Looking for the best apps for parental control? Here are our top 10 picks for 2022.
XNSPY can record children’s phone screens, follow their GPS location, and view their online history, making it one of the most dependable apps for remotely tracking kids’ smart devices. It monitors popular social networking apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, allowing parents to safeguard kids from phishing schemes, malware, and online abuse.
Parents may quickly watch their children’s social media interactions and study screenshots obtained from multiple messaging applications using XNSPY’s screen recording. This feature safeguards children from cyberbullying, fake news, and phishing/ransomware risks, yet few apps offer it. The user interface is extremely interactive, with each monitoring capability identified. And notifications that are fast and simple to configure. XNSPY concentrates on the simplicity of its crisp user interface, making it extra helpful for beginners.
Also, its Netflix limiter is one of the best on the market. Users can check how much time their kid spends streaming shows and movies by checking the app usage tab and navigating to the app of their choice. It makes it easier to raise digitally responsible kids.
2. Norton Family
Norton Family is one of the best budget parental control apps on the list and put users straight into action. To begin monitoring, navigate to the online dashboard and click Web Monitoring. Then, based on the child’s age, choose a restriction level. These default options control the categories available to your kid and Norton Family’s behavior when they attempt to access a site in that category: Monitor (Low), Warn (Medium), and Block (High). You may modify any of the presets to meet your requirements, or you can choose to monitor, warn, or ban certain people. It is a far more adaptable mechanism for censoring content based on severity.
A Norton Family subscription costs $49.99 a year and includes features such as online blocking, time limits, and location monitoring. The app can upload months’ worth of internet history, making it one of the better child monitoring apps on the market.
3. Kaspersky Safe Kids
Kaspersky Safe Kids is another parental control app that monitors children’s activity on Macs, PCs, and smartphones. And out of this list of the best apps for parental control, it offers the best budget value at just $15 a year for as many smart devices as you like. The program gives its basic version for free that helps parents filter questionable websites, set lime limits on kids’ devices, and block specific apps. Do note that on iOS, you can only block age-restricted apps.
Meanwhile, the premium version builds on top of the free version of the app and adds geolocation monitoring and social media tracking for Android and iOS devices.
But Kaspersky’s enticing pricing comes at a price. Firstly you cannot read your kids’ text messages. Secondly, the mobile apps for Android and iOS have confusing menus, and the UI feels outdated. And lastly and most importantly, the web dashboard is slow and cannot filter websites running on older websites.
Qustodio is one of the more user-friendly parental control apps on the list as it displays all the monitored data in easy-to-follow graphs. The graph allows parents to monitor how much time their children spend on their gadgets. Qustodio will automatically block any website that fits into one of the ten categories. Drugs, gambling, pornography, proxies/loopholes, and violence are some of the tags that the app can detect.
Parents may fine-tune their limitations in 19 additional categories, including file sharing and social networking. The application is available for Windows, macOS, Android, Chromebook, iOS, and Kindle, and it has outstanding cross-platform support. Qustodio offers a free version limited to one device and can only track online browsing activity for one week. It provides premium programs for five, ten, and fifteen days for $54.95, $96.95, and $119.95 respectively.
Qustodio offers a powerful online interface and may be configured independently of all the other settings. It can monitor phone calls and texts sent and received on iOS and Android devices, but its social media-tracking feature can only monitor Facebook which is a major letdown for an otherwise robust child monitoring app.
This kids’ phone spy app is available on iOS and Android devices and gives the choice to parents to decide their actions when kids surf web content that includes harmful topics like drug use and pornography. NetNanny gives parents three options regarding kids’ browsing habits which include allowing, blocking, or receiving alerts. So the app works on content that is tagged as dangerous for kids.
Parents can also set specific timeframes during which they won’t be able to go online. They can also straight-up block websites and apps with a single click and kids won’t be able to access them at all.
NetNanny can track children’s location via their phone’s GPS service and lets parents view their entire location history during a specific period, and also set time limits on their screen use. It makes it easy to safeguard kids by tracking their location whenever needed and setting time limits enables kids to set time for studies.
Bark’s performance and cost are a tad disappointing. In terms of price, Bark’s strength comes with a cost. For $14 per month or $99 per year, the Bark Premium plan covers an unlimited number of devices.
The Bark Junior app is also available for $5 per month or $49 per year, but it only includes the most fundamental parental controls: content filtering, app management, screen time limits, and location monitoring. Geofencing and location history logs are not presented. Parents cannot even view the location immediately on demand. Bark currently feels like hit-or-miss. The software filters information using advanced algorithms that analyze the content data to determine whether it is sexual, damaging, pornographic, violent, or anxiety-inducing.
Hoverwatch is an excellent tool for tracking mobile phone activities remotely for parents who want to maintain control over several devices. Users can engage or disable the monitoring capability at any time from the comfort of their own homes.
Monitoring and remote tracking are among the most dependable features on the market. It works with Android, Windows, and Mac computers. The program is available for free download, but you may only use it for seven days after your membership expires. Customers of Hoverwatch may use the remote smartphone tracker to check communications received via major instant messaging applications such as Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Instagram. One useful aspect of the software is that it allows parents to analyze deleted texts as well. So, even if your daughter inadvertently deleted all of her WhatsApp texts, you may still view them.
8. KidsGuard Pro
KidsGuard Pro functions as a true spy program, granting parents access to their children’s Android or iOS smartphones’ call records, messages, videos, images, contacts, and browsing history. However, without a password, the app cannot access email. The program also allows parents to remotely record phone calls, grab the screen of their children’s phones, and take images using their children’s phone cameras. All of these capabilities contribute to the spy factor, making KidsGuard Pro a solid solution for worried parents who wish to keep an eye on their children.
KidsGuard Pro costs $29 per month, but an annual membership of $99 reduces the cost to $8 per month.
Geofencing, GPS position monitoring, and a location history record are all features of this app’s geolocation tracker, including a Wi-Fi tracker. It makes it a great companion app for kids traveling abroad or going on a vacation.
9. Google Family Link
Google Family Link is the only completely free option among all the child monitoring apps featured on this list. And its simple yet robust performance makes it a stellar option for worried parents. The program allows parents to customize the app permissions on an Android phone. None of the other best apps for parental control allow this much control over app permissions and parents can use Android and iOS devices to control their kids’ phone apps. By enabling this level of access, parents can decide which app can get downloaded and installed on a kid’s phone.
One drawback of the app is that it doesn’t support iOS apps available on the App Store and its web filter isn’t the most reliable as it can only filter websites tagged as mature. And sometimes Google Link fails to block mature websites too.
And rounding off the list is Boomerang. The app is best suited for younger children who have just received their first smartphone and are learning how to use it properly. Boomerang truly shines when it comes to managing screen time. You may suspend all activity on your child’s phone remotely anytime and also plan automatic shutdowns for specified periods, such as bedtime or during school hours. I liked how you may control activity by the app, for instance, encouraging your child to utilize instructional applications while restricting their usage of other apps.
But my recommendation for this parental control app has a significant flaw: most of Boomerang’s capabilities are only available on Android smartphones. It does not include social media or email surveillance but it does provide a secure online browser and allows parents to restrict apps entirely. Another drawback of the app is that it takes extremely long to set up and navigating the menus can be confusing for newbies.