How to keep cell phone data usage down during summer break

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE)- In just a few weeks kids will be out of school for summer break, and there’s no doubt that many will be glued to technology.

These days, most kids have their own cell phones.

Before you’re hit with a whopping bill because your kid went over their data plan, KRQE News 13 went straight to the tech experts. Believe it or not, the tools parents can use to keep track of their kid’s cell phone usage can be found at their fingertips.

The days of guessing if you’re going to be over on data this month are over. By looking at the settings in your phone to downloading helpful apps, you can keep track of how your kids use their cell phones.

But first, talk with your carrier about plans built specifically for families. Both AT&T and Verizon have family plans that only cost a few bucks more a month than individual plans. People need to be careful because everyone on that plan shares the total data usage.

That’s where free apps like “Onavo” come in so you know which phone-user is watching too many videos or browsing online too often.

“They actually allow you to track each member of your family’s data usage see who they’re texting and it gives you a lot of control over what is going on on your children’s phones,” said Nyika Allen, New Mexico Technology Council President and CEO.

While you decide which app will work best for you, Allen says you can limit the data usage your kids are using by turning off apps that are data hogs.

For iPhone users, all you do is go to Settings, then to General, then click on Storage and iCloud Settings. It will show you which apps are using the most data on that phone.

Finally, Allen says talk to your kids about the cost of going over on their data. Parents KRQE News 13 spoke to say they set up cell-phone guidelines to avoid an argument later.

“During the week, he is only allowed 10 minutes on the phone just to play his games or whatever he wants to do,” says Manuel Perez.

“No Facebook, no Instagram. The only thing she has is Snapchat, just family and close friends,” said Liliana Arreola.

Allen suggests reminding your kids that being on Wi-Fi helps reduce data usage which could help avoid surprise overage charges.

Allen also wanted to remind parents to talk to their kids about sharing personal info while using an unsecured free wireless networks like restaurants, coffee shops, hotels to name a few.

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