Sprint Guardian for Families (and a giveaway!)

As I see younger and younger children with phones that are way more fancy than anything I ever had as a child, I frequently wonder how parents moderate phone use for their children.
Lots of families we know have rules about where phones are stored at night, some parents give their children smart phones without data plans so they can’t access the internet, and others have a trust-based system of management.  
I am not that trusting 🙂 
Mobile carrier Sprint contacted me about trying out their Sprint Guardian program, which works on all Sprint Android smartphones and connects mobile security and safety applications from Safely and Lookout.  This means that once you purchase Sprint Guardian, you can access information from security applications in one location either from your phone or online.   This makes management of all your family phones easy and centralized.  You can even use Sprint Guardian to protect your Android phones from malware and spyware.  
One of my favorite included technologies is the ability for parents to enforce their family rules regarding phone use with Sprint Mobile Controls and Sprint Drive First.  Mobile Controls allows you to lock your child’s phone either on demand or on a schedule, letting you ensure they’re not using the phone during school, for example, or after 10pm so they’re not using it at night.  Drive First 
automatically locks your teenagers’ mobile phones when they’re traveling more than 10 mph and unlocks when they stop driving.  It directs incoming calls to voicemail and silences distracting alerts while driving, too.  
All of these technologies come bundled for $14.98 per month for up to five lines on an account.  That offers a family of five a 73 percent savings over buying and paying for all the offered applications separately.  For me, while I don’t have teenagers, just knowing that they couldn’t text while driving would be worth the $15 a month.  
If you already have a Sprint Android device, you can find Sprint Guardian in the Sprint Zone application, which appears as an icon on your mobile device.  We were able to try Sprint Guardian on a pair of loaner Androids before writing this article, and I have to say that Sprint is definitely making it easy for families by putting all the security and safety features together in one place.  The only feature I wish it had would be a website blocker or “web nanny” feature, but other than that, this is a great option for families who want to keep their children’s cell phone habits safe and under control.  
If your family still hasn’t entered the digital age, Sprint is offering two lucky PwcMoms readers a chance to win their own Sprint Guardian-ready devices.  These phones do not come with service, but you can swap them onto your existing Sprint Plan, or activate them with a new one starting at $79.99 a month for an individual plan.  Don’t forget to add Sprint Guardian to your new device if you win!!  Visit www.sprint.com/sprintguardian
On a related note, my Tech-savvy husband wanted to share his opinion on Sprint’s mobile plans.  Please note that we’re actually AT&T customers right now, and this is just his “expert opinion”:
Sprint is really outdoing Verizon and AT&T with their unlimited data plans.  It goes way beyond unlimited data vs. capped/throttled data plans.  Verizon and AT&T have begun moving away from the traditional way of doing business where you pay for a phone or additional line, and you pay for some number of minutes and then you get a data package.  Their new way of doing business is to offer shared data plans with capped usage and overage fees on data while giving away unlimited voice usage.  Over time, it is likely that this is the only way you will be able to get a plan with Verizon and AT&T.  Here’s the problem, these shared data plans look good now, and in many cases can even save you money now (it would for our family), but Verizon and AT&T know that data usage is growing at an ever increasing rate as screens get bigger and better, video streaming becomes more prevalent, and wireless internet speeds increase.  This means that your shared data plan with Verizon or AT&T might save you money today but cost you much more money in the future.  This is why Sprint’s unlimited data plans are such a great deal.  They are the only plan of the three top wireless providers in our area that is in the consumers’ best interest.
On that note, here’s what you can win! 
We’ve got a Motorola Photon 4G LTE

Enter by emailing info@pwcmoms.com with which phone you’d like to win! Note that these devices do not come with service plans, but are Sprint Guardian ready and can be swapped onto your existing Sprint plan, or start a new one!

Contest closes on March 22, 2012.