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The Best Parental Control Apps

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Parenting is difficult as is, but in the age of unfiltered internet access, our jobs have become even more complicated. It is important now more than ever to monitor and regulate our children’s internet and app usage. From vulgar language to hateful comments and pornographic content, it has become so easy to infect children’s devices and eventually their lives. Luckily, there are many parental control apps out there that can help parents monitor the madness and keep their kids safe.

These parental control apps have the ability to put the power back in our hands. Features like app monitoring, call blocking, GPS tracking and screentime limits make it easier for a parent to track and control what their children do.

What do parental control apps actually do?

kids-use-phonesParental control apps serve many different purposes as categorized by their main functions. Some apps simply monitor your child’s mobile activity and give you a rundown of their overall usage. Other apps can track, log, and alert you in various situations (e.g. when your child goes over his/her time limit, when an inappropriate site is accessed, or when inappropriate language is detected within texts/posts/comments). Some apps even give you the ability to control your child’s device from your own device. And let’s not forget GPS tracking in which you get real-time updates of where your child is and where they’ve been.

How do they work?

boy-with-phoneWith most apps, you simply need to download it to both you and your child’s device. From there, you will be able to “mirror” your child’s phone and in some cases, access the content and make changes them.

With hundreds of parental control apps floating around the web, we’ve narrowed things down a bit by taking a few of the most popular apps and dividing them into five categories. Each category has our recommendation of the best app by a number of standards. Enjoy!

Top GPS/Tracking Apps

This category features apps that have the most accurate GPS and tracking feature. Knowing where your children are is never an issue with these apps.

*BEST* Find My Kids

Find My Kids doesn’t have a high rating for nothing! This GPS Watch and Phone Tracker is the best at what it does. With the most accurate geo-location signal, you will find in parental apps, you can rest assured that you will always know where your children are. Another reason Find My Kids stands out from the rest of the pack is that it is available for not just your child’s phone and tablet, but their smartwatches as well. But it isn’t just a tracker. This app is also a parent’s greatest ally. From sound recording to app security, battery control, and even a panic SOS button available to your child, the peace of mind is immeasurable.

Pros:

  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Geo-fencing
  • SOS Panic Button

Cons:

  • Minor issue with device connection

Supported Platforms:

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Most smartwatches

Price: Freemium (Up to $4.00/mo.)

Rating: 4.5

User Experience Via Google Play:

“We just got our 10yr old her first phone because she wants to walk home with her sisters from school and this app is perfect for that piece of mind knowing that you can not only pinpoint there location but track their whereabouts if they’re out with friends.” -Ben and Brooklyn Gibbs

“One of the best, if not the best, out there today! I like the feature where I am able to check at what my child is viewing on her phone.” -Leon Gilbert

Download: iOS, Android

Life360

life360 family locator usa

Pros:

  • Connects with the entire family
  • Connects with local emergency services
  • Real-time, accurate GPS locator

Cons:

  • Many features require purchase
  • Connectivity issues and incorrect tracking info after released updates

Supported Platforms:

  • Android
  • iOS

Price: Freemium (Up to $7.99/mo.)

User Experience Via Google Play:

“As a mother, this is a godsend! I’m in California, and my precious daughter is in NYC away at college. I don’t have to worry if I can’t get a hold of her right away, I simply look at the map and it shows me where she’s at and shows me if she’s walking to school, taking a taxi, etc.” -Sara Carrillo

“I think this app works great. I had the opportunity to use this app in an almost 911 situation and I directed the police W/K9 to the exact location of my child in the woods…” -Michael Pinard

Bottom line: In order for Life 360 to provide its emergency services calling, its GPS tracking would have to be not only accurate, but also reliable. That’s exactly what it is.

Download: https://play.google.com/

The Best Blocked Content Apps

You can never be too safe in the world of online chatting. At any moment, our children can come across mature content and online predators. Certain apps do a great job monitoring inappropriate content online and within text messages.

*BEST* Bark

bark monitoring app usaEven though Bark doesn’t have any limit or blockage settings, the unique feature of detecting harmful language throughout social media and texts messages is a priceless ability to have. When dealing with teens, you can never be too safe, but keeping a respectable distance is also necessary. Therefore, language detection is the perfect middle ground between teens and parents.

Pros:

  • Detects harmful language that may be connected with cyberbullying, sexting and other harmful issues
  • Connect multiple devices
  • Completely free

Cons:

  • Uses quite a bit of data
  • Cannot set blocks or limits

Supported Platforms:

  • Android
  • iOS

Price: Free

User Experience Via Google Play:

“Just wow! Bark has allowed me to have an open and trusting relationship with my teen. Now I have a way to police the content he sees online w/o completely invading his privacy.” -Karen Sticka

“I found the app to be useful for the first few months that we used it. Then last month it used more than a gig of data over a couple of days for one of my kids.” -Jacqueline Landa

Downloadhttps://play.google.com/

Net Nanny Parental Control App

net nanny parental control app usa

Pros:

  • A sophisticated algorithm to filter content
  • App blockage

Cons:

  • Glitchy
  • Poor customer service

Supported Platforms

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Windows
  • Kindle Fire

Price: $59.99 / year + $11 per device

User Experience Via Google Play:

“So far, I love this app. I’m using it as a first-time phone user to my child and making them prove to me that they can be responsible and trusted! I did make him aware it was on his phone as well as what I could see. Although now with all these social media sites I have found that they text through them, so as far as messages go, I don’t really get to see that. So, if that was possible, that would be awesome!!!!” -Donald Lebsack

“it is a good app but it has a problem with removing my mom trying to remove my device it stays connected please fix this zift.” -Josiah Hayden

Bottom line: Net Nanny’s ability to send out instant alerts when a pornographic site or other mature content is found by your child, is remarkable. There’s no need to wait a significant amount of time to find out that your child is up to no good, you can learn instantly and handle the situation within the moment.

Download: https://play.google.com/

Web Watcher Phone Tracker

web watcher parental control app

Pros:

  • Inappropriate language detection
  • Recording capabilities

Cons:

  • Inaccurate GPS location
  • Issues with connectivity

Supported Platforms:

  • Android
  • iOS

Price: Free

Rating: 4.7

User Experience Via Google Play:

“GPS won’t work so obviously ask for updates…” -Curt Henderson

Bottom Line: This app’s connectivity and GPS issues cause it to lose the top spot. Nonetheless, it successfully monitors and blocks inappropriate content.

Download: https://play.google.com

The Best Screentime Control

If it were up to our children, they would an endless number of hours on their devices. As parents, we must step in and ensure they don’t get sucked into phone addiction. The apps in this category are apps with the strongest screentime management feature.

*BEST* Boomerang Parental Control and screentime App

boomerang parental control app

Boomerang is a great app that allows you to smoothly manage your child’s screentime. Giving you detailed information about what apps they use and how frequently, will help you determine what amount of time is right for them.

Pros:

  • Screentime management
  • Call and Text Messaging monitoring
  • Detailed reports on video content

Cons:

  • Allows access to social media sites like Twitter
  • Can’t block hidden apps that will allow access to other web browsers

Supported Platforms:

  • Android
  • iOS

Price: $15.99 per device per year

User Experience Via Google Play:

“So far, it is doing exactly what I need it to do. The best part is, you can manage everything from your parent device.” -Papasmurf

“I love it. Life with teenagers and phones is now way more tolerable. I wish I was able to monitor the messages on Facebook and Instagram though. And I would like to be able to monitor the pictures coming in and being sent.” -LeAundra Jones

Download: https://play.google.com/

ESET Parental Control

eset parental control app usa

Pros:

  • User-friendly
  • Simple Interface
  • Easy to understand features

Cons:

  • Bugs
  • Glitches
  • Low Google Play rating

Supported Platforms:

  • Android
  • iOS

Price: Freemium (up to $29.99 per item)

User Experience Via Google Play:

“This program seems to suit my parental control needs perfectly, but it has an issue: It keeps asking for parental pin out of the blue on my kid’s device (when she tries to user WhatsApp, for example), and I don’t see any option to insert it remotely.” -João Marques

“It’s good. It helps my two children learn and also to teach them to play outside and do other things every day. ?” -Nathan Bouwer

Bottom line: Easy to follow features like screentime management, but has functioning issues.

If you need an app with a screentime management feature, we recommend paying some attention to the Find My Kids app. It also creates reports about child’s screen activity and interests.

Download: https://play.google.com/

The Best Blocked Apps and Calls

Knowing which apps are inappropriate and who our children are communicating with is very important. The following apps are the best when it comes to blocking calls and restricting apps.

*BEST* Qustodio Parental Control

qustodio-parental-control-usaQustodio Parental Control is a basic app with numerous features, but its best feature is the blocked calling feature. With a “Call Expectations” list, you can easily choose which numbers are safe to reach your children.

Pros:

  • *Main Feature* Block calls
  • SOS Alert

Cons:

  • Improper functioning after update
  • Often has inaccurate GPS tracking

Supported Platforms:

  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Kindle

Price: $54.95 / year

User Experience Via Google Play:

“Everything is great BUT the fact that the restricted times can only be set by the hour and nothing in between! This is such a basic feature and their customer service folks said, ‘they can’t’.” -Paul Schiele

“It works so well my teen hates it… the only problem has been it would turn itself off when the battery got low. I got around that by charging the phone every night. new settings options also helped so the battery optimization couldn’t be turned back on.” -Stephen Spangler

Download: https://play.google.com/

Locategy

parental-control-family-gps-tracker-usa

Pros:

  • *Main feature* App locking
  • Geo-Fencing
  • Panic Button
  • Remote Wipe

Cons:

  • The occasional, inaccurate GPS tracking
  • Inability to track child’s incoming calls and texts

Supported Platforms:

  • Android
  • iOS

Price: Freemium (in-app purchases ranging from $2.27 — $119.99 per item)

User Experiences Via Google Play:

“I love how we can keep tabs on our kids but the location seems to wander off to other parts where know my child hasn’t been.” — Sharmin Bashir

“My daughter is safe on the Internet this is the best app have and my daughter can take her chrome, I can make sure she does not stay up too late or anything unsafe I hope you make more websites like this I love this app.” -Anonymous

Bottom line: Locategy isn’t great when it comes to its other features besides app locking. The availability of this feature has allowed Locategy to have a spot on this list.

Download: https://play.google.com/

The Best Apps with Multiple Features

Some apps have a little bit of everything! Here are two of the best apps that have a large selection of unique features.

*BEST* Spyzie

spyze-brSpyzie is an app that has an insane amount of unique features for parents to utilize in their parental control routine. One of the best unique features in this list is keylogging and it is something all parents should consider using. A keylogger is an undetectable feature that allows you to track the keystrokes on your child’s device. This means that anything they type (even if it’s deleted) is tracked and logged for you to review. Keylogging also allows you to take screenshots secretly as well as record audio and video calls.

Pros:

  • Keylogging feature
  • App monitoring
  • GPS Tracking

Cons:

  • No free features
  • Keylogging only available on Android

Supported Platforms:

  • Android
  • iOS (Just the app, keylogging not supported)

Price: Starting at $29.99 / month

Download: https://www.spyzie.com/

Kaspersky Safekids

kaspersky-safekids-parental-control-usa

Pros:

  • GPS Tracking and Geo-fencing (Premium)
  • Mature content detection (Premium)
  • Professional parenting advice

Cons:

  • Features that ought to be free are only available with a paid subscription

Supported Platforms:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • iPhone/iPad
  • Android

Price: Freemium ($14.99/yr)

User Experience via Google Play Reviews:

“This product works very well. I tried out the free version, which has most of the features. Then I signed up for the paid version, $15, to enable some features like begin-and-end time limits (additional to just total minutes per day in the free version).” -Bill Hoag

“I love that my child doesn’t have to use a separate internet portal but I can still block specific content and websites. Works great!” -Susan Leva

Download: https://play.google.com/

Bottom line: Kaspersky SafeKids is a great app that has many different features. The only downside is that most of these features are premium.

The Best Parental Control Apps

mum-with-daughter

Find My Kids Bark Qustodio Spyzie
Best Features Extremely accurate GPS tracking Monitored mature content Calls blocking Keylogging

 

Call monitoring

Platforms Android and iOS Android and iOS Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Kindle Fire Android and iOS
Price Free (with paid premium options) Free $54.95/ year $29.99/month

Now that you have an idea of which apps are our faves and which ones are worth viewing, you are well on your way to regaining control as a parent. Out of these four best apps, we recommend downloading the Find My Kids app above all else. It offers the most necessary and reliable features needed for parental controlling for free, without having to worry about upgrading later. Download the app today and see for yourself!

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Mobile application «Find My Kids»
See your child's movements on the map, listen to what is happening around the phone when you are not near. Send a loud signal if the child doesn't hear a call from you
Download for free on iOS or Android
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