Social media monitoring is one of the most helpful features.
The ability to activate the camera and record or take a photo, without the user knowing, is a powerful feature. These are all very serious issues, which is why any concerned and responsible parent needs Kids Monitoring Software. In addition, we did not consider apps that offered the ability to record a child's phone conversations. It has many more features than a simple sms tracker and call blocker. ESET Parental Control for Android sticks to one platform, but it doesn't shine even there, lacking text-message- and call-monitoring features. Some parental control utilities don't force your child to use a proprietary browser on iOS devices. Installation of the app, in particular, was a bit more technically involved than other apps we tested, but it seemed very stable once it was installed and setup.
You can also be aware when inappropriate language or indication of bullying are posted to their profiles by building your restricted words list. You can also get notifications when your teen drives or rides over a speed limit you set. There are several plan options including a free version. Get it on iTunes. This free app allows you to instantly lock and unlock your child's Android device remotely from your own device so that you can enjoy more quality family time, or help your child focus on schoolwork or sleep.
You can choose from three modes: "Dinner Time" pauses any activity for up to two hours; "Take a Break" pauses any activity for up to 24 hours; and "Bed Time" pauses any activity for any given start and end time, while still allowing kids to access their alarm clock. The free version of DinnerTime works on up to two kids' devices, controlled by up to two parents' devices. Screen Time lets parents remotely monitoring the amount of screen time kids spend on their mobile devices. Screen Time lets you set daily time limits, assign tasks to your kids to complete like homework, see which apps your child uses the most, and more.
Our favorite feature? Instant pause, allowing parents to instantly pause their child's devices. Animal videos!
Skateboarding demos! Retro cartoons! YouTube is an obvious source of free entertainment for kids — but it doesn't always feel like a safe choice. You can create custom kid profiles, block channels or videos, keep tabs on their watch history, turn search on or off, set a timer to limit kids' screen time, report videos, and more. For example, the app lets you know if your child is exceeding a speed limit that you set, hard-braking, alerts you off their location while driving and when parked, and more.
Want to send a strong message when your child repeatedly ignores your texts and phone calls? This forces the child to call the parent back in order to unlock their phone. It's a better option than taking your child's phone away because he'll still be able to make emergency phone calls to you or even when his phone is otherwise locked. The app is currently only available on Android devices but will be available on iPhones soon.
Qustodio software is available for Windows PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Kindle devices and provides a comprehensive dashboard to help you monitor your child's online activity. The free version allows you to keep tabs on your child's web and search engine use, track her Facebook and Twitter logins, and set time controls, while Qustodio Premium also allows you to track her location, block certain games and apps, monitor calls and text messages, and more.
According to their Cyberbully Prevention page , Bark analyzes all of your children's online activities to help detect cyberbullying, taking into account context and an individual's digital history to determine true threats. We notify parents and children of both victims and bullies that use Bark, and provide action-based recommendations.
Often the solution is simple: block the bully online. Still others, such as Qustodio, offers a mix; you can set up usage schedules for specific apps and device usage, as well as specifying a total time allotment for your child that applies across every piece of hardware they use to access the internet. A mobile parental control app should at the very least be able to keep track of a child's current location and some historical location data, too.
It's also important for them to offer some level of control over notifications and the frequency of location reporting, to avoid bombarding the parent with useless data. Both Qustodio and Norton Family offer these features. Some services, including Locategy, Boomerang, and FamilyTime, go one step further, letting you construct geofences around a location. For the uninitiated, geofences are digital boundaries around a physical location that help parents keep track of when a child arrives at or leaves a given location.
Kaspersky Safe Kids even lets you add a dimension of time to a geofence, so you can easily make sure a child stays where they are supposed to be throughout the day. Boomerang offers a unique feature, in that you can draw custom geofences on a map; others just create a circular radius around a point you define. The best parental control applications let you record and monitor who your child communicates with and what they talk about in said conversations.
Keep in mind that this capability is almost exclusively limited to Android. The implementation of this feature varies from service to service, of course. FamilyTime Premium, for example, copies a child's entire SMS history and call log for parents to review. Norton and Boomerang take a less invasive approach and let you specify which conversations to monitor and log.
Still others, like Locategy, only display the phone's call log. The best parental control software also lets you manage your child's social media activity, though in most cases this is limited to Facebook. Net Nanny used to offer a service dedicated to tracking social media accounts, but it is no longer available at the time of this writing.
One last feature worth mentioning is an SOS button. When a child presses this button, it sends out an alert to the parent and any other trusted contacts. The notification includes time and location information and will in some cases keep broadcasting said data until either the child deactivates the alarm or the parent disables it from their own account.
This works regardless of platform and even if a child has run out of their allotted time. Parents who are worried about always being reachable to their kids in case of emergencies should consider Qustodio and Locategy for this reason. Although the range of features that parental control software supports is impressive, no system is perfect. If your children want to get around the limitations you impose, they will likely be able to do so either by using unmonitored devices or finding ways to wipe their devices clean of the controlling apps.
Thus, it's worthwhile to take the time to talk with your child about why you have installed monitoring software in the first place. After all, digital safety and security are worthwhile topics for everyone. It's better to approach these conversations honestly, rather than have them find out on their own and stop trusting you. Especially for older children, it's also important to listen to your child's specific privacy concerns, rather than just setting rules and restrictions that may otherwise be seen as arbitrary. Time scheduler for internet, device, and application usage.
Location tracking. Cons: Expensive. Social monitoring only tracks Facebook. Dated web portal. Some iOS limitations. Pros: Affordable. No limit on devices or child profiles. Flexible control of device and app usage. Robust web filtering. Extensive alert system. Cons: Several iOS limitations. Content filtering limited to specific browsers. Social monitoring only covers Facebook and VK.
Sluggish web interface. Excellent web dashboard. Settings apply across all devices. No limit on number of PC, phones, tablets, or children protected. Tracks child's location. Cons: Does not work on Macs. No Free version anymore. Web extension is easily disabled. Platform-dependent features. Lackluster social media tracking. Bottom Line: Norton Family's top-notch web interface and wealth of features make it easy for parents to track and manage their children's activity across their many devices, though it doesn't work on Macs.
Pros: Supports Windows, Mac, Android. Web-based configuration and reporting. Powerful filtering. Cross-platform internet time allowance. App control for Android. Cons: No new updates. No location tracking.
Lacks advanced time management control. Limited iOS features. Pros: Good app and device usage controls. Useful web filters. Supports geofencing. Call and SMS supervision on Android. Some limitations on iOS. Must configure each device separately. Requires proprietary browser. It's mobile-only, though, so you can't use it to monitor Macs or PCs. Pros: Excellent iOS app design. Accurate and well-implemented location tracking.
Mobile Tracker Free is perfect for parents looking for a free monitoring app for Android. In short, if you need an app that will monitor online activity without. Norton Family Parental Control is a mobile application designed for parents to protect their kids. This parent tracker app will help you in locating the location of.
App blocking and usage schedules. Free version available. Cons: No support for Macs and PCs. Lacks call and SMS blocking. No social media monitoring. Web filtering only works on specific browsers. Bottom Line: Locategy's parental control app for Android and iOS keeps track of your kid's activities and location, but some design elements could use a refresh and the web filtering capabilities only work with a few browsers. Pros: Easy install and setup. App Blocker.
Call and SMS logging on Android. Cannot monitor Macs or PCs. No web content filtering. Easily uninstalled. Not all features work as expected.
Inconsistent features across platforms. Bottom Line: FamilyTime Premium does a decent job of keeping track of your kids' locations on Android and iOS, but it's a mobile-only parental control solution, and its lack of web filtering and inconsistent performance are serious shortcomings. He has previously written for Laptop Mag, Neowin. He spends his free time taking photos and reading b See Full Bio. He was present at the formation of the Association of Shareware Professionals, and served on its board of directors.