In the modern era of technology, children and teens turn to electronic gadgets to combat their leisure time. During the Covid-19 pandemic, schools have been shut down, and more kids have adjusted to the online learning environment.
There is a more than usual increase in the number of kids on social media to overcome loneliness and boredom during the coronavirus outbreak. This causes a significant concern towards kids’ online safety.
If you are worried about kids’ safety online in this modern age, you need a parental control service that functions well on mobile phones, in addition to the desktop. Two big parental responsibilities are setting boundaries for your kids and keeping them safe. It’s not always easy to monitor what your child does on the internet.
Children either on purpose or by mistake can get into trouble while on their cellphones. Maybe kids come to use age-inappropriate sites or apps or spend too much time on their screen. In either case, you can make the monitoring task less challenging by using various parental control apps.
What is Parental Control Software?
Parental control programs give you features to control how much time your child spends on their screen, restrict inappropriate content, apps, or websites, and keep track of their whereabouts. It allows you to keep a cautious eye out for anything on their device that can cause harm to them. You can identify the dangers and keep them at bay using the best parental control software for your phone.
Children do not like being monitored every time whenever they are using their devices. Yet, for concerned parents, it is hard not to keep track of their kid’s activities. This is when parental control settings come into use. It lets you monitor your kid’s activities without being overbearing to children. Parental control apps help in filtering and blocking content that is inappropriate for your kids. It also helps to check if your child is overindulged on their devices.
How to Monitor Your Kid’s Activities on Your Phone Using the Parental Control Apps?
Parental control settings help you restore control of your children. It helps you find some clever workarounds to maintain online and offline safety for your child’s activities on the phone. Parental control apps provide a safe kids’ digital environment. These controlling apps do the best internet filter like web filtering, site blocking, restricting screen time limit, and location tracking.
Most of the parental control apps work in a very similar manner. You install a parental control app that is best suited for you on the target’s device. You can manage the control and monitor settings from either desktops or any mobile devices. Log in using a valid and existing email id and choose the best subscription plan to get started.
Once you are successfully logged in, you can view the dashboard that gives you access to all the information of the target’s device. You can now keep an eye on all the information exchanged between your target’s device and other devices. The use of parental control software helps your kids visit the site more safely.
The Best Parental Control software for your phone
There are several parental control software on the play store. In addition to the desktop, you also need these parental control apps for your android and iOS devices to keep track of your kid’s activities anywhere and anytime.
Here I have prepared a collection for you that contains the best parental control services for you. Since not every parental control app available is a good one, you can ensure the protection you’re using is the best by going through this list. You can find the control apps easily on the play store.
Fenced.ai is a popular parental control application that is known for its powerful and non-intrusive monitoring tools. It is one of the best parental control software available in the market.
With Fenced.ai, you can monitor your kids’ mobile phone activities without having to access their devices physically.
This application provides a wide range of coverage with the help of different features to protect your child. It provides services ranging from monitoring to filter inappropriate content and websites. This wide range of variety in features has made this application an instant favorite for many parents.
This application allows various features that are divided into premium and basic features. It allows you to access the basic features without paying, and premium features can be accessed after paying the monthly or yearly fee.
Fenced.ai claims to have 99% of customer satisfaction. They boast about 24-hour customer support to help concerned or confused parents.
Fenced.ai also provides alerts if perceived danger is found. With the geofencing alerts available for this application, you can get an alert when your child leaves or enters the marked territory. This system can help you monitor the safety of your children when they go and leave school. It can also help solve any issues regarding bunking of classes or school by children.
Apart from monitoring kids, fenced.ai also promotes good digital habits of children. It can be used to monitor the screen time of children. Monitoring your child’s digital habits can help you ensure healthy digital use.
Additionally, by monitoring social media habits and gaming applications, you can promote and teach your children about the proper way to be safe on the internet.
This application will help keep your children safe online. It gives you peace of mind and also helps in protecting your children.
Features of fenced.ai
Monitors calls and texts
Social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp monitoring feature.
Tracks web browsing and web browsing history
Get alerts through geofencing.
Sends an alert on the trial of the uninstallation of this application.
Monitor multimedia files on the mobile phone, including photos and videos
Pros of fenced.ai
Easy to use
Smooth user interface
It does not require the root of most devices.
Free plan and trial period available
Flexible pricing plans
Variety of features available
Cons of fenced.ai
Limited features in free version
Some devices may need rooting.
Pricing of fenced.ai
Fenced.ai provides you with three extremely flexible pricing plans. They differ in terms of availability of features:
Free plan with only features of monitoring calls and texts
The basic plan for $ 5.83 per month with additional monitoring and customer support
A premium plan for $ 8.33 per month with all the features accessible
Bark is the popular parental controlling software for your phone. It is best known for social media monitoring. It supports the monitoring of 30+ social media networking sites. Apart from monitoring all the social networking sites, Bark also monitors all the incoming and outgoing emails, calls, and texts of the target’s devices.
Not only Bark focuses on control but focuses on prevention as well. If you are a working parent and don’t have enough time to read and view all the messages and information on your child’s phone, then here Bark is, your friend.
Bark.us searches for all the threats and risks that can cause harm to your child’s physical and mental health. And quickly sends parental alerts along with the child psychologist’s recommendation. These potential dangers include cyberbullying, online predators, depression, self-harm, and many more.
Features of Bark
Monitors 30+ social media networking sites
Records call and location history.
Provides access to phone’s messages and gallery
Sends parental alerts on detection of potential harms
Allows web filtering and time management
Pros of Bark
Easy user interface
7-day free trial before you need to subscribe
Insights on child’s psychiatrist
Parental alert system
It covers an unlimited number of devices
Cons of Bark
The free version of this app is not available, and the paid versions are comparatively expensive.
Unnecessary and insistent parental alerts.
Pricing of Bark
Two payment options are offered by Bark, with an option to pay weekly or annually.
Bark Premium for 14 dollars a month
With minimal features, Bark Jr for $ 5 a month
Qustodio is another most used parental control software that works best for teens. It provides you with an additional feature of a panic button and location tracking facility along with basic parental control software services. With this facility’s help, when a child hits the panic button, you can find where your kid is and take possible immediate actions.
Qustodio has an advanced Facebook monitoring system where you have full visibility on your kid’s messages and calls. It then also allows you to block anyone who seems a danger to your child. The app offers you the capability of monitoring up to 15 devices.
Features of Qustodio
Monitoring screen time of your child
Monitor app and has an advanced Facebook Monitoring system
Location tracker system
Panic Button service
30-day money-back guarantee
Web filtering and restriction to access to certain sites
Pros of Qustodio
Determines app usage data
Location tracking and panic button
3-day period trial with access to all premium features
Cons of Qustodio
A short period of premium trial
Compatibility issues with anti-virus software
Pricing of Qustodio
Owing to the number of devices you will monitor, Qustodio proposes three separate plans. You may also pick an annual plan package too.
Small plan of $4.58 for a month schedule
Medium Schedule for $8.08 a month
Large plan for $11.50 a month package
OurPact is another popular parental control application that is available for Android and IOS. This application allows you to monitor the screen time of your children. You can also monitor which application they are currently using and how much time they have already spent on the application.
This unique parental control application is famous for its feature of screen time monitoring. The application also boasts about having features to schedule and block certain applications on your children’s mobile phones. Specific applications can be blocked or scheduled to limit the screen time of social media applications and gaming applications on mobile phones.
This application is best for time allowance and Location tracking on iOS devices. When tested, this application performs extremely well on iOS devices. The features that stood out were the limiting of screen time on mobile phones.
But the sad thing about this application is it does not help in monitoring social media applications. This application also does not allow the user to monitor calls or texts of the targeted device. It is one of the main drawbacks of this application. However, it can be used as a filtering and blocking tool for inappropriate websites like pornography and gambling sites.
Features of OurPact
Powerful time management feature
Screen time and application time allocation
Limiting screen time
Blocking websites and application
Block texting with certain contacts
Customize screen time and application rules
Pros of OurPact
Customizable screen time for limiting application usage
Get instant alerts with geofences.
Free plan available
Cons of OurPact
No monitoring of calls and texts
Lacks contacts monitoring feature
Limited features for the same price as other parental control apps
Pricing of OurPact
Our pact provides parents with three pricing plans. They are made available with different features to choose from.
Free pricing plan with limited features
A premium plan for $ 6.99 per month with 5 blocks and unlimited grants
Premium+ plan for $ 9.99 per month with premium features in addition to monitoring another device
NetNanny is a parental control software that is best known and used for younger kids. It was initially launched for desktop only, gradually became popular among phone users. Although it provides many of the best features to its users and has a strong name in the market, its setup is still difficult.
NetNanny is best suitable for homes with younger kids who are less tech-savvy. It is a bit known fact that its installation and setup are a struggle. But once it’s done, you will be impressed by how easy it is to use web filtering through net nanny. The best feature of net nanny includes the remote time-out feature.
The remote time-out feature of net nanny helps you implement screen time management efficiently. It allows you to pause or block access to the internet. A net nanny uses real-time scanning to block suspicious sites from opening and keeps tabs when you visit a suspicious site. This means you are free from manual content filtering with the net nanny.
The main drawback among many amazing features of net nanny is that it doesn’t provide monitoring for social media platforms. In the exciting online platforms era, this is a major setback. Besides, you can monitor up to 15 target devices with the net nanny.
Features of NetNanny
Time-out remote feature to manage internet access
Customizable content and web filtering to block inappropriate content.
Screen time management for best time scheduling for your children
Blocks pornography content and prevents your child from accidental viewing of such content
Tracks your child location
Pros of NetNanny
No manual filtering is required.
Powerful web and pornography content blocker
Time-bound settings for children
Remote time-out feature
Comprehensive parental dashboard
Cons of NetNanny
Complex setup process.
Doesn’t monitor social media platforms
No trial period
Pricing of NetNanny
The net nanny does not have a monthly schedule, but only annual plans are permitted. Depending on the number of devices that are covered by the application, they are priced.
A $54.99 per annum plan for 5 devices
An $89.99 a year for 20 devices
6. Norton Family
Norton family is an award-winning Parental Control application that provides parents with the knowledge to keep their children safe online. They also help in setting screen time limits and blocking inappropriate content.
This application claims to be the best parental control application for home-schooled children. They help in managing screen time between remote learning and using the screen for entertainment.
The Norton family’s most attractive point is that they are available for free to use if the user purchases any expensive Norton Antivirus software suites. If the same user purchases antivirus suites such as Norton 360, they will be able to subscribe to Norton family for around $30 for a year.
However, the criticism that this application face is that they are not the best when using on iOS devices. This application does not have the feature of application management and other monitoring services in iOS devices. This device has also faced criticism as it does not work well on iOS devices. The time allowance feature is also available from Windows and Android devices.
Hence, it is not advisable to purchase or use this parental control app if you have Apple devices. This application is best to use on Android and Windows devices as you can only or all of the features available. It is also not advisable to use this application on Mac devices.
This application is also popular for providing services to be used on limited devices. However, this application does not allow geofencing and Location tracking, like other parental control applications available for the same price.
Features of Norton Family
Screen time management
Limiting screen usage
Blocking inappropriate websites
Blocking applications exceeding screen time usage.
Supports unlimited devices
Web filtering to block inappropriate contents and websites
Compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows
Pros of Norton Family
Available for free and at a discount with purchase of expensive antivirus services
School time features
Free trial available for 30 days
Easy to use
Use on unlimited devices.
Cons of Norton Family
No social media monitoring features
Expensive to own for single devices
Only yearly subscription available
No flexibility in pricing
It does not work well on iOS devices.
Pricing of Norton Family
Norton Family provides its users with only a single pricing plan available for the yearly subscription facility. However, they also provide the app for free if the user also purchases their expensive antivirus software.
Norton Family provides a yearly subscription for $ 49.99 for unlimited devices and inclusive of all features.
7. Google Family Link
Google family link is one of the best free Parental Control applications available in the market. Parental Control application is created and owned by the famous entrusted company of Google.
This application is a parental control application that provides features like location tracking, monitoring screen time, and locking screen time, and so on.
It also shows how much time is spent on which application. The unique feature that is provided by this application is its apps recommended by teachers. This feature allows you to view educational and other applications that promote creativity for your children.
The applications recommended by teachers are educational gaming applications for applications that promote creativity in children. Therefore, it helps in not only protecting your children from safe digital habits, which also promotes productivity in the use of educational apps.
Features of Google Family Link
Monitoring the screen time of each application
Apps recommended by teachers for productive screen time.
Monitoring and approving downloads of applications
Setting time limits on apps.
Pros of Google Family Link
Available for free
Apps recommended by teachers.
Approval on downloads on your child’s device
Cons of Google Family Link
No feature available for monitoring calls and texts
Lacks social media activities monitoring features
Pricing of Google Family Link
Available for free
8. Kaspersky Safe Kids
Kaspersky Safe kids provide its free version for the users. The free version contains a basic feature of content filtering and screen time management. Any extra features you require need you to upgrade to the premium Kaspersky version.
Kaspersky looks at the application usage data and restricts the app’s usage on reaching the set time limits. It provides safe browsing by keeping questionable content away from kids. The app has a geofencing system that allows you to set the restricted areas, and as soon as your children enter the area, it sends you an alert. This helps you to know when they are inside the boundaries or outside.
This software also helps you to monitor social networking sites and drops you a notification whenever they add a new friend. You can tell your children when it’s time to charge up their phone so that you would not lose contact with your children anytime.
Features of Kaspersky Safe Kids
Affordable and cheap price
Helps in better app management
Provides tips and advice from the experts
Sends geofencing alerts and low battery alerts
Pros of Kaspersky Safe Kids
Low battery alerts
Free basic plans
Cons of Kaspersky Safe Kids
Requires upgrade for premium features
No uninstallation security
Pricing of Kaspersky Safe Kids
Kaspersky Safe Kids provide two price plans. The free edition does not include any of the features found in the application’s standard version.
The premium version for 15 dollars
MMGuardian is a parental control application used to monitor your child’s mobile and mobile activities remotely. This application provides alerts when the trigger words are mentioned in the text or searched by your child.
These trigger words help you get alerts with the help of the alert system. They can help you find if your child is suffering from cyberbullying, sextortion, viewing inappropriate content, including pornography and gambling.
The feature also consists of alerts when MMS or text images are sent to the phone. These alerts are sent to the paired parents’ mobile phone when the pictures consist of mature contents and indicate sexting.
The web filters from MMGuardian also can be applied to Google Chrome as an extension. This Chrome extension will help parents filter out pornography and inappropriate content from the Google search results.
Features of MMGuardian
Reports on calls and SMS
Screen time usage monitoring
Customized web filters
Pros of MMGuardian
Good alert system
Alerts on keywords
Alerts on inappropriate content
14-day free trial
Cons of MMGuardian
Bad user interface
Not good for iOS devices
Pricing of MMGuardian
MMGuardian offers different ranges of prices according to the type of devices and operating system. They also have packages for a month, a year, and for 5 years.
Android Phone monthly subscription for $ 3.99
Android Tablet monthly subscription for $ 1.99
IPhone/iPad monthly subscription for $ 3.99
10. Screen Time
Screen Time is another parental control application. This application is often confused with the Screen Time feature available on Android devices, also called with the same name “Screen Time”.
This application is a free parental control application. As the name suggests, this parental control application is primarily about controlling screen time usage. You can put schedules or pause them for the use of the child’s mobile phone.
This application is compatible with Android, Apple, and Amazon devices. They also help in preventing kids from uninstalling this application from the mobile phone of the child.
Features of Screen Time
Block and filter applications
Prevent uninstallation of the application
Reports about app and web activities
Screen time usage monitoring
Scheduling and limit screen time usage
Pros of Screen Time
No credit card required.
Available for free
Cons of Screen Time
No monitoring of call
Pricing of Screen Time
Available for free
Things You Should Consider When Choosing the Parental Software for Your Phone
You want to keep your children safe, no matter what and where. Be it on the playground or in the digital space, you want the safest for your kids. When it comes to online space, you can do the best protection of your children with a parental control application. These tools help you keep your child’s online browsing safe and put the risks and dangers aside.
This guide helps you with the identification of the best parental control software for your phone. But in addition to that, it will help you identify what features will best protect your family from harm.
1. Stuff You Would Want to be Helped With By a Parental Control App
- Filtering of content
- Safe browsing on the internet
- Screen Time Constraint
- Blocking and other installs of unsavoury software
- Safe text and urgent messages
- Monitoring and management of social media platforms
2. Stuff You Would Want to Be Shown By a Parental Control App
- Reports of Online Activity
- Searching for History
- Requests to Access
- Requests for Time-extension
- Alerts on inappropriate words
- Updates on content filtering
3. Beware of These Workarounds for Parental Control
Kids are smart when it comes to technology. They grasp and understand things better than you. In this modern era, children and teens are known as tech-savvy. So, if your child is working smart, you must know what they might try.
They might try and use:
- Another network (public, cellular data)
- A Virtual Private Network that hides their online activities
- A friend’s phone
- Of private internet surfing
- Browsers contained inside other software
- They also might perform a hard reset of their devices.
There is a growth of crime and online threats of the internet. Threats like cyberbullying, online predators, manipulating children for solicited naked photos, and other cybercrimes continuously evolve with the evolving tech industry.
You should always encourage and promote open and two-way communication in a family. The first thing you should focus is on teaching your child about online threats and their safety measures. You should keep track of your child’s behaviour. This will help you choose the best app for monitoring your child’s suspicious activities.
Apart from this, you can step forward to keeping your children safe online using these parental control settings that almost any devices and apps provide. These apps will help you maintain a healthy and safe online environment for your children.
Some of the other parental control apps that you can consider are Norton family, Life 360: Family Locator & GPS tracker for safety, McAfee Safe Family, and many more. You can always explore what is best for you.
While choosing the best parental control software for your phone, one must consider their family’s specific needs. The best parental control software for families with younger kids is net nanny parental software. And, for families with teens and youngsters, the bark control application is the best fit. As in earlier teenagers, they are curious about the use of different social media platforms. And bark allows you to monitor more than 30 different social networking sites.
Here are some of the best parental control app for cell phones; if you feel some more parental control should have been listed in the article, please mention them in the comment section below.