Security, Organization, Fun: The Best Family Apps
If you have trouble managing all the duties and expectations of family life, welcome to the club. Our lives seem so packed full of events, appointments and endless communication that it can be hard to keep track of everything. Happily, technology has come to the rescue in the form of these handy family apps, ready to help you in every aspect of life.
Today we’ll be looking at how you can use these apps for the organization, security, and entertainment of your loved ones. Read on to find out our top picks for you!
- Parental Control & Family Safety Apps
- Best Family Organizer Apps
- Best Family Finance Apps
- Best Family Game Apps
- Wrapping Up
Parental Control & Family Safety Apps
For every parent, the safety of their children is concern número uno. But that requires knowing what is going on: where your kids are at the moment and where they’re headed next, what activities have been attracting their interest, whose company they have been in. No self-respecting parent can feel quite at ease not knowing all this.
The question then becomes not if a parent should try and find out what their kids are up to, but how to go about it while minimizing conflict and not intruding too much in their children’s privacy. Well, that’s exactly what parental control and tracking apps are here for. Let’s take a look at some of the best.
Find My Kids
Find My Kids is possibly the best option for tracking and taking care of your children. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices, besides being compatible with GPS tracking watches.
A market leader in the field of parental control, Find My Kids is popular because it understands your needs. It helps you care for your children and ensures your peace of mind. Install it and you’ll see just how much the app’s creators are invested in the well-being of families, joining a simple and smooth design with all the right functions you’re looking for.
Below you can find some of the main functions that make this app a great choice if you’re looking to protect your child. It’s also worth noting they have a very responsive support team, available 24/7 to help you with any questions you may have.
- GPS locator: track your child’s movements and access a history of recently visited locations;
- Geofencing: set up safe or unsafe zones in the map and get notified every time your child enters or exits one of them;
- Loud signal: if your child isn’t answering the phone, send them a loud signal that will be heard even if their phone is set to silent;
- Live listening (Android only): listen in to the sounds in your child’s surroundings for up to twenty seconds at a time;
- Application control: see which apps your child has been using, at what time and for how long;
- Battery control: monitor the status of the battery in your child’s phone;
- Family chat: an inbuilt chat that allows you to communicate directly with the child, without needing to compete with all the other chats happening on WhatsApp, Messenger or other popular live communication apps;
- SOS alert: if in danger, the child can press a button that will immediately play a loud signal on your own phone and show you their location on the map.
Although it’s also a tracking application, FamilyTime’s focus is on monitoring your child’s digital activity. To that end, it features several ways of limiting and supervising everything that goes on in your kid’s tablet or mobile device, both Android and iOS.
- Daily app limit: set daily usage limits for the different apps in your child’s phone, for example preventing them from playing too much a particular game;
- Screen time scheduling: schedule at what time your children can access their devices; you can set their phones to lock during “family time” and unlock again for their own “me time”;
- Usage data: see how much time your child has been spending on each app;
- SafeSearch and Internet filters: filter off any content you don’t want your kids to see and activate Safe Search to make sure no adult or inappropriate content pops onto their screens;
- App blocker: block all apps with this feature;
- Location tracker: monitor your child’s location in real time;
- SOS: with the press of a button, your child can send you an SOS message with their current location on the map.
The application Life360 differs from other tracking and controller apps in that it’s targeted at larger family or social groups. With it, you can locate and stay connected to friends and loved ones that are part of your private groups, or “circles”.
Without a doubt one of the most popular family locator apps, Life360 works on both Android and iOS systems and is compatible with any smartphone or tablet.
- Free chat: create your own groups of friends and family and chat with them for free through the app’s inbuilt chat function;
- Family map: view the real-time location of members of your family/friends circle on a special map only available to members;
- Movement alerts: get alerts every time a family member leaves or arrives at given destinations;
- Find a phone: see the location of misplaced or stolen phones belonging to any member of your circle.
A more recent arrival to the world of parental control, FamiSafe’s self-declared goal is to lighten the burden of parenting and develop positive digital habits among kids. For that, the app is armed with an impressive array of features. Check out a few of them below.
- Family locator & history: locate your child and track their movements on the map, both recent and real-time;
- Web content filter: allows you to either block specific sites or block all sites with a few preset exceptions;
- Activity report: see which apps your child’s been using, when they’ve been using it and for how long;
- Smart schedule: block the child’s phone or tablet at given times (such as bedtime, lunchtime, family time, etc.);
- Explicit content monitoring: detect and receive real-time alerts regarding any inappropriate content that may show on your child’s device.
Best Family Organizer Apps
For many of us, as we rush about our daily lives, it can be a challenge to combine busy schedules with family needs. Because work demands tend to be urgent, we often give them priority over spending time with our loved ones.
To make sure your family life doesn’t fade back to the pressing concerns of work, you have to be organized. You need to know when to pick up Junior from his party and when Mary’s ballet performance is happening – and you need to know it in advance. For that, few tools help more than calendar apps for family organization, and we have a few nifty picks for you.
From appointments and house chores to groceries and to-do lists, FamilyWall helps you with every aspect of family organization and time management. The application is available for both Android and iOS platforms, allowing you to integrate every single smartphone-using member of your family.
- Shared family calendar: an easy-to-use calendar where each family member can see, edit and share both theirs and others’ appointments and events;
- Shopping lists: these handy lists (also available offline) make sure you and your family are always on the same page – quite literally;
- To-do lists: share your own lists, assign chores to your kids and check the tasks added by others so you can coordinate efforts and be more productive;
- Family messaging: make sure important family messages don’t go unnoticed;
- Family gallery: remember that picture your mom sent you a couple of weeks ago and you just can’t find for the life of you? Start sharing your family moments all in one place and never waste time with it again.
Cozi Family Organizer
The utility belt of family organizer apps, Cozi has something in store for every need and situation that comes along. It’s got all the basics of any self-respecting organizer – shared calendar, shopping lists, to-do lists – plus some neat functionalities of its own.
Want to remind everyone of Grandma’s birthday? No problem. Tired of getting home with your hands full of groceries only to find you forgot the butter? Cozi’s got your back.
- Family calendar: jot down your own appointments in a neat, color-coded family calendar and check the appointments and events of other family members;
- Event reminders: set helpful reminders that will let everyone know when it’s time to start preparing for that big party or get their chores done in time to catch the latest family-friendly movie;
- Shopping lists: allows you to not only share groceries and other shopping lists with your family but also to check on the go new items they just remembered to add;
- To-do lists: not only perfect for making sure you and your kids work as a team to get all the chores done in time but also ideal for creating and sharing other checklists: travel packing, school material – you name it;
- Family journal: next time you’re lucky enough to get the perfect picture of that special moment, you know where to keep it;
- Recipe box: add your favorite recipes here and never spend time looking for them on your browsing history again.
FamCal joins a clean and functional design with all the key features of the best family organizer apps, making sure you and your loved ones stay in sync and helping you plan some of your best moments together.
- Calendar: available both in calendar and agenda formats, it offers you the usual – shared appointments, event reminders, etc.
- Shared lists: share everything from groceries and chores to the latest Halloween costume ideas;
- Family notes: jot down your comments or put together family memos that other family members can comment on;
- Birthday/anniversary tracker (only available in Premium mode);
- Shared contacts (Premium-only).
TimeTune may not be a specifically family-targeted app, but it’s worth a mention for being one of the best time management apps out there. Everyone in your family should have it on their phones: it’s a surefire way to raise your productivity to new and unheard of levels.
The app allows you to do anything from routine managing to set up task reminders. You can create and strengthen new habits, organize your study calendar, plan weekly timetables, and a good deal more.
- Timeboxing: allows you to block off time for specific tasks. That homework you’ve been postponing? You’re doing it today – time to give Netflix a break;
- Routines: create routines that repeat themselves for the days you choose. They can be set to repeat daily, weekly or in any other way you choose;
- Reminders: set yourself timely reminders for stuff you need to get done throughout the day, week or month;
- Timer: everyone knows time can be illusive – you’ll find out just how much once you start timing your daily tasks;
- Schedules: for those events that don’t fit in neatly with your usual routines.
Best Family Finance Apps
While we’re on the topic of family organization, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – or perhaps the piggy bank in the room: finance.
We get it, thinking about finance may not exactly give you a nice warm feeling inside, but running away won’t help. No worries, though: once you start tracking your spendings and sticking to budgets, things get much easier. A good finance app offers even more than that, though – check these two out.
By all accounts one of the best expense tracker apps out there, Mint comes with a caveat: it’s only available (as of March 2020) for US and Canadian residents. If you happen to be on the other side of the Atlantic, skip to our next suggestion.
Mint shows you the complete picture of where your finances stand. With it, you can set yourself budgets and get reminders for paying bills on time. Hear that buzzing sound in the distance? That’s all the headaches you won’t have thanks to Mint.
- Everything in one place: your income, your expenditures – by jotting down everything here, you’ll have an updated account balance at all times;
- Bills management: wave goodbye to paying interest on late fees. Mint’s reminders never let you down;
- Budget-setting: it’s not how much you earn, it’s how much you keep. Budget your way to financial independence;
- Goals: as they say, once you quantify them, you’re on your way to achieving them. That’s all the more true for your finance goals.
Wallet does exactly what its name suggests, keeping everything money-related in one easily accessible place.
It’s much more than just a budget planner or finance tracker, though: sync Wallet with your bank and you’ll have your balance updated after every single transaction. Wallet works with over 3,500 banks worldwide, so you can bet yours is compatible.
- Automatic bank updates: every bank account transaction is factored in and shows in your Wallet balance;
- Reports: get precise reports that will help you account for every penny you spent or earned;
- Budgets: maybe you’re saving up for a house, maybe this is the year to kill off your debt. Regardless, the Budgets feature will help you out.
- Account sharing: just the thing if you’re budgeting together with a friend or family member;
- Multiple-currency support: yup, it’s exactly what you think it is.
Best Family Game Apps
With so many games easily available nowadays – and their production increasing by the day –, perhaps you’re concerned about your child. Will your son or daughter become addicted to games and waste countless hours behind a screen?
Worrisome as the prospect may be, you needn’t ban phone games altogether. Instead, awaken your child’s interest in games that offer value and, rather than isolate, bring everyone together. We have a couple of suggestions, but once you get the family games started it’s only a matter of time until you find that one app that is just made for you.
Words With Friends
Words With Friends is essentially a phone version of Scrabble perfect for connecting with your family. Not just that: it’ll also help your child improve their vocabulary with some competitive motivation. Try using the inbuilt chat to egg them on or give hints. The app is available for both iOS and Android platforms.
A product of the Pokémon universe, Pokémon Go has quickly become a fixture of modern gaming culture. Using your phone’s GPS, your task is to locate and interact with virtual creatures (Pokémon) that can appear anywhere around you.
Pokémon Go is a kind of modern-day treasure hunt that all kids love. Try it and enjoy many hours of fun together with your little ones.
Technology doesn’t always go hand in hand with a healthy family life. It can isolate your children and rob you of precious hours. But use it consciously and you’ll see it turn into a valuable ally. It’ll help you manage your time, protect your loved ones and connect in meaningful ways. Ultimately, it can lead to a more productive, healthier, happier family life.
Now the ball’s in your court: time to find out just how these apps can improve your life. And if you know someone who would also benefit from them, go ahead and show them this article. They’ll thank you later.