On Your Side: Cell Phone Chaperone

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, September 17, 2007

AUGUSTA--For you parents out there, handing over a cell phone to your child might give you nightmares of them ringing up thousand dollar bills.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Most cell phone companies have some sort of parental controls to make sure your child doesn't rack up $500 OR $600 bills. But one company has taken it to the next level.

Cell phones traditionally haven't been something parents have much control over and there might are few bigger dangers to your wallet than what your child can do to a cell phone bill. But Chris Peppenger says they should be.

"I think it's necessary to have control. You want to have control over your kid." Chris said.

And now you can. AT&T Wireless is starting a new program called Smart Limits.

You can limit the number of minutes you child talks, the amount of text messages they receive and even the days and times they can send and receive calls.

"So during the school day, when you don't want them making calls or receiving calls. It blocks it out and turns itself on." AT&T manager Vince Schwago said.

You can even set limits on what websites they go to and you can set a dollar amount allowed for ringtones and games.

12 On Your Side went to the other major national cell phone retailers and while they all have some parental controls, none even come close to what AT&T is offering right now.

For example, Alltel lets you restrict certain numbers and web filters,, but it doesn't offer T-Mobile's KidConnect which limits the number of minutes they can talk.

With AT&T's smart limits, it has all of that and more, which is something Chris Peppinger likes for his family.

"More options, that's usually a good thing." Chris said.

Smart Limits doesn't cost a whole lot either, it's just $5 per line. And you can easily access it all on AT&T's website.

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