With the wealth of apps out there and browser usage reportedly on the decline, most interaction with a smartphone these days is done through apps. When it comes to kids, they could run across objectionable content, initiate unwanted in-app purchases and all manner of other hijinks when using a mobile device. Up until June 27th, Verizon had an in-house user account control system that a user could employ to limit what people on their account, such as their children, see online and keep them from making unauthorized purchases. While Verizon's tool did work, blocking most transactions and some web content, Verizon decided that users would need something new, with a fresh approach, and that they would pull their home-cooked parental control solution. Thus, with not a bang, but a whimper, Verizon's Content Filtering was no more.
When the service went quiet into the night, all accounts that had it turned on found themselves suddenly unbridled, with all numbers on the account able to access whatever content they wanted. Verizon did not leave parents hanging, of course – they provided an alternate method of blocking numbers, and recommended that parents check out a page they set up that centers on parental controls, where they show parents to resources like their own Family Online Safety Institute, the Common Sense Media nonprofit, and of course, links to the Play Store and Apple App Store to look for other apps that do most of what Content Filter did, if not more.
While Verizon has disabled their Content Filtering service, parental controls are still alive in some forms, allowing account holders to specify different websites and people to block on any given number on their plan, which of course has its uses as a vehicle for parental control. For the most part, parental controls these days can take place at the system level, or on a per-app basis with the use of App Ops and changing up permissions, present in Android 6.0 Marshmallow and up. While some apps, like browsers, may come with their own parental controls in some form, the overall market for parental control in smartphones just does not justify such an investment from a major player like Verizon.