Verizon FamilyBase™ and Usage Controls

Monitor wireless activities and set usage limits and restrictions for each user on an account with FamilyBase or Usage Controls.
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Usage Controls FAQs

[FAQs]

General Information
  1. What is Usage Controls?
    Usage Controls is being replaced by Verizon FamilyBase™. If you already have Usage Controls, you can continue using the service at this time.


  2. Which devices are incompatible with Usage Controls?

    Usage Controls works on most Verizon Wireless 4G LTE and 3G mobile devices. However, it's not compatible with the following devices:

    • Simple Internet Protocol (IP) devices; these are simple, low-level protocol devices for initiating interactive communication sessions between users such as scanners and cameras.
    • Static Internet Protocol addresses

    If you have a restricted device and you attempt to add Usage Controls in My Verizon, you ll be notified that the device isn t compatible with Usage Controls. 



  3. How frequently can I change my Usage Controls settings?
    Changes to your Usage Controls settings can be made at any time and as often as you like. The changes may take a few minutes to become effective after clicking Submit.

    In the case of time restrictions, and data and purchase limits, the device will need to be turned off and turned back on again after a change is saved for the very first time on the service to become effective. You won’t need to do this if you make further changes.


  4. How do my Usage Controls settings relate to my plan limits?
    To prevent overage, the data, voice, messaging and purchase limits shouldn't be set higher than the plan limit. The controlled line will be billed for all usage, including any applicable overage charges.

    If the voice, messaging, purchase and data limits are set lower than the current bill cycle usage, you may not use all services that you’ve paid for, depending upon the settings selected for the controlled line. The controlled line will receive an alert indicating that the limit has been reached and will be billed for all usage, including any applicable overage charges.


  5. Can I set different limits and restrictions for each controlled line or other lines on my account with Usage Controls?
    Yes, you can select different limits and controls for each line on your account. You can modify the settings at any time by accessing the Usage Controls page in My Verizon. Data limits can also be modified through My Verizon Mobile.


  6. Who will be notified when a controlled line on Usage Controls reaches a voice, messaging, purchase or data limit?
    The Account Owner and the controlled line will receive a free text message alert when the controlled line reaches its voice, messaging, purchase and/or data limit.

    Prior to that point, Usage Controls will also notify the controlled line with a free text message when the line is nearing a usage limit. Alerts are sent to the controlled line for the following reasons:
    • Minutes – 15 minutes prior to reaching the usage limit
    • Messaging – 15 messages prior to reaching the usage limit
    • Purchases – $3 away from reaching the purchase limit
    • Data – When 50%, 75% and 90% of the data limit has been used

      If an alternate phone number or email address has been set up within Usage Controls, these individuals will receive usage alerts as well.

    Learn about setting up Account Managers who can also make changes to your account.


  7. Can the usage alerts sent by Usage Controls be turned off?
    No, there’s no option to turn off Usage Controls alerts.


Usage Limits
  1. Can I set a limit for minutes with Usage Controls?

    Yes, you can set a limit for each of the following types of minutes that a controlled line uses:

    • Anytime minutes
    • National Mobile to Mobile minutes (calls to and from any Verizon mobile phone)
    • Night & Weekend minutes

    If you have a plan with unlimited minutes, such as The MORE Everything Plan, you may still set a limit to control voice usage.

    When setting a limit on a line, you have the option to limit additional minute usage or to allow additional minute usage once the limit is reached.
    • Default Setting: Stop additional Anytime calls until the next bill cycle.

      With this setting, once the Anytime Minute limit is reached, the controlled line will not be able to place or receive calls, unless the call is with a Trusted Contact or a 911 call. If a limit is set for Mobile to Mobile minutes or for Night & Weekend minutes and these limits are reached, the controlled line may also be restricted from placing or receiving calls to other Verizon Wireless customers that are part of Unlimited National Mobile to Mobile calling or during Night & Weekend time periods. However, if the call is to or from a Trusted Contact or other unrestricted numbers (e.g., 911), the call will always be allowed. You will be billed for all minutes used in accordance with your plan.
    • Optional Setting: Do not restrict additional calls.
      With this setting, once the Anytime limit is reached, the controlled line will still be able to use the phone to place or receive calls. You will be billed for all minutes used in accordance with your plan.

    When a controlled line nears the minute limit (15 minutes prior to reaching the limit), a free text message will be sent to the device indicating that the line is nearing the limit. If the controlled line reaches the limit, a free text message will be sent to the controlled line’s device and to the Account Owner’s device indicating that the limit was reached. If an alternate phone number or email address has been set up within Usage Controls, those individuals will also receive usage alerts.

    Learn about setting up Account Managers who can also make changes to your account.


  2. Can I set a limit for messages with Usage Controls?
    Yes, the Account Owner can set a limit for the number of messages (text and multimedia messages) that a controlled line can use.

    If you have a plan with unlimited messaging, such as The MORE Everything Plan, you may still set a limit to control messaging usage.

    When a controlled line nears the messaging limit (15 messages prior to reaching the limit), a free text message will be sent to the device indicating that the user is nearing the limit. If the controlled line reaches the limit, free text messages will be sent to the controlled line’s device and to the Account Owner’s device indicating that the limit was reached. If an alternate phone number or email address has been set up within Usage Controls, these individuals will also receive usage alerts.

    A controlled line will be restricted from sending or receiving messages once the messaging limit is reached,

    Notes:
    • Messaging with social networking providers will count towards the controlled line’s messaging limit. These include messages with users on Facebook® and Twitter®.
    • Mobile Instant Messaging version 3.0 and higher isn’t compatible with Usage Controls. If you have Mobile IM 3.0 or higher preloaded on your device, you won’t be able to access or use Usage Controls. If you wish to access and use Mobile IM 3.0 or higher on your device, you must cancel Usage Controls.

    Learn about setting up Account Managers who can also make changes to your account.



    • What types of messages don’t count toward a Usage Controls messaging limit?

      The following types of messages don't count toward the messaging limit:

      • Sending or receiving Short Code Text Messages, which are currently not restricted by Usage Controls, but can be blocked in My Verizon from the Block Services page if you’re the Account Owner or an Account Manager

      • Sending or receiving messages from IP-based messaging apps, such as Apple® iMessage®

      • If your messaging plan includes a bundle of Limited Messaging + Unlimited Mobile to Mobile Messaging, messages with other Verizon Wireless customers (Mobile to Mobile Messaging) won't count toward your limit

      • If your messaging plan includes Unlimited Messaging (e.g., The MORE Everything Plan) and you set up a messaging limit, all messages (including free messages) will count towards the limit and be restricted when the limit is reached


    • Can I send text and multimedia messages to an email address when I have Usage Controls active on the line?
      Yes, you can send and receive text and multimedia messages to and from email addresses.


    • Can I set a limit for purchases, such as game downloads, ringtones and Ringback Tones with Usage Controls?

      Yes, the account owner can set a spending limit in dollars for purchases of Verizon Wireless branded apps for each subscribed line.

      The controlled line will receive a free text alert when within $3 of the purchase limit. The Account Owner and the controlled line will receive a free text alert when the purchase limit for the controlled line is reached. If an alternate phone number or email address has been set up within Usage Controls, these individuals will also receive usage alerts.

      When the limit is reached, the controlled line will no longer be able to download or purchase apps until the next bill cycle.

      Notes:

      • Purchase limits do not include airtime or data usage fees, monthly subscription fees or fees for certain data services and applications, (e.g., Family Locator, VZ Navigator® and Backup AssistantSM Plus). When a controlled line purchases a subscription service, the Account Owner will be notified of this purchase via a free text message and will be advised to manage subscriptions on the My Verizon My Media page. Monthly recurring fees for subscription services will not be controlled by purchase limits. The free text message to the Account Owner may be delayed by a few hours from the time the controlled line purchases the subscription.

      • If the controlled line has a basic phone with Media Center software version 3.0 or higher, purchases made via Media Center on the device will be counted toward the purchase limit. If the controlled line’s device has Media Center software version 3.0 or lower, purchase limits aren't compatible and you'll receive an error message when attempting to set up a purchase limit for this line.

      • Purchases made via Mobile Web and the Media Store will be tracked and counted towards the purchase limit. However, features with monthly fees won't be tracked or counted towards the purchase limit.


      Learn about setting up Account Managers who can also make changes to your account.



      • Can I set a limit for data usage with Usage Controls?

        Yes, you can set a megabyte (MB) or gigabyte (GB) limit for each line’s data usage. This limit will apply to activities such as browsing the web or downloading apps and content (e.g., songs, games and ringtones).

        The controlled line will receive a free text alert when reaching 50%, 75% and 90% of the data limit. The Account Owner and the controlled line will receive free text alerts when 100% of the data limit has been reached. If an alternate phone number or email address has been set up within Usage Controls, these individuals will also receive usage alerts.

        Once the data limit is reached, you can choose whether to restrict additional data usage until the next bill cycle (optional setting) or to allow additional data usage (default setting):

        • Default Setting: Allow additional data usage until the next bill cycle.

          With this setting, once the data limit is reached, the controlled line will still be able to use the device to access data. Selecting this option will help you and your controlled lines monitor their data usage, but it won’t prevent or restrict data access or use. This could result in data overage charges. All usage will be billed according to your data plan.

        • Optional Setting: Stop all data usage once data limit is reached.

          With this setting, once the data limit is reached, the controlled line may be prevented from using any app or service that requires data usage. There are some Verizon apps (e.g., My Verizon Mobile) that require data usage that we don’t bill you for. The data usage associated with using such Verizon apps won’t count towards any data limit that you set in Usage Controls. You’ll continue to be able to use such apps even after your data limit has been reached.

        If you don’t set a data limit, data usage alerts will still be sent to the Account Owner and the controlled line. The data usage alerts will be based upon your data plan. These could vary and full details are found on the Usage Controls Data Limits page in My Verizon.

        Note: The first time you establish a time restriction or a data limit, or if you're making changes to your data limit settings, the controlled line's device must be powered off. Save the settings and after you've viewed the confirmation that settings have been saved, power the device back on. This ensures that the settings will take effect.

        Learn about setting up Account Managers who can also make changes to your account.


      • Why is my data usage higher than my data limit when I have selected to restrict/control data usage with Usage Controls?
        There are some Verizon apps (e.g., My Verizon Mobile) that require data usage that we don’t bill you for. The data usage associated with using such Verizon apps won’t count towards any data limit that you set in Usage Controls. You’ll continue to be able to use such apps even after your data limit has been reached.


      Blocked Contacts
      1. Can I block certain numbers with Usage Controls?

        Yes, the Account Owner can designate and block up to 20 numbers from communicating with the controlled line via incoming or outgoing calls, text messages and multimedia messages. You can block:

        • Domestic phone numbers
        • International phone numbers
        • Email addresses
        • Instant messaging screen names
        • All incoming calls from numbers listed as private, restricted or unavailable
        • Outgoing calls to 411, 1411, #411 and *411 directory assistance.

        Calls to (NPA) 555-1212 will still be allowed and billed in accordance with your plan, feature or package. To block specific (NPA) 555-1212 numbers (e.g., 312-555-1212), enter the specific 10-digit number with the area code into the blocked numbers list.

        For more information on blocking telemarketing calls, refer to the National Do Not Call Directory.

        Learn about setting up Account Managers who can also make changes to your account.



      2. Which numbers can I never block?
        You can’t block numbers that are within your account or numbers that are on the Trusted Contacts list.


      3. How does Caller ID Blocking impact the Usage Controls Blocked Contacts list?

        A number on your Blocked Contacts list will still be blocked even if the caller has enabled Caller ID Blocking, (as long as the number is recognized by our network).

        Also, if you’ve chosen to block all private, restricted and unavailable numbers, any caller using Caller ID Blocking will be prohibited from contacting the controlled line.



      4. What happens when a Blocked Contact tries to call or message the controlled line?
        The controlled line will receive no indication that the Blocked Contact has tried to call or message them. If the Blocked Contact tries to call the controlled line, the Blocked Contact will hear a message indicating that the person they’re trying to reach is unavailable. If the Blocked Contact tries to message the controlled line, the Blocked Contact will receive an error message.


      Time Restrictions
      1. Can I restrict device usage during school hours or other times that I don’t want the controlled device used?

        Yes, the account owner can set up to 10 restricted time periods for each controlled line on Usage Controls.

        Note: If you’re traveling to a destination in another time zone, the Usage Controls Time Restrictions aren't automatically adjusted to the new time zone. You must reset the restriction for the new time zone.

        Time Restrictions can help you control the following:

        • Calls – Calls are stopped during restricted times. The controlled line will only be able to communicate with designated Trusted Contacts or 911.

        • Messaging – Time Restrictions will restrict the controlled line from sending or receiving messages. These include messages with users on Facebook® and Twitter®. During restricted times, the controlled line will only be able to send or receive text and mulitmedia messages from designated Trusted Contacts.

          Any messages not controlled by Usage Controls will be allowed during time restrictions.
        • Data – During restricted times, the controlled line won’t be able to access data, download apps and content, such as ringtones or games, or access the Internet. All data services will be unavailable during the restricted times, except for My Verizon Mobile, Data Usage Meter, Backup Assistant℠ Plus, Verizon Cloud and multimedia messages to Trusted Contacts.


        Learn about setting up Account Managers who can also make changes to your account.



        • What happens when the controlled line attempts to call or message someone that’s not permitted during Usage Controls Time Restrictions?

          When the controlled line attempts to call or send a message to a contact that’s not designated as a Trusted Contact, the call won’t connect or the text message won’t be delivered. The controlled line will receive a free text alert indicating that the Time Restriction is preventing communications at this time.



        • What happens when the controlled line attempts to access data that’s not permitted during Usage Controls Time Restrictions?

          If the controlled line attempts to access data during a restricted time, it will be unable to do so and a device error message or network error message that states “network not available” or “no connectivity” may appear. Messages vary by device.

          The controlled line won’t receive a free text alert indicating the reason for this experience because some apps are always allowed to access data. At this time, it’s not possible to distinguish which apps would need to trigger these alerts and which shouldn’t.



        • Do Usage Controls Time Restrictions work with devices that have an “always on” data connection?

          Time Restriction settings may not immediately take effect on devices with "always on" data connections (e.g., smartphones) and may not immediately restrict data usage, regardless of whether you have established a Time Restriction for one or more of those devices on your account.

          Note: The first time you establish a time restriction or a data limit, or if you're making changes to your data limit settings, the controlled line's device must be powered off. Save the settings and after you've viewed the confirmation that settings have been saved, power the device back on. This ensures that the settings will take effect.



        Trusted Contacts
        1. Who can be a Trusted Contact?

          Trusted Contacts can include any of the following:

          • 10-digit mobile or landline numbers
          • International numbers
          • Email addresses
          • Instant messaging screen names
          • Voice Mail numbers (your own mobile number)

            Note: Since Voice Mail access is restricted after the voice limit is reached and during Time Restrictions, you may add your own mobile number to Trusted Contacts to allow access to Voice Mail at all times. However, because Voice Mail is billable, this usage will be billed and won’t be restricted by Usage Controls if your mobile number / Voice Mail access number is added to Trusted Contacts. Communication between Trusted Contacts is always allowed and could result in overage.

          All voice, data and messaging usage will be billed in accordance with your applicable plan, feature or package.



        2. Can I restrict a device to only communicate with Usage Controls Trusted Contacts?
          Yes, the Account Owner can restrict a device to only communicate with those you have designated as Trusted Contacts. To do this, set up a 24/7 Time Restriction, and then set up your Trusted Contacts list.


        Calling 911
        1. Can a controlled line on Usage Controls call 911?

          Yes, Usage Controls doesn’t restrict the controlled line from calling or receiving calls from 911. In the event that a controlled line dials 911 from their phone, Usage Controls voice restrictions will be automatically suspended until the Account Owner reestablishes the settings for that line of service.

          All voice, messaging and data usage will be billed in accordance with the applicable plan, feature or package.



        2. What should I expect when a line on my account calls 911?

          Usage Controls doesn’t restrict the controlled line from calling or receiving calls from 911. When a controlled line dials 911, Usage Controls voice restrictions are automatically suspended until the Account Owner reestablishes the settings for that line of service. A free text message is also sent to the Account Owner stating that:

          • A line on the account dialed 911

          • Usage Controls has been suspended and must be reinstated online in My Verizon

          When the Account Owner signs in to My Verizon, an alert will appear that contains the mobile number that dialed 911 and an option to Reset Usage Controls. If the Account Owner fails to reset Usage Controls, all voice restrictions will remain suspended for that line of service.


          All voice, messaging and data usage will be billed in accordance with the applicable plan, feature or package.


        3. What happens if a controlled line on Usage Controls calls 911 while roaming in the United States?
          If a controlled line places a call to 911 from the network of a carrier that Verizon Wireless doesn’t have a roaming agreement with, it‘s not possible to provide callback capability from the public safety entity (PSAP) back to the controlled line’s phone. In these cases where the phone roams outside of the Verizon Wireless network, voice usage will only be “soft stopped” and won’t be restricted in order to allow the PSAP to call back the controlled line’s phone.


        4. What happens when a controlled line on Usage Controls sends a text to 911 (in supported markets)?

          Text to 911 capability may be available in select markets. When a controlled line sends a text to 911 in a supported market, the line will be able to receive text replies back from 911. If text to 911 is not supported, the device will receive an automated reply that text to 911 service is not available and the user will need to call 911 instead. If a user calls 911, any voice restrictions that are on the line will be suspended to allow a voice call back from the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). However, if a user does not call 911 after receiving the automated reply, any voice restrictions that are on the line will remain for voice usage and will prevent a voice call back from the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).



        Domestic and International Roaming
        1. When subscribed to Usage Controls, what happens when I use calling, messaging and data services within the Verizon Wireless Coverage Area of United States?

          Usage Controls voice, messaging and data settings aren't guaranteed to work while within the Verizon Wireless Coverage Area.

          While within the United States, calls can be placed to and received from an international destination (e.g., a phone number with more than 10 digits). However, this may require additional features to be added to the line, such as the International Dialing (I-DIAL) feature.



        2. When subscribed to Usage Controls, what happens when I use calling, messaging and data services outside the Verizon Wireless Coverage Area but within the United States?
          For voice services outside the Verizon Wireless Coverage Area but within the United States, you may be prompted to dial the calling party’s number a second time.

          For messaging and data services outside the Coverage Area but within the United States, if the roaming partner has configured its network to trigger Usage Controls, Usage Controls may work. Otherwise, messaging and data settings aren’t guaranteed to work.

          While within the United States, calls can be placed to and received from an international destination (e.g., a phone number with more than 10 digits). However, this may require additional features to be added to the line, such as the International Dialing (I-DIAL) feature.


        3. Will Usage Controls work when I’m roaming outside the United States?
          Usage Controls may not work when you’re roaming internationally. Additional services, such as #MIN, #DATA, etc., aren’t supported when you’re roaming.

          Some 3G Global plans and features that support international roaming aren’t compatible with Usage Controls. If you subscribe to a Global plan or feature that’s incompatible, you won’t be able to use Usage Controls.


        Other Products
        1. How does Usage Controls work with services that allow users to dial vanity numbers that translate to a phone number?
          Usage Controls can’t prevent calls from services that allow you to dial vanity numbers that translate to a phone number, such as StarStar Me. If a blocked contact calls a phone subscribed to Usage Controls by dialing a vanity number, the call will connect. Similarly, if a controlled line calls a blocked contact by dialing a vanity number, the call will connect. If these calls are placed by entering dialed digits and the phone number is blocked for the controlled line, the incoming and outgoing call will be blocked. Usage Controls will restrict calls to/from vanity numbers during Time Restrictions and after the calling limit is reached. Vanity numbers can’t be added to your blocked or Trusted Contacts list.



        2. Will Family Locator work with Usage Controls?
          Controlled lines on Family Locator can be located and will generate Scheduled Arrival & Departure Updates, except during restricted times.


        3. How does Usage Controls work with The MORE Everything Plan that includes Canada/Mexico minutes?
          Usage Controls is compatible with The MORE Everything Plan that includes domestic minutes and Canada/Mexico minutes. However, you’ll only be able to set a single limit for Anytime minutes. All voice usage (Domestic/Canada/Mexico) will be counted towards your limit and restricted if you choose to completely stop your voice usage.


        4. Can I block specific data services like ringtones, short code text messages or games with Usage Controls?
          Usage Controls won’t block these types of services. We provide Account Owners with free features to block access to these services. You can selectively block specific services without any charge through Service Blocks:
          1. Go to the Block and Unblock Services page in My Verizon.

          2. Select the service block(s) that you’d like to add to your line.

          3. Click Continue.

          4. Click OK.

            You’ve successfully blocked the selected services.


        5. How do I cancel Usage Controls?
          To cancel Usage Controls:
          1. Click View Profile from the My Verizon Overview page.
          2. Near the bottom under Alerts and Preferences, click Manage Usage Controls.
          3. Click View Profile.
          4. Click Remove Usage Controls below the device(s) you want to remove Usage Controls from.
          5. Click Yes in the pop-up window that appears.

          You’ve successfully canceled Usage Controls.

          Verizon FamilyBase is a service similar to Usage Controls that allows you to manage more at a lower monthly cost. For more information, visit our Verizon FamilyBase feature page.

          Apple and iMessage are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.


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