Can I Block a Number From Texting My Kids' Cell Phone Without Them Knowing?
By Aaron Charles
Updated August 29, 2017
Depending on your service provider, blocking a number from texting your kids' phones could be almost as simple as paying your cellphone bill online. Where it gets a little trickier, though, is in preventing your kids from knowing that you've put that block in place. However, it is possible under the right circumstances.
Major cellphone service providers, including Sprint, AT&T, Virgin Mobile and Verizon, provide ways for you to manage your cellphone plan via an online account. And through those accounts, you may be able to block calls and messages from specific numbers to any phone that's on your plan. Much depends on your provider's current policies. For example, Mobile-T lets you block text messages from certain numbers through its Parental Blocking feature.
Keeping the Secret
Your ability to keep the block secret depends somewhat on how you need to set the block. For instance, if you have to block calls and texts using the settings on the phone itself, your child could discover that you've changed something by looking at the blocked calls list themselves. Also, check to see how extensive a block is with your service provider. For example, if you have Verizon and opt for its FamilyBase phone management plan, blocking a number from texting your kids via that plan also prevents your kids from texting that number. So if all of a sudden your kids realize that they can't text that number when formerly they could, that might reveal what you've done.
Other Blocking Details
Check with your provider to see if there's a time limit on the block. If you are using Verizon's Usage Controls feature, for example, rather than its FamilyBase plan, you are limited to five blocked numbers, which expire after 90 days. Cost, if any, also varies. While some providers offer plans to enable blocking on family members' phones for free, others may charge a nominal fee for the service.
If you really want to be thorough in blocking someone from reaching your kids via text messages, also consider the fact that someone can send your kids texts via email, and not a phone number. This is generally referred to as email-to-text messaging. For example, if you use AT&T, your child's email-to-text address is "firstname.lastname@example.org." To prevent someone from email-to-texting your kids, then, you'll need to block the email address that would be sending the messages.
Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."