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. 

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • magenta4294767

                      I don't feel you are listening T-Mobile, parents want and need the ability to shut down a child/teenager's phone. Why this hasn't been available yet is frustrating and I am now researching for a new plan due to TMobile not having this necessary feature in today's world. I have been with T-Mobile since 1998 and will now be looking for another carrier, this is absurd this is not available.

                  • 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.

                            • barcodeable

                              I personally believe T-Mobile see the foreseeable future and realize parental control methods via T-Mobile services are  a waste of time and they will soon not be able to make a profit from it. They are still getting a return on their T-Mobile Family allowance service.... but they know other companies can do and have done a better job at setting boundaries for young users. I refuse to advertise for companies, I don’t want to generate money for them via my post that I don’t  share a profit in. But search the internet for your particular dilemma and you will find a solution. Everything is online... almost any problem you have, someone online have already posted a solution... you have to search for the solution yourself, and not expect a company like T-Mobile to be your savior.

                            • 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.

                                                    • freedom1776

                                                      T-Mobile, I am disappointed (and even disgusted) that you have not bothered to give parents (the ones that pay you) the ability to control data on our kids phones. I was so close to upgrading to T-Mobile One, but now I have to keep shopping around to help protect my family.  Do you care?  What are you thinking?

                                                      • mmolfetas

                                                        Agreed, instead of replying to every post in this thread, develop a new family control app. Verizon's was air tight. I'm just handing t mobile money for an app and their response to blocking numbers is to do so through the phone itself. My kid disabled the VPN from her Google Pixel 2 and I can't figure out how to turn it back on.

                                                        • magenta7909974

                                                          I think we have the option to restrict and turn of data to the phone. do those changes become effective immediately?

                                                          • valeriestar80

                                                            Agree...TMobiles parental controls are worthless. The router slows everything down and my kids have figured out how to work around it. Forget it when they are out of the house. We are now using Netsanity. Not sure why TMobile doesn't just partner with someone like them and make it part of their service for free.

                                                            • o2no1self

                                                              so when I had Verizon, they had a feature where I could turn cellular access to my sons phone off.

                                                              when I had ATT they had a feature where I could turn off cellular access to my sons phone.

                                                              neither of these features required I install an app on my OR my sons phone.

                                                              it was the essentially the same thing I would do with a lost phone. cut service till found sort of thing.


                                                              BUT here, to do this i need to pay 10$ a month, have an app on my phone

                                                              AND have an app on my sons phone (which is ridiculous)


                                                              family mode is a joke.


                                                              this issue here is honestly a HUGE one for me.

                                                              enough to make me concider switching back to one of the other carriers and have to pay more for monthly services.


                                                              to think.. that I dont have the option of PAYING TMobile to stop having service with the click of a button.  this just blows my mind.

                                                              and dont give me the rebranded circle family mode app routine.  my router is awesome  more so than anything you have to give me

                                                              and the requirement of putting an app on the end users device for service from you to be disabled is amazingly silly.

                                                              • starshooter696

                                                                How can T Mobile Staff member assume resolved.  T Mobile staff member should not be making assumptions.  The resolution should be published so others can learn from the work that was performed. 

                                                                • bchamp62

                                                                  Re: Parental Controls/Family Allowances Worthless

                                                                  Hello All,

                                                                  So, I'm jumping in here late in the game apparently.  But it appears that T-Mobile has checked this item off their list without actually providing a real working solution?  If someone out there has gotten the Family Mode app to work successfully if you would kindly reply and let me know how you accomplished this it would be much appreciated.

                                                                  With school starting up again I have a need to return my 15 yo daughter's phone for her to be able to contact myself or other family members if need be but she definitely will not be getting unfettered access to all cellular features for a while.  If T Mobile can't provide a solution here I will definitely be taking my business elsewhere.  From reading the posts in this thread it appears many parents got very frustrated with the lack of functionality and practical value in this app/feature/service for which they were paying good money.  Is T Mobile listening?  Is T Mobile being customer focused?

                                                                  School starts Wednesday here so I'm in need of a response quickly.  Hopefully some of you were able to get some answers so I'm not scrambling to change carriers at the start of school.



                                                                  • magenta10304728

                                                                    I am so frustrated with Family Mode. I agree that it is useless. I get texts from my daughter at school during off time and she can make calls to all her friends. The Verizon app was amazing. I am considering switching back to avoid all the headaches. I can't believe T Mobile can not hire dev's to make a better product.