The big picture: T-Mobile is looking to monetize parental controls, an area that's been getting a lot of attention as consumers are becoming more cognizant of screen time in the ever-expanding mobile era.
T-Mobile on Monday announced a new parental control solution for parents that need a helping hand in managing technology in their household.
T-Mobile FamilyMode is an app and hardware device combo described as a parent’s digital ally. The app exerts a watchful eye over you kids’ phones while the FamilyMode Home Base connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network to monitor other connected screens.
With it, you’ll be able to manage, monitor, filter and set time limits for kids’ usage of phones, tablets, laptops, game consoles, smart TVs and other connected devices. You can also set rewards, for example, offering little Johnny an extra hour of screen time for completing his daily chores or getting high marks on his math test.
The service sells for $10 per month although you’ll have to dish out an additional $20 up front for the hardware.
If you’re thinking this all looks a bit familiar, you’re absolutely right. As best we can tell, the T-Mobile FamilyMode Home Base is simply a rebranded version of Circle, the smart home device that began life as a Kickstarter project in 2013 (it failed on Kickstarter but a partnership with Disney eventually brought the device to market a few years later). Circle retails for just south of $100 and carries no monthly subscription fee.