According to a report by The Verge, AT&T is actually planning to launch a new application called "Secure Family". This application will basically replace the company's "Smart Limits" application, and the new app will become available on November 26. This new app will come with a number of new features, including location tracking, time limits, and content filtering, among others. The upgraded version of the app will let users monitor up to 10 lines for $7.99 a month, and the source reports that location tracking will be quite accurate. Parents will also be able to set alerts, for both departures and arrivals for any location they want. So, let's say that your kid is missing school on purpose for whatever reason, and you want to make sure it arrives there every time, well, using this app you'll be able to control that. You will also be able to prevent purchases from the Play Store using the app, while filtering content based on age-appropriate settings is also an option. On top of everything, you'll also be able to limit your kid's usage of social media networks, for example, as you'll be able to set time limits for usage on any app on the device. The source also shared an image which contains some promo material from AT&T, and even though that image shows off rather small shots of the UI on AT&T's upcoming app, you can see that the app will look quite clean. This is an app version for iOS, by the way, but the Android version will probably look like quite similar, if not identical. That is pretty much all the info that was shared by the source, and AT&T will share more info about the whole deal once the app launches on November 26.
Background: AT&T's Smart Limits app has been around for quite some time, and it seems like the company will rather release a brand new app rather than updating the old one. Having said that, AT&T is not the only US carrier that has such an app in play, Verizon actually rebranded its parental control app quite recently, as the "FamilyBase" application became the "Verizon Smart Family" app. Verizon's offering offers similar features to AT&T's upcoming application, and it lets you add up to 10 family members in the app. Verizon's app kicks things off for $4.99 a month for partial features, while you can get all the necessary features for $9.99, such as location tracking and alerts.
Impact: Parental control applications are definitely not needed by everyone, but there are parents out there who want to keep a closer eye on their kids, either because they're getting in trouble frequently, or because they're simply worried about them and want to make sure they're in the right place at the right time, that they don't spend to much time on social media, don't see inappropriate content online, etc. All in all, such apps can be quite useful, and it remains to be seen what will AT&T's new offering look like, and whether it will be more useful than the company's previous app.