Smart Family has a major bug that will not be addressed
bkm132
Enthusiast - Level 2

I had posted a while back about a bug in Smart Family that allows my kid to run blocked apps, even when Internet service has been paused. She merely swipes the app over and over until it pops up and allows her access. I complained to Verizon and was assigned a ticket about 3 weeks ago. I never heard back, so I contacted customer service today, and after an hour of them futzing around and transferring me to tech support, they finally admitted that they were not going to fix the problem and that is it a "known bug". Well, this known bug basically renders an entire portion of Smart Family useless. It is well known out on the sites that kids access to find out how to get around parental apps. 

What I cannot understand is why tech support did not contact me immediately to tell me that they can't fix this bug. Why did I have to waste an hour to find out? The Smart Family app is useless to me if apps cannot be blocked. And they are advertising a "feature" that does not work because it is easilly overridden.

My kid now has a dumbphone and a text/voice only plan through another carrier.  I just wanted to let everyone here know not to rely on being able to block apps, because your kid will find out how to override it.

20 Replies
Rms49
Newbie

Also if you use location it pops up on your childs phone and let's them know you are locating them so what is the point of smart family

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vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

Rms49, we want to help address the issue of your child being notified any time they are being located using Smart Family. Has this always been the case since using Smart Family?

 

What make and model phone does your child have?

 

 

AlanS_VZW

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Rms49
Newbie

Also verizon notifies your child that they are being located so what is the point of having smart family

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bearone21
Legend

probably no call because verizon doesn't have any control over 3rd party apps.

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vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

bkm132 , 

 

I'm sorry to hear that Smart Family didn't work out for you. While not all apps can be blocked (you can always report those apps to be included in a later update), any security service has limitations, and should not be relied on to manage your child's phone on your behalf. That is where letting them know the reason for the Smart Family app and why certain programs should or shouldn't be used on a phone that you provide them with is so important. Smartphones can do a great deal of functions now that they couldn't a few years ago, and as technology continues to improve it becomes even more critical to teach safe habits on a device that used to only handle wireless calls. While you may not use Smart Family currently, please see #2, #3, and #4 under "Content Filters" for more information on what can or cannot be blocked, and how to report unblocked apps: http://spr.ly/6606Eslgj

 

RussellM_VZW

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patlee64
Enthusiast - Level 1

This response is not a response to the issue. It is just a bunch of words which attempt to confuse the issue. 
the issue is addressed ad naseum in multiple posts here, all of which you deflect. 
Can you answer the question as to why we continually receive the message Daily that “filters are removed”? I’m not removing them and my son swears he isn’t. 
please answer the question directly absent any company-line about some sites can’t be blocked or other bluster. I’m tired of this garbage treatment and absent a solution will return all my accounts to ATT. 

vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

While I am big fan of George Orwell’s books, the last thing we want is to sound like one of them to our customers.  We want to do everything we can to make sure you Smart Family is working perfectly and to get to the bottom of this “Filters are removed issue.”  A private message has been sent to assist you further.

SeanC_VZW

necusrocus
Newbie

I don't understand why it is not as simple as completely turning off their service between the hours I have set? I already have blocks on the wifi in place and yet my child is still able to get around Verizon with no problem. It kind of makes me wonder why I am paying extra for a service which isn't valuable to me at all at this point. Why can't I determine what times my kids phone, text, and data is allowed? This sounds crazy to me. Just pause their service during these intervals. It is literally that easy on my wifi router. Why isn't that easy on Verizon? The ONLY exception should be 911. That's it. 

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incaico
Newbie

How about putting a password to block the ability to turn off VPN?  How simple is that?

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vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

Hello there! We understand it's important to be able to manage your kids phone, and we're sorry to know that the Smart Family isn't working. Please keep in mind that we need to work around the manufacturer options. We can't put a lock/password to turn off/on an option that is built in by Apple. This is an Apple software, and we can't modify it. Rest assured that we're always working on improving our services, and your feedback is always welcome. 

 

 

AaronS_VZW

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vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

We definitely get where you're coming from, and we take your feedback very seriously, necusrocus. Please let us know if you have any trouble or other questions on the Smart Family app.

ZakC_VZW

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incaico
Newbie

How about answering his question?  Bypassing the question with a "we hear you" did not solve issue.

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IveAlreadyDoneThis
Enthusiast - Level 2

The OP did not ask about that issue. The OP was asking, effectively, "why can my child turn off or circumvent the filters? I have to give them a dumbphone now, because they can get around V's Smart Family things." Everyone then piled on V for them doing it wrong, and I'm saying "no, it doesn't matter what filters or tools you put in place, if you're not paying attention, your kid (with enough time) will get around them all." If your child refuses to obey and use a phone appropriately (by whatever rules you deem fit as the parent) then no tool like Smart Family will change that, and your only recourse is to give them a dumbphone, or no phone at all.

I agree with you that the alert you get for removing filters, when no filters were removed, is a problem that V needs to fix. I've got my own question here in this forum on that very issue. I have 3 phones Smart Family, and only one has that filters issue, where I can pair it, sit there watching the phone with nobody touching it, and see the alert come up that it's not paired or filters were removed... this is a problem, but not the problem the OP was addressing, so not worth hijacking this thread over.

I'm not a "Verizon shill" but rather an ordinary user like yourself, who happens to understand how the internet, smartphones, and children operate and recognize that no software tool is going to fix anything about that. It's merely a tool for us as parents to do the best that we can.

Rock on.

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Dsmplayers
Enthusiast - Level 1

Although I am not the OP, I kind of take offense to this response from this VZW rep.  You are basically saying, let's not address the issues with the product that we charge people a monthly fee for, that they expect to function as advertised, but let's just assume people that use this product aren't parenting well enough.

What an arrogant wiseguy off you are sir.  This app is absolute trash, and there should be a class action suit filed against VZW.

I've had countless issues with this app since day 1, but always kept it because at least some of the features worked some of the time, but after reading that, I'm saving $10 a month going forward.

IveAlreadyDoneThis
Enthusiast - Level 2

I too am not the OP, but I'm going to belly-flop into this because not all parents are as obtuse as these. This is not meant as a slight or trigger for flames, but rather as a gut-check for everyone to calm down and recognize that in this arms-race, one tool is not going to solve everything.

Verizon is actually doing things correctly on this bug. Frankly, this app (which I use w/ my 3 kids) is meant as a lock (of sorts) to keep "an honest person honest." It's not meant as an impenetrable safe zone that we as parents can check out with. My kids all know that I get an alert when things are turned off, which triggers the conversation of "why did you do that?" Invariably the result (after they try to lie about it) is that they lose privileges. If they continue to "test the fences" then they lose it permanently. (which is what the OP did by dropping to a dumb phone, which is a solid response for kids who refuse to obey boundaries)

This app does not block everything, and other filters/apps/solutions are needed to alert on some things. I have those as well, and further I have regular conversations with my kids where we review what they're doing via histories and other methods. I don't let them as young kids have access at late hours, as they need good sleeping habits. We are parents, and thus we are the ones with the actual responsibility. The app makers are just giving us tools to help, knowing that none of them provide us a way to stop paying attention. As the OP noted, kids will find away if you give them the time w/o checking up with them regularly.

We don't stop watching when our toddlers wander through playgrounds. We don't stop looking when they first ride a bike. We don't drop our pre-teen off at a doctors office checkup without going in with them. We don't tune out when they learn to drive.

Teaching them to use the internet is no different. Pay attention, use tools, but never assume.

patlee64
Enthusiast - Level 1

Please. You sound like a VZW shill. 
If I pay for an app, I expect it to do what it is advertised to do. Anything short of that is misrepresentation at beat and fraud at worst. A class action suit appears to be the only resolution as the replies from VZW sound like they are from a James Orwell novel. Misdirection and speaking to everything other than the fact that VZW IS NOT ADDRESSING THE CORE ISSUE. 

If my kid can continually turn off/ remove filters, what good is it?

vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

We apologize if you were offended by our agent's answer, as it was not our intention to offend. We're always looking for ways to improve our apps and features. Are you having the same issues with Smart Family as the OP?

PedroM_VZW

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Rms49
Newbie

Why do you not make it public that your child will be notified each time you use location

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vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

Rms49, we're sorry if your child was notified when you tried to use the location feature on your Smart Family feature. In the following link you will get specific details on how to set up location controls and notifications (please scroll towards bottom of page where it specifies Location): https://www.verizon.com/support/verizon-smart-family-faqs/

 

 

 

IvoneA_VZW 

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MICFRE69
Newbie

My first time posting so I hope I'm doing this correctly. I have been paying for the smart family app for a while and while some may think it's my own fault (and ultimately, it is) or bad parenting there are quite a few services I pay for where I trust that the advertised service is doing it's job and this was one of them. The app, Snapchat, is specifically listed as being blocked, I pay my bill every month, and I should expect that it is being blocked. Unfortunately, I only realized recently that it was not blocked at all and my child had no problems accessing it. The launch button was somewhat hidden on his phone so that I would not notice it was there. So if the app does not work as advertised, Verizon knows it does not work as advertised, then why do you still charge me for it? I don't use the cut rate services because I assume that a company like Verizon takes some corporate responsibility and will not try to cheat its customers by charging them for something they are not delivering. Before you turn it around and blame my bad parenting like the OP did in the second post, I am not blaming Verizon for my child accessing the app. My child's behavior is my responsibility and no one else's. I am blaming Verizon for charging me for a long time (ever since the smart family app came out - yes, my oldest child is now 21) for a service that they apparently knew was not being delivered. That's just messed up.

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