With the help of tablets, phones, and computers, many children have access to the entire internet from an early age. Unfortunately, there are also worrying and potentially harmful apps, websites, and interactions online that go along with the instructive, useful, and enjoyable information. Parents can now keep an eye on and limit what their kids may do with their devices, thanks to parental control apps.
Parental control applications allow parents to monitor what their children are doing on their devices wherever they go, unlike parental control routers that only let parents restrict which websites their children can access while using the home wifi network. The top parental control applications may give parents peace of mind whether their child is at home, school, or anywhere else. These features include location tracking, call and text message monitoring, and real-time notifications.
We know that the massive number of available apps can overwhelm parents in choosing the ideal one for their family. To assist you in limiting your selections, we investigated and ranked some of the top parental control apps available.
Although Norton Family doesn’t operate on Macs and its iOS app depends on Apple’s free Screen Time feature to filter and track, it makes it simple for parents to keep tabs on their kids’ online activity across several devices.
Instead of merely monitoring their children’s online behavior, Norton Family advises parents to talk to their kids about internet safety. You can monitor your children’s online and offline activities using Norton Family’s parent option on the mobile app, which has a parent option that can handle an infinite number of devices. We adore how inexpensive, simple, and useful the program’s geofencing tools are.
Circle Home Plus, a parental control device, has strong options for monitoring your home network and safeguarding your kids’ smartphones and tablets, but it is vulnerable to hacks and its reporting functions aren’t as powerful as those of rivals. Circle’s hardware and software combination is simple to set up and reliable.Both Android and iOS devices can be monitored in addition to the devices on your home network.
Circle Home Plus is by no means a cheap alternative, but it can offer excellent value for big families with lots of kids who utilize internet-connected devices. With a single subscription, parents can manage screen time restrictions for each child and keep an eye on an unlimited number of devices.
Mobicip provides you with the essential tools you need to keep an eye on your kids’ app and web usage, but it falls short due to the absence of sophisticated time- and location-tracking options. Mobicip provides three extremely reasonable subscription pricing options along with a great selection of parental control tools. Children’s locations can be tracked, YouTube videos may be watched and parents can set screen time limitations.
Do you want to monitor the people your child interacts with on specific social networking apps? Mobicip makes that possible as one of the better parental control systems we’ve reviewed that still offers social media monitoring. You can access this feature by purchasing a Premium plan subscription.
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The parental control tool from Locategy for Android and iOS keeps tabs on your child’s whereabouts and activities, but neither platform is supported, and no social media tracking of any type is available.
Parenting is made more accessible by Locategy’s geofencing features, app banning, activity logs, and simple setup. Even though Norton Family, our Editors’ Choice pick, has more features, Locategy is still a useful tool for monitoring your children’s activities.
Locategy is a good choice if your main goal is to regulate your child’s screen time or keep track of their location.
Qustodio, a parental control program, is a simple-to-use tool for monitoring your child’s behavior, but it’s pricey and needs sideloading for a crucial feature to function. Almost every function a worried parent might need is available in Qustodio, including robust app blocking, web content filtering, and in-depth activity record.
Qustodio’s user-friendly and appealing online dashboard or the parental mode of its mobile apps lets you manage all settings and monitoring, allowing you to create rules and watch your child’s activity from any location.
One of the more expensive alternatives for parental control software that we’ve tested is Qustodio.
Though Net Nanny is reasonably priced and has good screen time and app restriction tools, its geofencing capabilities are still not up to par.
The most recent version of Net Nanny, which originally served as a web filtering service for parents, comes with powerful tools for managing screen time, location tracking, and YouTube and social media monitoring.
The complete Net Nanny Family Feed, which displays their activities in real-time, is available to parents who wish to keep an eye on what their kids are doing online. It also provides some social media safety when it comes to keeping an eye on kid-related activities on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Tumblr.
The days of keeping your kids safe and productive on the family computer with only one parental control application are long gone. Parental control systems must adapt to modern youngsters’ various internet-connected devices.
Make sure a parental control tool supports all the device kinds in your home before deciding on one. While all of the products in this roundup are compatible with Windows and Android, not all are with macOS and iOS. With the benefit of first-party support, Apple’s Screen Time features for iOS, iPad, and macOS are fairly strong. Additionally, both Microsoft and Google provide first-party parental management solutions. Before spending money on a third-party service, you should think about using these free first-party solutions.
Be aware that some parental control tools use VPN technology to block material by routing internet connections through a local app. When such software runs, the VPN icon will be present, but this does not imply that a virtual private network fully protects the child’s connection or that the device’s IP address is hidden.
Additionally, make sure any restrictions on the number of child profiles or devices won’t be an issue. For instance, large families would value that Norton Family supports an infinite number of devices. However, some parental control software offers free versions for essential protection on a constrained number of devices—most parental control software functions as a subscription service. Therefore, pricing tiers tend to correlate with device limits. If your kids exclusively use smartphones, look at our collection of mobile parental control applications.
If setting up parental control protection on your family’s devices seems too complicated, think about a whole-network solution like Circle Home Plus. Your settings impact every device connected to the network because these systems carry out content filtering at the router level. This is a far more comprehensive approach, though you don’t get the same reasonable control and thorough monitoring you get with a local agent on each device.
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Consider your options carefully for your family by reading our in-depth reviews of these parental control programs. Many offer free trials, which you should take advantage of before investing time and money.
Parental control solutions start to diverge once you move past the fundamentals, and several cutting-edge features help them stand out from the competition. YouTube monitoring, geofencing, and remote device lockout are a few of these notable features. Microsoft’s Family Safety software monitors your teenagers while behind the wheel. Additionally, there are upgraded versions of standard functionality.
The best content filters employ more than just a category database. They examine the text on the page, remove bad words, and let you add your unique keywords and categories that you want to ban. We also like systems that provide multi-factor logins for accounts.
In general, you should expect to spend more for more high-end features.