Parental Controls/Family Allowances Worthless


    T-Mobile, WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO DISABLE DATA USAGE.  Without the ability to do so, Family Allowances/Parental Control is worthless.


    Kids are able to make WiFi calls and use apps over their data connection rendering allowance restrictions useless. I would settle for a simple (Turn Data Off) feature without scheduling even.


    Also, please do not respond with a suggestion to use 3rd party apps like Norton, Family Link, etc. These are also easily overcome by a safe-mode boot (KIDS ARE SMART).  


    Disabling is the only and final point that would prevent kids from bypassing restrictions (well maybe, as I said, they are smart).



      All replies

      • smplyunprdctble

        With the number of posts about this, I would agree.


        Especially with the fact routers have started being smart and allowing this as well (I think Comcast has a commercial where they shut off everyone's WiFi devices to get everyone to dinner -- and my Google WiFi Mesh Router System allows this as well -- not that I need it because my children are cats and they are quick to get off their devices when they hear the can open).


        Family Allowances has been deficient for many years now.  From the scheduling (complaints of Friday Night being considered a weeknight and Sunday night being considered a weekend -- when high school sports happens Friday and kids need to be in bed Sunday for school) to the inability to control data.

        1 of 1 people found this helpful
        • tmo_amanda

          Hey, xpacheco!


          As smplyunprdctble mentioned, this request has been discussed a few times on the Support Community and feedback for the request has been passed along. With technology expanding and data becoming one of the primary resources we use on our phone, it only makes sense to be able to limit or control it.


          Thank you for your post!

          • xpacheco

            Re: Parental Controls/Family Allowances Worthless

            tmo_amanda , thank you for your reply - I'm glad to see folks are listening here.  When you say, "has been passed along", is there any sort of ticket number or such that can be used to track progress on this request? 

              • tmo_amanda

                Hey, xpacheco!


                Great question! We are definitely listening. Your feature request was passed along to our team that helps manage Family Allowances. That being said, there is no tracking number or any other type of number available to link to the request. We aren't making any sort of promise that the ability to turn data on/off will be added but our teams are aware that multiple users on our Support Community have commented on the issue. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

                  • clowfamily5

                    Verizon has amazing family controls....jus sayin.  I was able to turn any of my kids phones off from my phone at any given time.  I could set the times I wanted them on the phone or not.  IE: shut data off during certain hours and I could customize it by day.  I could also make so that the only numbers they were allowed to call were their dad myself and the nanny ( in extreme instances when one kid was grounded from the phone but I still needed to communicate)  The challenge was wifi and that had to be resolved by a router that I could name ea device on the router and block their device or set parameters on the router for when they had access. 

                • xpacheco

                  Re: Parental Controls/Family Allowances Worthless



                  "This question has been reviewed by a staff member and is assumed resolved"


                  Amanda, this issue is NOT resolved by any means. We are talking about a glaring deficiency in a product feature that literally renders it worthless - hence the title of this post.


                  --- xavier

                  • tmo_marissa

                    Hey, all! We're going through older posts with this feedback and making sure that everyone gets a chance to take a peek at our new family program, FamilyMode, launching 6/29. You can read our blog about it here and learn more in the Resources list at the bottom: Meet the digital ally parents need -- thank you for sharing your opinions with us!

                      • nursegloworm

                        Since Tmobile FamilyAllowances does nothing to restrict my child's texts or calls through Wifi and apps I just added the new  Family Mode and discovered within an hour of setting it up that it is pure GARBAGE as well.  When my kid couldn't answer a facetime call at midnight she just turned off the VPN that enables Family Home on her iphone.  My phone was notified, that's all. She is sitting there contentedly using her phone right now at 1252 am. Thanks Tmobile! Now I am paying an extra $20 for both features and getting what?  I have Xfinity Xfi which allows me to block their devices at night, but then my kids just connect to the neighbors open Xfinity hotspot.

                        • kksc

                          Re: Parental Controls/Family Allowances Worthless

                          I agree with the other posters on this thread that Family Allowances is useless. Unfortunately I relied on the T-Mobile rep who told me that T-Mobile had parental controls when I switched from AT&T and SmartLimits, and I've spent the past month scrambling to find another way to control my kids' data usage on their phones. The marketing hype about FamilyLimits looks promising, but I'd like verification that it can provide the basic functionality of turning cellular data usage on or off on demand or according to a schedule that I set. That's about all I want to do, and I'd be willing to pay the $10 a month, but it has to work flawlessly. I also wonder why there has to be an app installed on my child's phone (SmartLimits doesn't require this) and how do you prevent the child from simply deleting it? Thanks in advance.

                            • kksc

                              Re: Parental Controls/Family Allowances Worthless

                              So I'm playing around with it now, and these obvious problems jump right out.

                              In order to prevent your child from deleting the app you have to set up restrictions (on iPhone) so they are prevented from deleting any app? But that's not practical. My child should be able to manage their game apps, etc.

                              How can I prevent my child from turning off the VPN (as another poster noted)? I can't find any way to prevent that. Without it, there is no way this is going to work.

                              Doesn't seem to work on texting or phone calls. So they can't surf the web at night but they can stay up all night texting friends?


                              Interesting to also see that the device that controls wifi access is manufactured by Circle labs. We have the original Circle device and it too has glaring deficiencies, namely that all devices assigned to one profile have to have the same restrictions. So you can't turn off the xbox while your child works on his homework on his computer. They both have to be on or off at the same time.


                              This is so frustrating. I can only imagine that T-mobile spent a lot of time on this app. Did you talk to any parents and get their feedback on how it should work for real families with real children?

                          • magenta4403848

                            This is certainly not resolved.  Basic parental controls should NOT cost extra.  Verizon and ATT both have this ability without the need to install an app.  TMobile is really dropping the ball by not addressing this.  As people learn of this limitation they are reluctant to switch providers.

                            • simonb1

                              Re: Parental Controls/Family Allowances Worthless

                              AT&T  has this feature to shut off data whenever you want. With ATT plans, data is limited so the kids end up getting throttled instead. with tmobile it becomes more important with unlimited data. T-Mobile needs this feature!!!

                              • magenta5582288

                                Family Mode is worthless.


                                It relies on a VPN to work.  The app installs a VPN, all traffic is routed through that VPN, and voila! - you can can use your parent app to control access, set filters, bedtimes, time limits, etc.  And you can set restrictions on your phone to prevent Family Mode from being disabled.


                                Sounds great, right?  Wrong.


                                Kids are smart.  Very smart in fact when it comes to VPNs, given most kids already use VPNs regularly to skirt restrictions on locked-down school networks.  It took my daughter about a minute to figure out she can go to her iPhone's VPN settings, simply toggle a switch, and effectively turn Family Mode off.  I did get a pop-up message on my parent app stating that Family Mode had been disabled, but so what. 


                                For T-Mobile support:  This is a decent app and it has great potential.  I'm more that willing to pay the $10 a month for the service.  But unless and until you provide us parents a way to prevent the VPN from being switched off, it's completely worthless.

                                • magenta5584030

                                  It is worthless. Kid can just turn off VPN to skirt around the issue. I too was told parental controls were available and they are obviously not. Doesn't seem too technologically advanced to just have an app that can turn data on and off anytime similar to the original circle device, ATT, or Verizon. Very frustrating. Cant even limit the amount of data used by the members of the family mode. T-mobile needs to do something about this

                                    • smplyunprdctble

                                      It's "worthless" depending on parenting style.


                                      Yes, kids can skirt around it (we all know kids will do what they can to subvert).  But, you get a notice saying "hey, your kids are subverting", which is when you have to implement other parenting techniques, like changing their phone out with a dumbphone [dumbphones have alarms in them]).


                                      When I was growing up, if I spent half the night on my NES, my parents didn't take away the power strip where everything connected in to, they took my NES out of my bedroom.


                                      If your kids understand they get their Snapchat taken away and they get a Nokia 3595 to take to school if they subvert the system, maybe they won't do it.


                                      I'm not calling it a perfect world.  I'm not calling T-Mobile's "solution" right.  But, there's never a perfect solution anywhere (disable mobile data and home WiFi, they just connect to the neighbor's WiFi) -- parents need to give proper consequences.


                                      But,t hat's just my opinion.  I'm not a parent, but I used to be a child once.

                                        • xpacheco

                                          @smplyunprdctble, great point. However, parent will not always get a

                                          notification.  Changing the VPN is point one of many ways to get around the

                                          app.  Child can always boot in safe mode or as a different user for devices

                                          that support that.


                                          On Thu, Jul 19, 2018, 10:16 AM smplyunprdctble <>

                                            • kksc

                                              Re: Parental Controls/Family Allowances Worthless

                                              I think the bigger point goes beyond parenting styles, which is really not for T-Mobile or you or anyone else to decide. T-Mobile is marketing this as a parental control app that allows a parent to control what happens on their child's phone. This is false advertising. With an easy way and unpreventable way to get around the app, the app fails to live up to any of its advertised uses. They claim that it is better than all the competitors because it has numerous features, but it lacks the most basic functionality that AT&T SmartLimits has, which is functionality that can't be overridden at the device level.

                                        • rajeshbarman

                                          A phone company that does not want to put family controls on its own data? And yet, is selling Family Mode as a solution for it?


                                          I bought it today and am returning it tomorrow.



                                          Maybe I have to change carriers too.

                                          • magenta6094761

                                            I, too, came to T-Mobile because of the promised family controls. Family Mode is awful, and I have already uninstalled it. It's like circle, but worse...s should work as advertised, and as described on the site. Don't create pay-for-use add-ons. Fix what is not working, and allow us to shut off data. The premise of Family allowances is nearly perfect (it would be nice to have specific web-site blocking abilities, like Family Mode), but is rendered useless when the allowances don't actually affect anything.

                                            • magenta6096575

                                              It can be done.. version parent control shuts off everything

                                              • agustinromojr

                                                Dont know if something changed in the last few days since TMO is doing so many changes (most of them EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING)...but when i have tested disabling the VPN on my sons phone - it will disable BUT it will re-enable itself after a few minutes.  NOT the ideal situation, but better than before i guess.  This is still the lamest product they can be promoting with such a gaping flaw.  Such a disappointment.