Most parents don’t have the time or knowledge to choose the right app for their family. No one would argue that keeping an eye on a first-grader and a senior needs to be different. In addition, the choice depends on the platform on which the smartphone runs.
We’ve saved you time, studied current research by experts, divided apps by grade, and selected among them options worthy of attention.
Apps with a wide range of features
Best app: Kids360
The newest app from developers and creators of Where Are My Children. It has a wide functionality that allows you to protect your child from unwanted content and limit the time of use of the gadget.
Kids360 gives you access to app usage analytics so you’ll know where your child hangs out the most. Allows you to enter time limits (screen time), to create a schedule (at what time and in what applications your child can enter or play), to manage access to applications.
Disadvantages: Limited access to the features in the free version of the application. Only available on Android devices for now.
Kaspersky Safe Kids.
The app has been downloaded in Play Market about a million times. There is a free version, which blocks dangerous sites and content, provides safe Internet search, controls application use, limits the time of use of the device. By purchasing the premium version, users get additional child geomonitoring features and reports on online habits.
Of the minuses: Reduced performance of the phone. This is said in the reviews on Google Play.
Norton Family Parental Control.
Kaspersky’s main competitor. The application has received many professional awards. The main advantage – parental control of installed applications, requests, downloads. Parents receive warnings about children’s activity and can remotely lock the device (relevant for Android). Recently, Google has changed its policy, and control of SMS and calls is no longer available.
Of disadvantages: The price is high. But you can try it for free for 30 days before purchase.
ESET Parental Control
Offers a “gentleman’s” set of functions: controlling applications and time spent at the screen. The paid version adds web protection and location detection. It can also collect data on the actions of young children and send information to parents.
Of the cons:
Users note that the program “hangs” on some models of Android phones. And in the absence of an Internet connection and does not work at all. So parents will have to choose a suitable tariff of the mobile operator and constantly monitor that it does not run out of money.
The option of remote configuration of the application by the company’s wizard is available.
The application sets screen time limits and schedules, blocks access to applications, sites, social networks, and the camera.
Of the disadvantages: Parents report that children are more cunning than technology and by all kinds of manipulation easily bypass the blocking.
Mobile Fence Parental Control
In addition to the common functions contains a number of features. One of them is the creation of a “white” list of contacts who can call and write to the owner of the gadget. Also, the application is able to recognize the context, and picks out unwanted phrases in correspondence. Parents can expand the set of words, making there, for example, the words: “drugs”, “truancy”, “fight” and the like. Detecting these words, the device will send a signal to the family.
Of the disadvantages: Some children find a way to delete the application. The subscription renewal system does not work well.
Another app with a million downloads. The application blocks calls, protects personal data while online, will not allow to buy or download applications without parental knowledge.
Of the disadvantages: Users note the possibility of bypassing the protection.
The application works in conjunction with the Apple Mobile Device Management profile. The app is able to lock your device during school lessons or overnight while you sleep. The developers added an entertaining feature – for good behavior parents can add time that the child can spend playing games.
Of the disadvantages: Adults will not be able to get detailed reports on the use of the device and see detailed statistics of web-surfing.
Best app: Where are my kids?
The app for parents helps you comprehensively monitor your child’s hobbies: from his location and route to the number of minutes in a particular app. The peculiarity of the program is family-friendly. The app doesn’t block anything, but it sends information to the parent to make a decision and discuss some boundaries of what is allowed with the child.
With the app, you can: find out how much time the child spends communicating in social networks and messengers, understand whether he or she spends time on the gadget when he or she needs to sleep. In addition, a parent can use the microphone and camera of the child’s smartphone to understand where the child is at that moment, and what surrounds him. “Where are my kids” is installed not only on the phone, but also as a program on a smartwatch. The program has already been downloaded in the Play market more than 15 million times.
Stop worrying about your child’s online and offline safety right now. Download the application “Where are my children.
Of the minuses: Judging by the reviews of people whose families have installed the application, there may be complaints about the accuracy of geolocation, but the problem is solved by properly configuring the GPS-tracker.
Like “Where are my children”, Locategy not only determines a person’s current location, but also informs about his or her whereabouts at a certain point. The app sends parents a notification when a child is in or out of school. The app will also notify if the child enters an unsafe area. Locategi allows parents to monitor the contents of the phone and remotely erase data. A set of standard features can be obtained from the app store for free. With a paid subscription, the program will keep phone usage reports for 30 days, and the number of banned apps and geotags will be unlimited.
Of disadvantages: filtering works only in certain browsers.
Similar to the previous two applications, Boomerang sets “digital boundaries” for the owner of the phone. The program will send a message to the parent, if the child suddenly decides to sneak out of school.
Cons: Long setup time for each new device. Families with many children will have to deal with it.
The application allows you to remotely obtain information about a child’s location. Accurate geolocation and history of movements are available. A curious feature of the program is that parents can add other people to the administrator profile, for example, teachers, so that they too can monitor the location of students.
Of the disadvantages: not always stable operation and the possibility of deletion by the user from the device.
Parental controls: programs – “shells”
Best app: Kids Zone
Each child gets an individual user profile. They can only interact with the device within their “shell”. Parents set permissible and impermissible applications, allow or block certain functions. Download and install something without the knowledge of adults at the child will not work.
It levels out the low cost of subscription, the money saved can be used to pay for courses in a foreign language.
The program creates a new desktop, a separate “shell” for the user. Parents decide which programs to put there and what data to access. The owner of the gadget won’t be able to enter Play Market, download or buy additional programs or games. In the premium version, parents will be able to set a list of “white contacts” and make a schedule of using the device.
Of disadvantages: Because of the list of “white contacts” on some models of phones, it becomes impossible to accept any call, even from among the allowed.
The list of allowed programs is set manually by parents. You can also set the time period for using the smartphone – the gadget is available from 5:00 to 23:00. You can set the allowed time for games, for example from 16:00 to 18:00. Now the application is in beta-testing stage, soon the developers promise to add a number of children’s logic tasks, solving which, the child develops and gets extra time for entertainment and games.
Disadvantages: Beta version isn’t 100% stable, but it’s free.
The app is easily customizable to the individual characteristics of a child. For example, you can create three accounts for children of different ages and set different levels of computer freedom. “Kidoz automatically filters the programs available for download in the market. It also has its own store of child-approved apps.
Of disadvantages: Frequent errors during registration and inability to use the application.
Parental Controls: Network Filters
Best app: Qustodio
The application monitors and blocks unwanted Internet traffic regardless of the browser from which you log in. The system allows you to control multiple accounts of children. In the admin panel is available information on visited pages, phone contacts and SMS. If desired, parents can “blacklist” a call from a particular number or prohibit correspondence.
SafeKiddo Parental Control
The application allows you to set individual settings to block sites, set the schedule for web surfing by day of the week. And there is an opportunity to allow or deny your child access to certain types of content in real time.
SafeKiddo also collects reports on the child’s online activity.
Of the disadvantages: the slowdown of the smartphone, in rare cases, devices start to “freeze”. The interface is only available in English and Polish.
Simple and efficient program. The system of unwanted content filtering is very strong. After installing and configuring the program, you can not worry about the fact that children will get to sites where there are topics of cruelty, eroticism or promotion of the use of illegal substances. Parents will receive a full report on the actions of the network.
Of disadvantages: Support is only available for the computer, for the mobile version it is not.
Bitdefender Parental Control
The application has an extensive list of categories of online content. This allows parents to prohibit certain types of information. However, the application is malleable for specific tasks. It is possible to manually enter a list of sites that will be banned. Parents will always be aware of their children’s search queries and Internet activity. Paid version allows you to not only monitor the device, but also to limit the functionality. Of the additional features: tracking calls, SMS, Facebook correspondence.
Of the cons: a complex interface, the phone can freeze.
Answers to questions
How do I choose a parental control app?
If you don’t have enough time to read the whole article, here are our top 3:
1. Kids360 – leader in its class, maximum functionality for setting up control over the child’s phone.
2. Where are my kids – the best tracker program. If you want to know where your child is.
3. Kids Zone – the best shell program. If you want to limit your child’s access to certain phone features and applications.
How to control your child’s phone?
Install parental control software on his phone and set it up.
How do I set parental controls on my child’s phone?
You can use the standard tools on Android or iOS phones, or you can install an app on your child’s phone that helps create a separate desktop with approved apps and features, or prohibit unwanted software completely.
How do I install parental controls on my Android phone?
1. Go to “Play Market” on your device, open Settings → Parental Controls and turn it on.
2. Think of a PIN code that only you will know. Check the required restrictions and age.
How do I set parental controls on iOS?
Screen time and privacy and content restriction features work great on iOS smartphones. You can set the age limit, block dangerous and potentially dangerous content, limit access to programs, and prohibit purchases from the Apple E-Store.
How do I set parental controls on YouTube?
1. Go to the YouTube app, click on the lock icon at the bottom of any app screen.
2. Confirm your age and select Settings.
3. On YouTube Kids YouTube, you can configure: block content, show only approved content, set search features, clear browsing and search history, etc.
Tips for parents
First and foremost, parents need to talk to their child. He must understand that the installation of control programs is not a totalitarian restriction of freedom, but the creation of a favorable environment for the development and safety of children and adolescents. You do not prohibit the use of the Internet, you just limit access to questionable information.
When you install a parental control app, be sure to study the instructions! This is important. Sit for an evening or two with the settings to select the best option and fully understand the functionality of the program.
And the most important advice is not to overdo it with control in any case. As you know, the forbidden fruit is sweet. Your child should feel care, but not the minute-by-minute monitoring, where a step to the left, a step to the right is forbidden and strictly punishable.