If your children have their own smartphones, you may want a way to track or even control what They are doing. The best parental control applications offer ways to limit the time spent on devices, track usage and location, and block applications or games. Before delving into the options, it is worth noting that there are some free parental controls built into most devices today, so you may not need to use a third-party application. For example, Google's family link is very useful, Amazon's parental controls are excellent and Apple also offers some parental controls.
We also have resources if you want parental controls for mobile game systems and game consoles. Now, let's take a look at the main parental control applications that were part of our list.
FamilyTime (Android and iOS)
FamilyTime does everything, allowing you to customize exactly the content that your children should have access to, set time limits, track location and more. The software gives you tools to set homework and time to go to bed, or simply limit the total time your children spend on their phones. There is also support for geofencing to receive alerts when that phone enters or leaves a specific area, and location tracking, so you can see where your child is. In addition to that, you can block or control applications by application, apply Internet filters, control calls and text messages, and monitor contact lists.
The free version only gives you access to a small subset of features. If you want premium features, then there are different plans available. For example, it will cost $ 27 per year for one device, up to $ 69 per year for five devices.
Qustodio (Android, iOS, Kindle, Nook)
Qustodio is user friendly, efficient and excellent for parents who have little time. It offers a panel that shows all recent mobile activity for any connected device, including time spent on specific services such as Instagram or Twitter. From there you can set time limits, keep track of texts, filter sites of interest and block any game or application. Many customization options make it an excellent parental control application to use when managing devices for children of multiple ages, and it also works on Kindle or Nook devices, which is rare.
On the downside, the software is a bit expensive at $ 55 a year for the five-device plan, but there is a free version with limited controls that you can use on a single device.
ESET Parental Control (Android)
ESET has a decent parental control application, but it is only for Android devices. The free version offers application blocking, time limits for games and basic reports. The premium version offers website blocking, location tracking, messages for parents and more detailed reports on what they are doing. The characteristic of the parents' message is an intelligent idea. It allows you to send a message to which your child must respond before they can continue using their phone. You can try the premium features for free for 30 days, but then it costs $ 30 per year, per device.
Web Watcher (Android and iOS)
If you feel the need To be aware of your child's text messages, including deleted texts, photos, web browsing , call log and location, this could be the application for you. Web Watcher even allows you to deepen your activity in certain applications, such as Tinder, WhatsApp, Kik and Viber. You can also set time limits and even capture screenshots of your child's phone screen. Because it is essentially a spyware, with a hidden mode, it must be installed outside the official app store. You will need to give it some serious security permits, and it is very invasive, so you should think twice before considering it. The price can also make it stop, as it starts at $ 130 per year per device.
Norton Family Premier (Android and iOS)
Norton is a big name in the field of antivirus software, and Norton Family Premier is a program to restrict and monitor behavior of your children online. Family Premier offers parents a variety of features and facilitates the administration of all these options thanks to its clean interface. Among the most notable features of Family Premier is its robust web monitoring, which allows you to block sites completely, or simply keep a record of the sites visited. You can also have Norton issue warnings for sites that you may not want to ban, but would prefer that your children be careful, for example, you may want to avoid spending all their time searching for memes on Reddit. Norton also allows you to set time limits, turn off devices during specific hours of the day or night, and there are also application blocking. Unfortunately, it does not always work correctly according to a large number of reviews in the app store and the iOS version is limited compared to the Android application.
It costs $ 50 per year, but it doesn't limit the amount of devices an account can have, so simply install on any iOS or Android device (or Windows desktops) your children use.
This parental control application with many functions works with Android and iOS. You can track the location, block applications, set time limits and get information about your child's activity in real time. The main feature is the effective web filter that allows you to eliminate pornography, weapons, drugs, suicide-related content and other objectionable content that you would prefer your little ones not to see. Here there are no calls or text snooping, and you do not immerse yourself in Messenger applications, although you can see when your children use them and you can check their searches on the web. Net Nanny costs $ 55 per year for a five-device pass that covers PCs and mobile devices. If that doesn't reduce it, then you can opt for a pass of 20 devices at $ 90 per year.
Final note: There are thriving forums for teenagers online that discuss as much as possible ways to avoid parental controls, some with very advanced or cunning tactics. If you know teenagers, that shouldn't surprise you, but it's still something to prepare for. When choosing a parental control application, do not enter your password or login information (no matter how well you think you can hide it). You may also want to create a news alert for the software of your choice, to help you be aware of new vulnerabilities or alternative solutions. Some programs can be skipped with phone reboots, customer service requests and other tricks you should know.