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Best Parental Control Software

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Best Parental Control Software

Parental care is vital to a child's well-being, and every parent wants to do the best for their kids. But in this day and age of technology, smart devices, and the Internet, kids can easily access both good and bad content. So when it comes to smartphone and tablet safety, the main concern is keeping kids away from bad things on the Internet. If you aren’t sure that content is being filtered, if you want to keep tabs on who your kids are texting, or if you need to limit the amount of time your kids spend glued to their screens, we recommend using parental control software that will let you monitor and supervise your kids’ activities on all of their devices from one place.

As the world goes digital, young people spend most of their time on mobile phones and laptops. A majority of them play online games, send texts, and watch videos without adult supervision. Parents need to guard their children against harmful online content, and parental control software can help you do that.

Several studies have demonstrated the damaging effects of the Internet on children's growth and minds. Parental supervision is thus essential when kids are using different apps. Gaming, and especially smartphone and tablet addiction, can seriously disrupt the development of children, and especially teenagers. The parental control software can curb the use of smart devices significantly through substantial control over them.

Children need to be protected online and on the playground today. Unfortunately, there are several cybercrimes targeting youngsters, such as cyberbullying, online predators, and other types of cybercrime. While you should keep open lines of communication between you and your child, parental control software is working 24/7 to remain vigilant against the next cyber threat.

With parental control software available for your smartphone, tablet, laptop, and even Kindle, you can keep an eye on how your children use their devices when you aren't around. Google Family Time and Apple Screen Time both offer basic parental controls, but the requirement limits both that all the family members must use the same operating system.

Here are our top picks for the best overall parental control software options to install on your kids’ devices, plus a few extra recommendations for specific types of monitoring.

Best Parental Control Software

1. OurPact

OurPact works on both Android and iOS devices. Besides blocking apps, websites, and texts, it allows you to track location, geo-fence, and set time limits for certain apps. A free version of the app is available, but its functionality is minimal, and it can only be used on one device.

ourpact-parental-control-software

With Smart Parenting, parents can view their children's locations, receive alerts when their children enter or leave designated zones, block websites, apps, or texts, set a schedule for screen time, and set a daily viewing allowance. Despite being unable to monitor each child's online activity, it helps parents set limits on cell phones and ensure their kids are safe while exploring the web.

Price: Free to $99.99/year (3 Paid Tiers)

2. Kaspersky Safe Kids

With Kaspersky Safe Kids, you can keep an eye on your kids' activities on their PCs, Macs, and smartphones. In addition to its extensive features for parental control, it offers app blocking, geofencing (location monitoring), web filtering, and time management. The app has a large number of alert features. For example, you can set safe zones on a map and receive instant notifications when your child steps outside them. In addition, as soon as your child's battery is low, the battery monitor will notify you so you can remind them of the plugin.

ourpact-parental-control-software

The downside of Kaspersky is that it has fewer controls over some of these areas than competitors, lacks browser-independent web-filtering, and provides no extra safety to deal with emergencies. Kaspersky's location tracking, geofencing, web monitoring, and device schedules are compatible with iOS and Android. However, on iOS, apps cannot be managed as well, and it will not allow you to monitor calls or texts at all.

Price: Free to $12/year (1 Paid Tier)

3. Net Nanny

In terms of trustworthiness and features, Net Nanny is one of the most comprehensive parental control software available. In addition to watching over digital habits, Net Nanny protects your children from harmful content. You can limit the amount of time your children spend on screens and prevent them from accessing inappropriate media. While it has a solid reputation, setup can be a hassle, and it costs a bit more than some other options.

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Each search your kids make will be detailed for you. Moreover, you will be alerted to any content related to pornography, suicide, weapons, or drugs in real-time. If necessary, you can block websites and apps your child shouldn't use or set specific times when they can access the Internet. With Net Nanny, the only things that cannot be monitored are calls and texts.

Price: Free to $119.99/year (2 Paid Tiers)

4. Qustodio

Qustodio's software is available for Mac, PC, Amazon Fire tablets, iOS, and Android devices. The process of installing Qustodio is simple. Parents can download the app on their phone or utilize a computer to open an account, then download the app on the child's device. Getting your child protected from harmful content is instantaneous with Qustodio's filtering technology. It is also possible to block specific websites such as social networks and gaming websites. By setting schedules or daily limits, Qustodio also helps parents determine appropriate screen time limits for their children.

qustodio-parental-control-software

Panic Button, which Qustodio provides as part of its location tracking service, is a nice touch. Teens who are out late at night on their own and might find themselves in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation could benefit from this feature. It's compatible with the Amazon Kindle, so you can protect that device. A family with a large number of devices, however, will find the pricing plan to be very expensive.

Price: Free to $137.95/year (3 Paid Tiers)

5. Norton Family Premier

Norton Family Premier parental control software specifically focuses on monitoring your children’s phone activity. You can monitor your children’s activities through an online portal or from the parent mobile app.

After creating an account, you can add an unlimited number of child profiles with default settings and “house rules” that apply to each profile based on the user’s birth year. From the parent dashboard, you can see reports on your child’s online activity and how their time online is spent. You can also adjust user settings and website filtering categories.

Norton Family Premier has all the parental control features you expect, plus a few extras that helped it earn the number-one spot on this list. Because each type of computer and mobile device has different specifications, not all features will work on every device. The only feature that’s lacking on all devices is phone call supervision, so you’ll have to check your child’s call history and contact list separately if that’s a concern for you.

Price: Free to $49.99 per year for 10 devices.

6. Mobicip

Mobicip Premium is a good option for parents who want just the basic parental controls. 

If your family uses many different types of devices, Mobicip Premium may be the filtering service for you. The biggest advantage of Mobicip is its wide range of device compatibility, including Android (including Kindle and Nook), iOS, Windows PC, Mac OS, and Chromebook. That’s more than any other software I looked at, including the other top picks on this list.

Mobicip Premium includes the basic parental control features but focuses mainly on online filtering and monitoring without many additional features of other products on this list.

As you set up the user profiles for your family members, select one of four filtering levels: Strict, Moderate, Mature, or Monitor. As with other parental control software, kids can request access to blocked websites, and you can adjust the settings as needed. The Monitor level gives the user unrestricted internet access but records and reports all usage, so you can give your kids some accountability for their online behavior. You have the option of managing your kids’ profiles online or from a mobile app, which is extremely useful for parents who are not at home with the kids all day.

Price: Free to $39.99 per year for 5 devices.

7. Fenced.AI

Designed for parents who want to keep track of their kids effortlessly and efficiently, Fenecd.ai is among the most comprehensive monitoring apps on the market. In addition to fully integrated GPS location tracking (which is provided), Fenced.AI's unique features make monitoring a breeze. For example, it offers a social network monitoring tool, a way to view messages from your child and track where your child is. This powerful app can also be used to filter websites containing potentially harmful content. Similarly, you can set time limits on each device to limit access to games and apps that may be inappropriate for your child.

fenced-ai-parental-control-software

You can monitor your children's usage of their devices through its intuitive online dashboard, making it easy to keep an eye on their behavior. Unlike most parental control software, Fenced.AI can track the activity on more social media platforms (including YouTube, Gmail, Snapchat, etc.), and it works in incognito mode too. It's easy to set up and perform exceptionally well, monitor Google accounts, and give detailed reports in notifications.

Price: Free to $99.99/year (2 Paid Tiers)

8. Boomerang Parental Control 

Boomerang automatically includes safe search when your child is using its proprietary browser. In addition, you can monitor YouTube activity and search history. When installed, it can block any new apps your child tries to download until you explicitly approve them, and encourage usage of always-approved apps.

Parents may set a daily time allocation and a schedule for when usage is allowed – including a bedtime shutoff time. You may also set ad hoc time outs that disable all device features except emergency calling until parental approval is granted.

Unlike many location-tracking programs, Boomerang lets you to create custom-drawn geofence limits and then receive a notification if your child violates the boundaries you set up.

Call and text tracking can be less invasive – Boomerang lets you choose select conversations or words to monitor on Android devices, or to collect a total SMS history. You can also select who your child can and can’t communicate with. It is mobile-only, so any protections you set up don’t extend to desktop computers.

Price: Free to $30.99/year 

Parental Control Software Comparison Chart

Feature Fenced.AI OurPact Kaspersky Safe Kids Net Nanny Qustodio
Platforms Android iOS, Android iOS, Mac, Android, Windows iOS, Mac, Android, Windows iOS, Mac, Android, Windows, Kindle
Web Portal for Parents  x  x  x  x  x
Content Filtering  x  x  x  x  x
Site Blocking  x  x  x  x  x
Emergency Assistance  x        x
Geofencing  x  x  x    
Social Network Supervision  x    x    x
Location History  x        x
Call/Text Monitoring  x  x  x  x  x

Parents need parental control software in order to monitor, restrict, and manage what their kids do on their electronics. Even though software aren't always 100% foolproof, they are a valuable tool for parents to better understand what their kids are doing online. While there are many parental control software to choose from, it can be a bit daunting to find the best one since they all offer something slightly different.

However, it is essential to mention that parental control software can be pretty helpful, but the best thing parents can do is talk to their children about the dangers and proper ways to use the Internet. By doing so, they will be much more likely to understand and accept software on their device.

How to Choose a Good Parental Control Software

If the web were as kid-friendly as it should be, it would be a great place. Unfortunately, this is far from reality, and it's not always practical to be online when your children are, and having a busy schedule makes it difficult to always be there while your children are on the Internet. A parental control app can help here – by blocking or permitting access to specific sites with unacceptable content.

The good parental control software can keep your kids protected when you're not around, no matter if they are completing a school project, chatting with friends, or just enjoying all that the web has to offer. For iOS and Android, parental control apps typically require an annual subscription fee based on the number of devices to cover. As a result, the fee for this service can range anywhere from $10 to $100.

Most decent apps permit parents to set limits on screen time, send an activity report showing which apps are the most popular, and block or delete distracting or sketchy apps. Having a good family app depends on nuances related to your household.

While older kids might not need to be filtered on the Internet or monitored closely by their parents, younger kids who don't text or travel by themselves could use a geo-fence and need parental approval for apps they attempt to download.

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