Starting today, Vodafone will offer a pay-as-you-go service called Bemilo that allows granular control of a child's mobile phone using a special SIM card that can be used in any phone or tablet. Parents can use a web interface to control and schedule phone functionality, including the ability to read all text messages sent through the service — even the deleted ones. Children can even "vet" their friends for parental approval, though parents ultimately have complete control over all contacts within the system.

Bemilo is not only intended to curtail phone distraction but also more unsavory aspects of childhood mobile phone usage like bullying and "sexting." It has the ability to filter pornographic websites, though we wonder whether this applies to Wi-Fi connections as well as 3G connections controlled by the SIM. The service is available today starting at £3.95, or just over $6 a month.