26 June 2020

Kerching … data carrots as well as digital sticks

I almost laughed when I heard the ‘shocking revelation’ of how long tweens&teens are spending on their devices, and wished my sons’ was as little as that; each could read the entire works of J K Rowling in an average week’s screen time! 

Instead of looking for new ways to incentivize good behaviour and reward, the carrot was staring me straight in the face: data is the new pocket-money! 

Data is the new pocket-money! 

I blame myself – not so much for being the bad parent that some readers will think – for keeping up with the Jones’ and simply being too generous.  However, that genie is out and exploring one boy’s attitude his retort of “I’ve got tons of data, so I may as well use it” stumped me.  The crux of this issue is that it’s not that easy to turn the data tap ‘on’ and ‘off’.

I just need to get those who enable such control to see the light!  However, I feel the strong few – who dominate the mobile communication market – collude for their version of ‘easy’ and so blatantly neglect what I think is a market need.  We cannot easily control the flow – their access to data – but should be empowered to!


I recently drew blanks when I shopped the market as both mobile contracts were up for renewal; I just want a simple system:


  • I contract for a monthly package of data (say 25GB)
  • As the parent I have control which lets me apportions this – a base allowance then increments for rewards (e.g. 5GB and then I give 1GB per ‘merit’)
  • Instant on/off override for my discretion (such as when the stick is necessary)
  • Held with the provider, not on their device, so it cannot be hacked*


  • As above but using a scheduler perhaps (time not data) – or perhaps a hybrid of both
  • The ability to put a clock on the service (downtime for better sleep quality, classroom focus, etc.)

Is this too much to ask?!?

* Note: it must not be an App as teens are more adept and IT-savvy than parents; just look on YouTube how to jailbreak any and every parental control.  This needs to be above the device, in with the provider … be this EE, Three, O2, Vodafone, etc.

Who fancies persuading a forward-thinking comms giant?

PS: One company (Parentshield) seems to have a part-offering, the first-timer child version, but there’s still a huge slice of the market unserved. 

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