You may also want to create a news alert for the software you choose, to help keep an eye out for any new vulnerabilities or workarounds. Some software can be bypassed with phone resets, customer service requests, and other tricks that you should know about. Share on Facebook Tweet this Share.
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If your kids are strictly smartphone users, take a look at our roundup of mobile parental control apps. If getting parental control coverage installed on each of your family's devices starts to seem too difficult, consider a whole-network solution, such as Circle With Disney or Open DNS.
These systems perform content filtering at the router level, so your settings affect every device on the network. Naturally, you don't get the same fine level of control and detailed monitoring that you get with a local agent on each device, but this is a much broader solution. At the very least, a good parental control tool features content filtering—the ability to block access to websites matching categories such as hate, violence, and porn. This type of filtering only really works if it's browser-independent and works with secure HTTPS sites. With no HTTPS filtering, a smart teen could bypass the system using a secure anonymizing proxy website or even a different web browser in some cases.
Most also have the option to permanently enable SafeSearch. Of course, the most capable solutions also keep a detailed log of your child's web activity. Access scheduling is another very common feature. Some applications let parents set a weekly schedule for device usage, some control internet use in general, and others offer a combination of the two. A daily or weekly cap on internet usage can also be handy, especially if it applies to all your kids' devices.
The best services apply these two ideas to individual desktop and mobile applications as well. Qustodio, for example, can block apps entirely and set time usage limits.
Here are the best parental controls for managing apps, filtering websites and logging activities
This is particularly useful for children who have a habit of playing games or using social media apps when they should be doing homework. As kids get older, content filtering may start to seem pointless. Hey, you let them watch Game of Thrones , right? At some point, you start to worry more about their interaction with the wider world. Sure, if their friends come over in person, you can at least meet them, but what about friends on social media and other contacts your child never mentions?
Who are they, really, and what are your kids discussing with them? Although some supervision is acceptable, you still need to respect your child's basic right to privacy and encourage open discussion, rather than using parental control software as spyware.
Why Parents Think FamilyTime is Best
Many services let you monitor contacts and messages and keep an eye out for potentially dangerous or unsanctioned situations. You can even block new contacts or view message content with some parental control software. Keep in mind that this primarily applies to SMS texts; messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Snapchat typically do not fall under the same scope. Social media tracking can also provide a glimpse into your child's social life, though many services now only monitor Facebook.
Access scheduling is another very common feature. Block inappropriate web sources. You can create exceptions for specific apps, like Messages or education apps, and kids can always request more time for you to approve. Why Use Them? Parents love them.
This kind of oversight usually requires that you either know your child's login credentials or convince them to log in and install the tracker's app. Disabling this kind of data collection is a snap for the child, so here, more than ever, you need to be on the same page. Most kids are on mobile devices at least some of the time, and many are almost exclusively accessing the internet on their phones.
Fortunately, many parental control services offer a companion app that lets you view your child's activity, set basic rules, and view notifications as they arrive—NetNanny is a particularly noteworthy example. This kind of companion app is particularly useful for responding to access or time-extension requests on the go.
Otherwise, you manage everything online, where you have fine control over activity reports and restrictions. Any changes you make should propagate to your children's devices when they connect to the internet. When your child tries to visit a blocked site, makes a post using iffy language, or otherwise bends the rules it sends you a notification to your preferred channel, such as via the app, web, email, text, or some combination of those options.
When you get beyond the basics, parental control systems start to diverge, with many advanced features to help them stand out from the crowd. Among these standout features are the ability to track your child's YouTube and Hulu viewing history, check your child's location, or even remotely lock down a device to force them to divert their attention. You'll also find advanced versions of standard features.
For example, the best content filters don't just use a database of categories. They analyze page content in real time so that, for example, they can allow access to a short-story site but block the erotica. In order to make an informed choice for your own family, check out our full reviews of these parental control solutions. If you have any suggestions for software to try or just want to sound off about a particularly positive or negative experience, please add your comments and join the discussion.
Pros: Cross-platform support. Time scheduler for internet, device, and application usage. Location tracking. Cons: Expensive. Social monitoring only tracks Facebook. Dated web portal.
Some iOS limitations. Pros: Supports Windows, Mac, Android. Web-based configuration and reporting. Powerful filtering. Cross-platform internet time allowance. App control for Android. Cons: No new updates. No location tracking. Lacks advanced time management control. Limited iOS features. Pros: Affordable. Excellent web dashboard. Settings apply across all devices.
No limit on number of PC, phones, tablets, or children protected. Tracks child's location. Cons: Does not work on Macs. No Free version anymore. Web extension is easily disabled. Read our full Kaspersky Safe Kids review. Qustodio has software for Macs, PCs. This service's limited location tracking works on both iOS and Android, although there's no geofencing option.
You can manage only a few dozen apps on iOS, as opposed to all Android apps.
Best Parental Control Apps 12222
Web filtering is more powerful on iOS, while monitoring texts and calls works on only Android. Read our full Qustodio review. Once the most powerful parental-control app for iPhones, OurPact was hobbled by an Apple rule change in late that nixed the service's geofencing, location tracking and time allowances on iOS. At its peak, OurPact was the only parental-control app we tested that could manage or block any iOS app. It can still do so for Android devices. OurPact also gets kids involved in managing the daily allowance of screen time that you give them, and it does a good job of scheduling.
Yet, its website filtering simply blocks porn, and it can't monitor calls or texts at all, even on Android. However, you can block messaging apps, and OurPact remains a joy to use. Read our full OurPact review. Screen Time does an excellent job of managing and scheduling kids' device access. Unfortunately, this app doesn't do a whole lot else on iOS devices. And it has baffling upcharges for location tracking and web filters, both of which come standard with other parental-control apps.
We liked how this service doles out additional screen time for chores or good deeds. But you can't block apps on iOS, and there's no geofencing or call or text monitoring at all. Read our full Screen Time review.
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ESET Parental Control for Android sticks to one platform, but it doesn't shine even there, lacking text-message- and call-monitoring features. The free app management and time management do work well, as do the paid location tracking and geofencing. That's because Kaspersky Safe Kids does more at half the price. MMGuardian has nearly every parental-control feature you might want, especially on Android, but the user interfaces are outdated and frustrating.
Both the iOS and Android apps offer location tracking and excellent web filtering. App management is strong on Android but primitive on iOS. On Android, the parent can read every text and block any number. Time management and screen-time scheduling are also Android-only. Read our full MMGuardian review. Evaluation Criteria We focused on apps that emphasize proactively setting up filters and limits before your child uses the phone rather than merely tracking activities after the fact.
We took the following criteria into account:.
What is mspy?
mSpy is a global leader in monitoring solutions dedicated to satisfying end-user needs for security, safety and convenience.How it works
Use the full power of mobile tracking software
Get the full access to chats and messengers of a tracked device.
Contact us 24/7
Our dedicated support team can be reached via email, chat or phone.
Store your data
Securely store, backup and export your data.
Monitor multiple devices
You can simultaneously monitor smartphones (Android, iOS) and computers (Mac, Windows).
24/7 global customer support
mSpy treasures every its client and pays much attention to its customer service 24/7.
95% customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is the highest priority for mSpy. 95% of mSpy clients declared to be satisfied and ready to reorder our services.
mSpy makes customers happy
Once I’ve tried mSpy, it has become an invaluable part of my life as a parent. It lets me be updated with what my kids are doing - this way I’m sure that they’re ok. I also like that I can adjust settings, deciding which contacts, sites or apps to block or allow.
mSpy is a nice app that helps me take full charge of my child’s internet activity. I can also block any suspicious contacts, if such occur. A nice choice for modern parents.
Safeguarding kids is of key importance for every parent. And mSpy helps me keep an eye on my daughter when I cannot be close to her. I highly recommend it!
My son is on his phones 24/7, and sometimes I just need to check that he is not doing anything bad. mSpy lets me be updated with everything he handles with on a regular basis.
I’ve looked for a nice app to keep an eye on my kids when I am not around. And a friend of mine recommended me mSpy. I like it! It helps me guardian my children in the stormy sea of internet.
The app is ostensibly intended for legal monitoring use, and there are certainly legitimate reasons to install the software. Companies, for instance, could inform their employees that they’re surveilling company phones for security purposes