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How to Set Up Verizon Parental Controls

**This tech guide was updated on August 9, 2023.**

Verizon is one of the largest cell phone service providers in the U.S. Beyond smartphones, they also sell tablets, wearables, and other accessories. If Verizon is your provider, you’ll be glad to know they offer Verizon parental controls to help you keep your children safe online.

Verizon Smart Family is a service that gives you parental controls to help manage your kid's online activity. The basic plan is $4.99/month and the premium plan with location tracking is $9.99/month. Parents using the app can:

  • Use content filtering
  • Limit and monitor calls, texts and purchases
  • Monitor web and app activity
  • Supervise screen time on Android devices
  • Pause the internet
  • Use location tracking, pick-me-up, and check-in features (Verizon Smart Family Premium)

A note for families looking to use Verizon Smart Family with Bark: If you want to use Bark’s Parental Controls, you may not be able to use some of Verizon’s parental controls at the same time. Both parental controls use a VPN to protect your child’s device, and mobile devices only allow one VPN at a time. In addition, if you are looking to monitor the texts, photos, web browsing, etc. of your child’s iOS device, you may run into issues with content monitoring when using Verizon Smart Family. Please reach out to us if you believe that to be the case so we can help you decide what will work best for you and your family.

Verizon’s Just Kids Plan

The Just Kids Plan allows parents to manage screen time, filter content, track location, and more. Additional features include:

  • 5GB monthly data
  • Unlimited talk/text to 20 parent-approved contacts
  • Safety mode to avoid data overages
  • Smart Family premium with parental controls at no extra cost

Setting Up Verizon Parental Controls

Only the Account Owner or Account Manager can access the Usage Controls/Smart Family. Check out the full page of instructions from Verizon here.

  1. Download the app in Google Play or the Apple App Store. You can also sign up in My Verizon, but you must have the Verizon Smart Family app to benefit from all the features available with the service.
  2. Open up the Verizon Smart Family app.
  3. Tap Get started.
  4. Enter your phone number and My Verizon password, and tap Sign in.
  5. Choose the Verizon Smart Family plan you want, and then tap Next. Keep in mind that only Verizon Smart Family Premium includes location services.
  6. Tap Agree to continue.
  7. Choose the lines you'd like to add to Verizon Smart Family. Note: There's no extra cost to add lines. Your monthly fee covers your entire account.
  8. Name the lines you're adding (optional), and tap Sign up.
  9. Tap OK.
  10. Next, download the Smart Family Companion app on your children's iPhone and Android smartphones or Android tablets that have a line on your Verizon mobile account.

Pairing Your Child’s Devices

  1. On your kids’s device, download the Smart Family Companion app (Google Play Store / Apple App Store).
  2. On your phone, open up the Verizon Smart Family app, and tap the Settings icon in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Family settings.
  4. Tap your child's device

    Note: If you don’t see the device you want, you need to add the device to Verizon Smart Family first:
    1. Tap Add family member.
    2. Select the checkbox next to each device you want to add to Verizon Smart Family.
    3. Enter the family members' name and icon for each line you're adding and tap Next.
    4. Tap Save.
  5. Tap Smart Family Companion.
  6. Tap Send invite.
    • If your child's device is an iPhone or Android smartphone, a link will be sent to their device.
    • If your child's device is a Verizon Android tablet, you must select a messaging service (e.g., email, WhatsApp, etc.) that can be received and opened on your child's tablet.
  7. With your child's device, open the message and tap the link.
  8. If there are any Verizon Smart Family features you don't want to use, uncheck the box next to the feature, and tap Next.

    Note: All features are selected (checked) by default.
  9. Follow the verification prompts to allow all permission requests. Depending on the features you selected to use, we’ll ask for:
    • Permission to manage phone calls (Android only)
    • Location permission
    • Permission to collect web and app activity
    • Administrator permission (Android only)
  10. Set up the VPN connection:
    • Android – Set it to Always on.
    • iPhone – Set up and Allow the VPN profile.

You'll get a message on your device to confirm the connection was successful.

Enabling Content Filters

  1. Open the Verizon Smart Family app on your phone.
  2. Select your child at the top of the screen.
  3. Scroll down to the Manage controls section, and tap Content filters.

    Note: If you haven't paired with the child's phone yet, you'll be encouraged to initiate pairing. Follow the instructions provided to complete the process.
  4. Select a content category you want to block.

    Note: For additional details about what the category blocks, tap More info.
  5. Tap the switch for each filter you want to turn on or off. (The switch is black when it's on and white when it's off.)

    Note: To block all filters in a category, tap the All switch at the top of the screen.
  6. When you're done, tap Save.
  7. Select the child at the top of the screen.
  8. Scroll down to the Manage controls section, and tap Content filters.
  9. Scroll down and tap Websites.
  10. Tap Trusted websites or Blocked websites, and enter the web address / URL you want to allow or block.
    • Trusted websites – Enter websites on this list that you want your child to be able to view, even though the default content filter blocks it.
    • Blocked websites – Enter websites on this list that you don't want your child to be able to visit and aren't currently blocked by the default content filter.

Setting Time Limits

Time restrictions are specific times when you don't want your child to be able to call, text or use data or Wi-Fi (e.g., during school, after bedtime, etc.). Remember, to block Wi-Fi, you must be paired with your child's Smart Family Companion app. Time restrictions only limit data usage for lines on the Just Kids plan. Calling and texting are already limited to trusted contacts only. Time restrictions only limit data usage for Verizon Android tablets on the Smart Family account. These devices are unable to make or receive calls and text messages.

To set time restrictions in the Verizon Smart Family app:

  1. Tap the child at the top of the screen.
  2. Scroll down to the Manage controls section, and then tap Limits.
  3. Tap Time restrictions.
  4. You can create school or night hours, or you can create custom time restrictions:
    • School or night hours: Tap School hours or Night hours, and adjust the recommended time restrictions as needed.Custom time restrictions: Tap Add time restrictions. Choose the days and times you don’t want your child to be able to use the phone.
    Note: You can also remove a time restriction on this screen. Select the limit you'd like to remove, and tap Remove.
  5. Tap Save.
  6. Turn your child's phone off and on again to put the limit into effect!

How to Monitor Content

In addition to setting parental controls on your child’s device, the next safety layer parents and caregivers should strongly consider is a monitoring solution to assess the content their kids encounter (and produce) across text messages, social media, and email. Bark can do this for you.

On Android devices, Bark can monitor text messages (including deleted ones!), photos, videos, web browsing (including Incognito on the Chrome browser/app!), and many installed apps, including Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok (formerly, WhatsApp, and Kik. On iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod), Bark can monitor text messages/iMessages (including some deleted messages!), photos, videos, web browsing (on Safari and Chrome), and Whatsapp!

Any other email and social media accounts must be connected via the parent dashboard and will be monitored at the account-level, regardless if accessed on a phone, tablet, or a computer. Bark also monitors your child’s Android device location with check-ins. If you’d like to see a detailed list of everything Bark can monitor, click here.

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