule for my daughters

                    during the school week such like 10pm or 11pm cut off all voice, text and data via LTE and I have parent control on my Internet router. Any solution and I need get this fix ASAP. CMON T-Mobile why am I paying you freaking family allowance $5 dollars. STOP focking stealing my $$$ if it doesn't work. FIX IT





                    • mazha.season

                      yes. I'm in the same situation. Called T mobile N+1 times and they can never resolve this issue.