The internet might be full of fun memes and adorable cat videos, but it is full of real threats too. Thankfully, there is a parental control app out there for every concerned parent who wants to shield their child from explicit and inappropriate online content.
Listed below are some of the best parental control services on the market. You would also learn how to choose the most suitable app for your family.
What Is a Parental Control App?
Parental controls can help you keep your family’s online activities safe, fun, and productive. Most tools, if not all, on the market will let you block websites and set online search filters. These features can limit browsing activities and ensure age-appropriate content. These apps often have real-time alerts and reports that notify you whenever someone is trying to access content they aren’t supposed to.
Some applications also allow you to set screen time limits per day or per device. This is one way of preventing your child from getting too addicted to games and social networks. It can help keep them focused and productive, especially during school nights.
Some apps even have real-time trackers that allow you to keep track of their whereabouts when they are out and about. This can be very useful for teenagers. You can give them some freedom and still have peace of mind.
The 5 Best Parental Control Apps
There’s a myriad of apps and tools that can help you limit and monitor your child’s internet usage. Some of the best on the market are listed below.
Bark claims to have the largest coverage of any parental control tool. It can monitor more than 30 social media platforms, apps, as well as emails and text messages. It also has web filtering and screen time management features that keep internet content age-appropriate.
Best of all, Bark sends you automatic alerts whenever it detects potential concerns. It ensures that you are well-equipped not only with the tools but also with the know-how for monitoring your child’s internet usage without being intrusive.
- Has parental alerts
- 24/7 detection
- Compatible with iOS and Android
- A little pricey
Available for free, Qustodio is one of the most powerful applications for supervising your children online. You can monitor all your kids’ devices, apps, and web browsers from a single dashboard. You can also sit filter their online experience to protect them from inappropriate content and cyber threats.
Qustodio is arguably the best parental control app for Android users, as it comes with a panic button, which your kid can press whenever they are in trouble. The app itself supports iOS and Android, but its SOS button can be used only on Android. The same goes for its call and SMS trackers.
Most apps won’t let you monitor call and SMS data. Qustodio is one of the few options that enable you to do so.
- Has a family locator
- Blocks games and apps
- Comprehensive 30-day reports
- Features aren’t available on all operating systems
3. Net Nanny
Powered by artificial intelligence, Net Nanny can block harmful content before it ends up on your child’s screen. It comes with social media protection and controls. It claims to be the only software that can disable inappropriate content on popular social media networks, such as TikTok and Instagram.
Net Nanny also has a location tracker, which can track your kid’s mobile device in real-time. You would have peace of mind, knowing where they are.
- Delivers instant reports on online searches
- Sends real-time alerts on harmful content
- Has a location tracker
- Advanced features are expensive
Another parental control app that is worth looking into is Kaspersky Safe Kids. You can control screen time by device, block inappropriate YouTube search requests, and manage applications.
Perhaps, the best feature of Kaspersky Safe Kids is that it lets you set a safe zone for your kids to stay in. The moment your kid steps out of that area, you’d be notified. You can use a GPS tracker to locate your child’s whereabouts and keep them safe.
- Compatible with mobile, PC, and MAC
- Has a battery tracker
- Has a free version
- Free version has very limited features
Norton Family, an award-winning parental control service, gives you all the tools and information you need to keep your child safe. You would see what your kids are doing on their mobile devices and computers. You’d also be notified whenever your child attempts to access blocked content and websites.
Using Norton Family’s detailed reports, you can educate and encourage safe online habits. The app can monitor online activities on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.
- Has a 30-day free trial
- Supports screen time supervision
- Can monitor online activities on most popular browsers
- Features may vary per platform
Key Features to Look for in a Parental Control
Each app comes with a unique suite of tools that enable you to manage and monitor your child’s internet activity. You can keep your kids safe on the internet with the following key features.
App monitoring and blocking
If you’re worried about social media and other messaging services, get parental control services with app monitoring and blocking features. Some of these tools will prevent your kids from installing new apps until you approve them, while others will let you list the apps that you approve of.
A good parental control app lets you keep your kids from accessing inappropriate content and dangerous websites. Some apps will instruct you to block other browsers and recommend a proprietary one, which is able to prevent access to banned websites that promote violence, pornography, file sharing, and more.
Screen time limits
No matter how safe the media activities are, excessive screen time won’t do anyone any good. It can lead to inconsistent sleeping patterns, headaches, and many other negative effects on your child’s development.
Thus, look for screen time management features when you’re choosing a parental control program. You’d be able to set daily time limits and encourage productive screen time.
Do Parental Controls Undermine Trust?
Parental controls might sound a bit intrusive, but monitoring your family’s online activities is for their safety. It isn’t necessarily spying, as long as you build trust and create agreements before subjecting your children, especially teenagers, to any parental control service.
Before implementing parental controls, you must explain why it is necessary. Make sure that your children understand that you aren’t there to spy on them but to keep them safe. More importantly, you must establish boundaries and respect them. Otherwise, they’ll find different ways to go around your restrictions.
Best Parental Control App — FAQs
Are parental control apps safe?
Parental control programs are safe, effective, and hassle-free. Built for busy parents, these apps allow you to monitor your child’s internet usage while on-the-go.
Is there an app to control your child’s phone?
Yes. There are parental control programs that enable you to manage your child’s internet activities across various devices, including their smartphone.
How do I monitor my child’s iPhone?
If you’re looking for the best parental control app for iPhone devices, you have different options, including Norton Family, Net Nanny, and Bark.