9 Best Parental Control Software for 2020

[Tested & Reviewed]

Are you looking for the best parental control software because:

  • You want to protect your child from cyberbullying?
  • You’re concerned that your child may come across inappropriate content such as pornography or internet scams?
  • You’re worried that a pedophile could target your child?

Then, you’ve come to the right place.

Looking for the right software in an industry full of products can be confusing and nerve wracking.

So:

I did in-depth research to make the entire process less complicated for you.

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Top 9 Parental Control Software 2020

1. Qustodio

Qustodio is a feature-rich solution that offers a variety of protection parameters. This software comes with just about any features that you might need to protect your child on the Web. It offers geo-fencing, a detailed activity log, web filtering, app blocking, location tracking, and much more! Full Review

  • Panic button for Android
  • Call and SMS tracker for Android
  • Supports both desktop and phone OS
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Qustodio is a feature-rich solution that offers a variety of protection parameters. This software comes with just about any features that you might need to protect your child on the Web. It offers geo-fencing, a detailed activity log, web filtering, app blocking, location tracking, and much more! Full Review

Free Trial

Yes, three days

Number of devices

Up to 15 devices

Website blocking

Yes

Social media monitoring

Yes

Screen time management

Yes

Location tracking

Yes

Alerts

Yes

Reports

Yes

2. Bark

Bark comes with an advanced algorithm that uses the power of keywords on-screen text, social media, web, or even emails. With its reliable notifications and alerts, this tool will enable you to protect your child from internet evils, be it misleading content, bullying, pornography, name it. Full Review

  • Adjustable sensitivity settings
  • Monitoring 30+ apps and social accounts
  • Uses keywords to alert
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Bark comes with an advanced algorithm that uses the power of keywords on-screen text, social media, web, or even emails. With its reliable notifications and alerts, this tool will enable you to protect your child from internet evils, be it misleading content, bullying, pornography, name it. Full Review

Trial free period

Yes, seven days

Number of devices

Unlimited

Website blocking

Yes

Social media monitoring

Yes

Screen time management

Yes

Location tracking

No

Alerts

Yes (email and SMS)

Reports

No

3. Net Nanny

Whether your child is just curious or an unsavory character is targeting them, this software will help you take control of the situation. Net Nanny filters, blocks, tracks locations, and sends alerts to help keep your child safe. Full Review

  • Instant reports
  • Pause button
  • Location tracking
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Whether your child is just curious or an unsavory character is targeting them, this software will help you take control of the situation. Net Nanny filters, blocks, tracks locations, and sends alerts to help keep your child safe. Full Review

Trial free period

No

Number of devices

Up to 20

Website blocking

Yes

Social media monitoring

No

Screen time management

Yes

Location tracking

Yes

Alerts

Yes

Reports

Yes

4. Kaspersky Safe Kids

Kaspersky Safe Kids falls under Kaspersky Lab's suite of security products. The company developed the product after noticing that there was a need to filter content from the web to protect children. Its good security features and affordable price tag make it an excellent choice for most users. Full Review

  • Geofencing
  • Unlimited devices and profiles
  • Extensive alert system
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Kaspersky Safe Kids falls under Kaspersky Lab's suite of security products. The company developed the product after noticing that there was a need to filter content from the web to protect children. Its good security features and affordable price tag make it an excellent choice for most users. Full Review

Trial free period

Yes, 30 days

Number of devices

Up to 20

Website blocking

Yes

Social media monitoring

Limited

Screen time management

Yes

Location tracking

Yes

Alerts

Yes

Reports

Yes

5. Norton Family

Norton is one of the most deserving of the title ”best parental control app” because it gives you a whole six months to experiment on its watertight parental control features. Core features include web filtering, location tracking, video monitoring, and time supervision, amongst others. Full Review

  • Video monitoring
  • Unlimited devices
  • User-friendly
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Norton is one of the most deserving of the title ”best parental control app” because it gives you a whole six months to experiment on its watertight parental control features. Core features include web filtering, location tracking, video monitoring, and time supervision, amongst others. Full Review

Trial free period

Yes, 6 months

Number of devices

Unlimited

Website blocking

Yes

Social media monitoring

Yes

Screen time management

Yes

Location tracking

Yes

Alerts

Yes

Reports

Yes, every 30 days.

6. Mobicip

Are you looking for versatile and powerful software to protect your kids on the dark web? Mobicip is listed on “Kids Safe” and can deliver on its promises. It is compatible with a variety of operating systems, one of the reasons it’s one of our top picks. Features here include monitoring, filtering, child data, privacy, locking, and inviting other users for reviews. Full Review

  • Invitation of other users for reviews
  • Child data privacy
  • Highly compatible with different OSs
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Are you looking for versatile and powerful software to protect your kids on the dark web? Mobicip is listed on “Kids Safe” and can deliver on its promises. It is compatible with a variety of operating systems, one of the reasons it’s one of our top picks. Features here include monitoring, filtering, child data, privacy, locking, and inviting other users for reviews. Full Review

Trial free period

Yes, 7 days

Number of devices

20+ devices (custom pricing)

Website blocking

Yes

Social media monitoring

Yes

Screen time management

Yes

Location tracking

Yes

Alerts

Yes

Reports

Yes

7. McAfee Safe Family

McAfee Safe Family can help you monitor, filter, block your kid’s internet usage, track locations, and alert you anytime there’s something fishy. This software will go the extra mile to restrict recent email creation and app downloads. Full Review

  • New app download blocking
  • Monthly payment option
  • Geo-fencing capabilities
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McAfee Safe Family can help you monitor, filter, block your kid’s internet usage, track locations, and alert you anytime there’s something fishy. This software will go the extra mile to restrict recent email creation and app downloads. Full Review

Trial free period

Yes, 30 days

Number of devices

Up to 10

Website blocking

Yes

Social media monitoring

Yes

Screen time management

Yes

Location tracking

Yes

Alerts

Yes

Reports

Yes

8. OpenDNS Family Shield

Cisco Systems, one of the biggest names in the software industry, manages OpenDNS Family Shield. With that in mind, you can be sure that these are experts who are doing everything possible to keep your child safe on the internet. The company pre-configures this software to detect, filter, and block any adult content for free. OpenDNS Shield Home is also available to help you prevent identity theft and customize filters. Full Review

  • Identity theft prevention
  • Doesn't make devices laggy
  • Free software
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Cisco Systems, one of the biggest names in the software industry, manages OpenDNS Family Shield. With that in mind, you can be sure that these are experts who are doing everything possible to keep your child safe on the internet. The company pre-configures this software to detect, filter, and block any adult content for free. OpenDNS Shield Home is also available to help you prevent identity theft and customize filters. Full Review

Trial free period

None, it’s free

Number of devices

Unlimited

Website blocking

Yes

Social media monitoring

No

Screen time management

No

Location tracking

No

Alerts

None

Reports

None

9. Kidlogger

KidLogger can help you keep track of your kids' online activities, set screen time limits, and monitor communications. It monitors device usage, tracks time, shows search history, takes screenshots, and so much more! Full Review

  • Monitors external storage
  • Takes screenshots
  • Allows gallery access
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KidLogger can help you keep track of your kids' online activities, set screen time limits, and monitor communications. It monitors device usage, tracks time, shows search history, takes screenshots, and so much more! Full Review

Trial free period

No

Number of devices

Up to 10 devices

Website blocking

No

Social media monitoring

No

Screen time management

Yes

Location tracking

Yes

Alerts

Yes

Reports

No

Best Parental Control Software for 2020

Here’s a preview of our top nine picks:

  1. Qustodio – Best for geo-fencing
  2. Bark – Best parental control app for social media
  3. NetNanny – Best for location tracking
  4. Kaspersky Safe Kids – Best for PC
  5. Norton Family– Best parental control app for iOS
  6. Mobicip – Best for ChromeBook
  7. McAfee Safe Family – Best for Windows
  8. OpenDNS FamilyShield – Best for blocking adult content
  9. KidLogger – Best for Android

In addition to the nine solutions above, here’s what you’ll find in this article:

  • The methodology that I used to come up with the top nine solutions
  • Best use scenario, i.e., social media, teens, by device, and so forth
  • A comprehensive review of the nine software
  • Two honorable mentions
  • A buyer’s guide, i.e., what to look for when buying the software
  • How to fool-proof
  • The answers to your frequently asked questions

Read on to see the ideal software to protect your kids on the internet.

Methodology (How I Got My Top Nine Best Internet Parental Control Software)

See below the methodology that I used to find the most outstanding software on the market.

  1. I combed the internet to see available options with the necessary features such as;
    blocking, filtering, location tracking,  and monitoring. From the features, it was easy for
    me to narrow down to a couple of options.
  2. Finding out each software’s strong and weak points was my priority; hence I subscribed for
    accounts. Here, I experimented and tested each tool’s features to see if it delivered on its
    promises.
  3. After that, I read hundreds of reviews available on the internet to see different user
    experiences with each solution. From the positive and negative reviews, I was able to weed out
    the non-performers and concentrate on the best parental control apps that seemed
    promising.
  4. Being a parent, myself, I approached the situation from a point of view of what I would need
    from monitoring and controlling software. The following questions guided me further into
    compiling my top picks.
  • Does the software offer opportunities for parents to first test out the solutions before
    buying, either through trial-free periods or free accounts?
  • Does the software have all the features that I need, i.e., monitoring capabilities, screen
    time management, filtering, blocking, or location tracking?
  • Is the software easy to use, or is technical knowledge required?

Here is our top nine parental control software review.

Detailed Reviews

Qustodio
Qustodio

BEST FOR

Overall best parental control app.

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Best Offer
  • Panic button for Android
  • Call and SMS tracker for Android
  • Intuitive app
  • Supports both desktop and phone OS
  • Extensive monitoring features
  • Highly configurable

Qustodio has been in the market for several years now. The company developed this monitoring software to help parents have control over their children’s activities on the internet.

This software will eliminate every objectionable content that comes your child’s way as they do their e-learning, play games, talk to their friends on social media, name it. This tool is available to parents all over the world.

Monitoring capabilities

This Internet parental control software lets you monitor your child’s communication. For instance – incoming and outgoing calls, SMS, YouTube, or social media. Using the solution, you’ll always know the kind of content your child is consuming, who your child communicates with, and what they talk about at all times.

Blocking and Filtering

If the answer to any of the following questions, is yes, then Qustodio is the best software for you.

  • Are you worried that a sicko might take advantage of your younger child’s naivety?
  • Are you dealing with a cocky teenager?
  • Are you wondering whether it’s possible to block certain phone numbers or websites?

Well, Qustodio is one of the best parental control apps for both Android and iOS when it comes to blocking.

With this software, you can easily set specific filters, to block any unsuitable content even in private browsing mode.

Screen time management

Are you worried that your child might be spending too much time playing games or on social media? With this solution, you can set time limits indicating how much screen time your child gets every day. Not to mention, it’s better for your child’s psychical health to have some limitations. Keep in mind that smartphone use and depression are correlated, according to smartphone addiction statistics.

Location tracking

If you want to know where your child is at all times, you’ll be happy to know that this tool has a location feature. Qustodio does not only tell you where your child is but accompanies the location with a detailed map.

Also, the software allows you to save places that your kid(s) frequently visit. Note that the location tracker is only available on iOS and Android.

Advanced features

In addition to the more or less traditional features of a parental control app, Qustodio delivers even more.

Panic button

This feature lets your child press the panic button on their mobile if they ever need help. This action alerts up to four trusted adults indicating that your kid is in danger. The notification comes complete with details of where the kid is for an easier location.

Detailed reporting

Qustodio is one of the solutions on our best parental control app list because of its detailed reporting. You will get reports delivered daily or weekly straight to your inbox for further perusal in case you missed something. When it comes to protecting your kids from internet dangers, it’s always good to look at everything with a fine-tooth comb.

Available apps

This software supports Kindles, Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows devices. However, there have been reports that the apps don’t work well on iOS.

Most features, such as location tracking, work well with Android devices. The software also doesn’t work well with antivirus software, especially on Mac operating systems.

Ease of use

The setup process might be too much for a lot of people as it has several steps. However, the dashboard is quite easy to use. Everything is clear and easy to locate.

Pricing

Here are Qustodio’s pricing plans:

  • Small Plan – $54.95/year (protects up to 5 devices)
  • Medium Plan – $ 96.95/years (for up to 10 devices)
  • Large Plan – $137.95 (protects up to 15 devices)

Verdict

This parental control software goes past protecting your child from pornography. It comes with location tracking, panic button, communication access (text messages or WhatsApp), time limiting, blocking, and filtering, and so much more.

The software’s pricing is on the higher side, but considering all its robust features, it offers excellent value for money. The best part is that all the pricing tiers provide the same premium features. The only difference here is the number of devices that each plan accommodates.

Bark
Bark

BEST FOR

Monitoring social media profiles.

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  • Adjustable sensitivity settings
  • Monitoring 30+ apps and social accounts
  • Uses keywords to alert
  • Unlimited devices on all plans
  • Alerts (Text and email)
  • Interacts well with Google Suite

A group of psychologists and parents came together to develop Bark after the Parkland shooting. The software’s primary goal is to encourage conversations between parents and their kids.

This solution supports an unlimited number of devices, filters, monitors content, and sends automatic alerts whenever there’s an issue.

Monitoring capabilities

Bark is one of the best parental control software on our list because it monitors text, emails, and social media, including Google Docs. The solution keeps an eye on issues like online predators, violence amongst others as you go about your day, and only sends you alerts (text or email) when it detects a problem.

Blocking and filtering

Once you sign up, Bark allows you to customize your filters. Here, you can select websites to block from a list of 17 categories available such as pornography or violence

Screen time management

The internet can be an exciting place for kids. However, it is necessary to set healthy limits, and this software has that option. Depending on your setting, the software pauses internet access whenever your child needs downtime.

Advanced features

Here are Bark’s advanced features.

Check-in

Check-in comes in handy whenever your child is away. All you have to do is send your child a request, and they accept it to show that they’re fine. However, note that this feature doesn’t provide your child’s exact location.

Email monitoring

Most people overlook email monitoring, but this is the easiest way for a teenager to hide what they don’t want you to see. This feature sweeps email IDs, including Google Docs, to unearth anything that might be of concern.

Available apps

Bark is one of the best parental control software for Android, iOS, Windows, Chromebook, and Mac apps.

Ease of use

Bark is easy to set up. However, prepare to give your payment details before downloading the app. The dashboard is easy to use, whether it’s by allowing or blocking suspicious sites.

Pricing

Here are Bark’s premium plans:

  • Bark JR – $5/month
  • Bark – $14/month

Verdict

Bark is suitable for you if you’re looking for a solution that allows you to respect your child’s privacy while still monitoring them. The app allows you to filter unsuitable sites, control a wide range of social media platforms, text, MMS, and email. The software sends you alerts when necessary. 

Note that although the solution has a check-in option, it doesn’t give you your child’s exact location. Therefore, if your child is spending time with bad company or engaging in risky behavior, it’s hard to drop in any time to see who they’re with or what they’re doing.

Net Nanny
Net Nanny

BEST FOR

Advanced internet filtering.

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  • Instant reports
  • Pause button
  • Location tracking
  • Extensive blocking
  • Remote control
  • Masks profanity

Gordon Ross created Net Nanny in 1993. Ross got the inspiration to create the program after watching a sting operation on pedophiles soliciting children online.

Ross launched the first version in 1995, and it could filter profanities, block images, and filter web content. The current version does all the above and also allows remote parental control.

Monitoring capabilities

This is one of our best parental control app for all devices because it has a parental dashboard that allows you to monitor and control settings on your child’s device remotely at all times. This feature works on any internet-enabled device or web browser. Here you can track locations, review online searches, block websites, and monitor screen time.

Blocking and filtering

Net Nanny allows you to block apps, websites, or specific content categories you deem unfit for your child. The best thing here is that as much as you block some content for the younger children, you can still leave adult-appropriate content for your device.

Also, you never have to worry about new websites that come up with this software. The solution has advanced filtering tools that continue to filter content from upcoming sites in real-time.

Alerts and notifications

This software will send you email alerts every time your child tries to view inappropriate content. The system also sends you notifications regarding locations, screen time, and online searches.

Screen time management

If you’re worried that your kids are spending too much time on the screen, this parental control software is suitable for iPhone and other devices. Here, you can create curfews and schedules to ensure a healthy internet-use-life balance.

Location tracking

Net Nanny provides a map to show you where your kid is. The software gives not only a family map but also allows you to monitor and control each member’s device remotely.

Advanced features

The following are Net Nanny’s advanced features:

Family feeds

Through the “Family Feeds,” you can view what everyone is doing on their devices at a glance. This feature displays essential summaries like location and screen time.

Online search review

This software allows you to know what your child is currently searching for online. It not only lets you know what your child wants for Christmas, but it can flag serious issues to help you open up necessary conversations with your kids. The online search review will flag down searches on violence, pornography, drugs, suicide, and other unsuitable content.

Available apps

Net Nanny is one of our best parental control apps for multiple devices because of its high compatibility. You can download the app for:

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Kindle

Ease of use

Net Nanny is user-friendly software. All the controls are within easy reach, and setting the various parameters is stress-free.

Pricing

Net Nanny has no free version or trial free period, hence not suitable for you if you’re looking for the best free parental control software. The good news, however, is that all the plans have premium features. The only difference is the number of devices that you can connect. Here are the software’s premium plans:

  • 1 Desktop – $39.99/year (Windows and Mac)
  • 5 Devices – $54.99/year (Android, iOS, Kindle, Windows, and Mac)
  • 20 Devices – $89.99/year (Android, iOS, Kindle, Windows, and Mac)

Verdict

Net Nanny has advanced filtering tools that track and block new websites on your behalf 24/7/365. The software also has a location tracker, sends alerts, sends reports, and allows remote monitoring.

However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that this software doesn’t track video content, messages, keystrokes, and photos on your child’s phone. Also, note that Net Nanny doesn’t have a trial-free period.

Kaspersky Safe Kids
Kaspersky Safe Kids

BEST FOR

Setting up unlimited profiles.

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  • Geofencing
  • Unlimited devices and profiles
  • Free version
  • Affordable

Kaspersky Safe Kids falls under Kaspersky Lab’s suite of security products. The company developed the product after noticing that there was a need to filter content from the web to protect children.

This software blocks, monitors, and sends you alerts to ensure that your child is not stumbling on undesirable content.

Monitoring capabilities

This cellphone and computer parental control software allows you to monitor your kid’s activity on the internet, including YouTube. As much as this software covers a wide range of website categories, its social monitoring is only limited to VK (a popular social media site in Russia) and Facebook.

This feature allows you not only to see who your child has added as a friend or what they post but also to log in when necessary. Note that your child also has to consent to Facebook monitoring.

Blocking and filtering

Kaspersky has 14 categories of content that you can filter from your child. The system analyses your child’s age to decide which restrictions to configure.

Here you can block YouTube searches and unacceptable sites for content that relates to pornography, alcohol, violence, amongst others.

Alerts and notifications

Do you worry that your child may disable your access to their Facebook alert? Worry not because Kaspersky will send you an instant alert if that happens.

This software also will notify you if a child leaves a specific location, or accesses sites with questionable content.

What’s more?

The notifications are in real-time. Note that this feature is only available for the premium version.

Screen time management

Are you tired of fights during dinner, playtime, or bedtime? One of the reasons why Kaspersky appears on our list is because it allows screen time control.

Location tracking

This is one of the best parental control software because it shows you a clear map of where your child is at all times. This feature is essential in cases of kidnappings, or when your teenagers prefer to keep their location secret.

Advanced features

Here are Kaspersky Safe Kid’s advanced features.

Geo-fencing

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to define several areas that are okay for your child to visit? Well, the software allows you to pre-define these areas, and only sends you notifications if your child moves from that area. Note that this feature covers a 3-mile radius.

Available apps

Kaspersky has apps for Android and iOS.

Ease of use

This application has a clean user interface and is also user-friendly. However, you must remember to set up the proper profiles between parent and child. The requirement prevents children from changing settings without their parent’s knowledge.

Pricing

This free parental control software only allows one user. The software’s premium versions are as follows:

  • Kaspersky Security Cloud Personal (3 devices)- $53.15/year
  • Kaspersky Security Cloud Personal (5 devices) – $62.84/year
  • Kaspersky Security Cloud Family (20 devices) – $106.31/year

Verdict

Kaspersky’s free version manages screen time, filters, and blocks harmful YouTube and web content. The paid versions unlock features like location tracking, battery tracking, Facebook monitoring, and real-time alerts.

The good news is that this software is affordable, hence upgrading shouldn’t be a hassle.

It’s, however, hard to ignore the limitations when it comes to social media monitoring. Facebook and VK are the only social media sites that you can monitor with this software.

Norton Family
Norton Family

BEST FOR

Video monitoring.

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  • Video monitoring
  • Unlimited devices
  • Affordable
  • User-friendly

Norton Family is formerly known as the Online Family. This American software is cloud-based and is offers dedicated apps for Windows, Android, and iOS.

The Norton Online Family Advisory, a committee of childcare experts is behind this solution and released it in 2009. This software focuses on encouraging dialogue between parents and children.

Monitoring capabilities

Norton Family monitors websites that your child visits to see whether they’re accessing anything unsuitable. This software also monitors videos from YouTube and Hulu. However, note that this feature doesn’t work on Android and iOS devices.

Blocking and filtering

Surely the best parental control app for 2020 should allow blocking of harmful sites and categories. Norton Family has you covered.

What happens when an allowed site suddenly posts adverts with harmful content?

In that case, Norton Family will block that particular content but allow your child to view the rest of the content on the site.

Alerts and notifications

This software sends alerts regarding your child’s activities on the web. Ensure that you provide an email address to enjoy this feature.

Screen time management

Norton Family can help if you’re worried about how much time your child spends on the internet. The software allows you to set a suitable schedule and time limits for your kid’s internet access.

Location tracking

Norton Family offers location tracking on Android and iOS devices. This software uses GPS to triangulate positions so long as your child has access to either phone internet or WiFi. Note that this feature is only available only in the following countries:

  • USA
  • UK
  • South Africa
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Japan
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia

Advanced features

Here are the software’s advanced features.

App supervision

It’s not uncommon for teens to hide what they don’t want their parents to find out in apps. Norton Family is one of the best parental control apps for a teenager because it shows you a list of apps that your child has downloaded.

From there, you can either choose to restrict the apps or schedule timings.

Personal information protection

Hackers and other unsavory characters are always ready to take advantage of your kids, coercing them to give out personal details. Norton Family prevents your children from giving out sensitive data like their school, phone number, home location, or email address. Note that this feature is only available for Windows PC.

Video supervision

Video supervision provides you with a list of videos that your child watches on Hulu and YouTube and even lets you watch snippets. This feature is available for Windows, Android, and iOS.

Instant lock

You can use “Instant Lock” to ensure that devices stay off when your kids should have some downtime. You can set a pin so that you can unlock them later. This feature is available on Windows, Android, and iOS. Note that you have to download “Instant Lock” for iOS.

Search control

Would you like to know what your child searches for while surfing the internet? Norton Family allows search control, the reason why it’s one of the best parental control app cross platforms on our list. This feature works well on Android, iOS, and PC and covers popular search engines like:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Ask
  • YouTube

Available apps

Norton has Android, iOS, and Windows apps.

Ease of use

Installation and setup are easy with this software. However, ensure that you block guest mode to prevent a tricky kid from evading detection. The interface is clean, compact, intuitive, and sleek, with lots f white spaces making everything you need easy to spot.

Pricing

Are you looking for parental control software that’s free?

You’ll be happy to know that Norton has a six months trial-free offer running now. This is one of the most extended offers on any parental software, and it requires no financial commitment!

It’s unclear whether the company plans to introduce pricing after this offer from the Norton Family’s page.

Verdict

Norton is a big winner with its six-month trial free period. This software delivers on parental control, with features like monitoring, filtering, blocking, instant lock, video supervision, location, and time tracking.

One major limitation with Norton Family is that it requires you to maintain your child’s configuration by selecting each time your device restarts. Also, Android and iOS do not have text and phone call restrictions.

Note that some applications, such as app supervision or location tracking, are only available on Android. Also, location tracking is only limited to some countries.

Mobicip
Mobicip

BEST FOR

Child privacy protection.

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  • Invitation of other users for reviews
  • Child data privacy
  • Highly compatible with different OSs
  • Data encryption on WiFi

Mobicip comes from CIPA.

CIPA is an acronym for Children Internet Protection Act, a US government regulation that mandates secure browsing environments for kids in libraries and schools.

Since its inception, the software has been providing a safe internet environment for children while learning.

Monitoring capabilities

This software monitors your child’s device to ensure that they’re not accessing content that they shouldn’t.

Blocking and filtering

Are you worried that your child may come across inappropriate content while on the internet? Worry no more.

This internet software for parental control detects inappropriate URLs and social media networks using its advanced filtering. With this solution, you can also restrict apps and games that may distract your child during study time.

Alerts and notifications

Mobicip alerts you any time your child tries to request access to harmful sites. You can instantly reject the requests.

Screen time Management

Discourage internet and device addiction by limiting screen time with Mobicip. This software allows you to set schedules and lock devices when the time allocated elapses.

Location tracking

This parental control software for Chromebook, iOS Android, Windows, Kindle, and Mac helps track your child in real-time. It can also track lost devices.

Advanced features

Mobicip has even more to offer:

Reports

Do you want to know what topics your child browses? You can set up daily or weekly reports that come with screenshots.

Third-party invitation to view reports
  • Are you having a hard time determining whether some URLs appearing on your child’s report is age-appropriate?
  • Are you too busy to go through the reports?

Fortunately, this software allows you to go invite other users to view and analyze the data on the reports. Therefore, this could be the best parental control app for a teenage girl or boy if you’re concerned that they might be visiting inappropriate sites.

Available apps

The Mobicip app is available on Mac, Windows, Chromebook, Kindle, Android, and iOS.

Ease of use

This software has an intuitive interface that’s easy to set up and use. The dashboard allows users to monitor family devices at a go.

Pricing

Here are Mobicip’s premium plans and pricing;

  • Small -$3.33/month (5 devices)
  • Medium – $4.99/month (10 devices)
  • Large – $10.41/month (15 devices)

Note the company does annual billing for all its premium products.

Verdict

Mobicip is highly compatible compared to other software on our list. This solution tracks devices and locations, blocks, filters, sends reports, and alerts you in case of any irregularities.

However, note this software won’t track or block phone calls or messages. Also, Mobicip has no monthly billing option.

McAfee Safe Family
McAfee Safe Family

BEST FOR

Value for money.

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  • New app download blocking
  • Monthly payment option
  • Affordable
  • User-friendly
  • Geo-fencing capabilities
  • No activity record on iOS
  • Doesn't block web-based email creation
  • No uninstall protection on windows.

McAfee Safe Family is a comprehensive app that monitors, filters, blocks, and sends you a report regarding your kid’s internet activities.

This app also uses GPS to locate your child and notifies you once they arrive or leave an area. Also, use this software to set healthy screen limits for your children.

Monitoring capabilities

This parental control software for 2020 monitors your child’s activities on social media or websites. If your kids are becoming tricky and inserting questionable content into a chat box or email, this software will flag it down.

Blocking and filtering

It’s not uncommon for kids to set up new email addresses to evade their parents’ watchful eyes. McAfee Safe Family blocks your child from creating new emails from Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail.

Aside from email creation blocking, this software has over 35 categories that can guide you on sites to block. If you like, you can customize your own web topics to block. McAfee also allows you to prevent new app downloads.

Alerts and notifications

Get alerts every time your child leaves a familiar location or tries to bypass restricted activities. McAfee is one of the best parental control software for an iPhone because it notifies your children when screen time runs out.

Screen time management

With this software, you can set healthy screen time limits like hours or specific days. Here, you can also set specific times when your child can use their devices, for instance, after school or after lunch.

Location tracking

McAfee Safe Family provides you with a map regarding where your family members are at all times. You will get alerts any time any of your kids leave an area such as school or home. Remember to enable this feature on your iOS device; otherwise, it won’t work.

Advanced features

Here are McAfee’s advanced features:

Reports

This cell phone parental control software sends you reports that you can store on your computer local drive or secure server for later reference. The reports contain details like screen time, location, and activities.

Security tips

The company sends the latest online security tips to keep you and your family safe on the internet. McAfee experts compile the information to save you time that you might otherwise spend on research.

Available apps

McAfee apps are available on Windows, Android, and iOS.

Ease of use

McAfee Safe Family is easy to use. The software has an intuitive and uncluttered interface.

Pricing

If you need free parental time control software, this might not be ideal for you, but there are other options on our list that you can use. Here are McAfee’s plans and pricing:

  • Monthly – $ 7.99/year
  • Yearly – $49.99/year

Verdict

McAfee Safe Family offers reliable monitoring, blocking, filtering, reporting, and notification features. With this software, you can locate your child and get instant alerts when they arrive or leave an area.

However, note that this software doesn’t have a Mac version. Also, some features such as uninstall are not on the windows version, and there’s also no activity record on iOS.

OpenDNS Family Shield
OpenDNS Family Shield

BEST FOR

Blocking adult sites.

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  • Identity theft prevention
  • Easy to use
  • Free software
  • Doesn't make devices laggy

David Ulevitch founded OpenDNS in 2005. Cisco acquired OpenDNS Family Shield in August 2015 from OpenDNS at $636 million.

Family Shield blocks adult sites and works on any internet-enabled device.

Monitoring, blocking and filtering

This is a very good parental control software for PC and any other internet-connected device blocks. Still, you can’t re-configure the list of blocked sites with this software.

Since new sites come up every second, OpenDNS Family Shield updates its list 24/7. Therefore, rest easy knowing that this software covers your kids round the clock.

Advanced features

The following are the software’s advanced features:

Protection from phishing sites

This easy-to-use parental control software not only blocks unsuitable sites but also keeps hackers at bay. OpenDNS Family Shield thwarts any attempts to phish for information that may cause identity theft.

If your child accidentally tries to access a phishing site, the software will bring a pop-up that says the software has blocked the site because of phishing attempts.

Ease of use

If you’re not tech-savvy, you might need someone to set up and configure your devices. After that, the OpenDNS Family Shield is easy to use. All you have to do is turn on the software, and you’re good to go.

Pricing

If you need internet monitoring software that’s free, this is your best bet. There are no fees whatsoever.

Verdict

OpenDNS Family Shield is ideal for you if you’re looking for free software to block adult content on all your devices at home. However, note that this solution does not monitor your child’s location, block apps, manage screen time, or let you change blocked/permitted sites.

It’s paramount to note that if your kids are tech-savvy, they may set proxy servers. Also, children that want to evade detection can easily do so by changing DNS servers. Bearing that in mind, OpenDNS Family Shield is the best parental control app for toddlers and other younger kids who may accidentally stumble across porn sites.

Kidlogger
Kidlogger

BEST FOR

Taking screenshots and giving you gallery access.

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  • Takes screenshots
  • Allows gallery access
  • Take screenshots
  • Easy to use

SafeJKA S.R.L, a company that specializes in software security engineering, is KidLogger’s parent company. In 2001, the company started with surveillance software that collected data for scientific studies.

Later, the company developed KidLogger to protect children on the internet from pedophiles, bad content, and internet scams.

Monitoring capabilities

KidLogger is one of the parental control software for Android with the best web usage monitoring. This feature works across all major browsers like:

  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Opera
  • Safari
  • Chrome

The software also monitors phone calls, text messages, and chats on WhatsApp, Facebook, Viber, Skype. It collects phone numbers where applicable.

Alerts and notifications

KidLogger will send you instant notifications whenever your child types in keywords that fall under your monitoring list.

Screen time management

Set time limits that your kids spend on the internet with KidLogger. No more fighting during playtime, bed, or dinner time.

Location tracking

Do you want to track your child’s location at all times?

This feature uses Wi-Fi or GPS coordinates to track locations. Note that location tracking is only available for Android.

Advanced features

Let’s talk about KidLogger’s advanced features:

Takes screenshots

KidLogger is one of the best parental control software for laptops and PCs because it takes periodic screenshots of your child’s internet activities, including Skype, every 15 seconds. Note that this feature is only available on Windows and Mac OS.

Recording keystrokes

This software monitors keystrokes that your child enters on their devices. Note that this also includes text on the Windows clipboard.

Monitors external storage

Your child can use USB and DVD drives, plug-in external or flash drives, and still be on the safe side. This software prevents data leaks and also monitors the content in the devices.

Gallery access

This software allows you to see what type of photos your child takes or receives. Note that this feature is only available for Android devices.

Available apps

KidLogger apps are available for Android, Mac, iOS, and Windows.

Ease of use

KidLogger is an easy-to-use software with an intuitive interface.

Pricing

KidLogger is one of the best free parental control software for PC and other devices because it also has flexible payment options. Here are the software’s plans and pricing:

  • Basic – $0 (5 devices, keeps search history for nine days and has 9MB disk space)
  • Standard – $9/3 months, $17/6months and $29/years (5 devices, 30-day history, and 100MB disk space)
  • Professional – $29/3montth, $49/6months and $89/year (10 devices, 60-day history, and 500MB disk storage space)

Verdict

KidLogger tracks locations, monitors websites, prevents data leaks, tracks time, takes screenshots, and gives you gallery access.

Note that this software doesn’t offer app/website blocking and filtering options. Some features, like text and chat monitoring, are also only available for Android devices. Location tracking is available on iPhone and Android only.

Note that some antivirus suites flag Kidlogger as spyware/malware, but the app is secure.

Honorable mentions

To give you more variety, we also compiled two additional software to help with parental internet control. The following solutions are inbuilt for Windows and iOS.

1) Windows Family Safety

What is good about Windows Family Safety?

For starters, this software is free. It blocks inappropriate content, limits access to apps, movies, or games, and restricts screen time.

Why is Windows Family Safety not on the Top 9 list?

This software does not appear on the list above because it’s only limited to Windows devices.

In what situations is Windows Family Safety Applicable?

Use this software for Windows PCs, laptops, and phones.

In what situations is this software not applicable?

Do not consider using this Windows ten parental control software on Android, Mac, or iOS because it won’t be compatible.

Pros Cons
Free so long as you have a windows device Doesn’t support devices on non-windows operating systems
Online configuration Parents must create email accounts for each profile (Even for little kids)
Can locate a lost device No comprehensive details on blocked or filtered categories
Limited content filtering

2) MacOS built-in parental controls

What is good about MacOS built-in parental controls?

Apple created the parental controls to help parents control their kids' screen time and monitor the content that they consume. The comprehensive tools also monitor who kids communicate to flag down pedophiles, scammers, or bad company.

Why are MacOS built-in parental controls not on the top nine list?

The tools are not on our top nine list because they are incompatible with non-Mac operating
systems.

In what situation can you use MacOS built-in parental controls?

These parental controls are suitable for devices that run on Mac operating systems.

In what situations can't you use MacOS built-in parental controls?

Only use the controls if you have a device running on a Mac operating system.

Pros Cons
Blocks inappropriate content Not suitable for non-Mac devices
Helps locate lost devices
Helps allocate healthy screen time
Helps protect your child from bullies

Buyers Guide: How to Choose the Best Software to Protect Your Child

It can be overwhelming trying to buy the right software in a market full of options. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you pick the right one to suit your needs.

What do you need the software for?

Do you need to monitor teens? Do you need it to locate your child at all times? Some software may lack some essential features that you need; hence it’s necessary to evaluate each one carefully.

Some software like Qustodio or Bark is suitable for teens because they are foolproof. Others also don’t have location trackers hence might not work if you're dealing with tricky teenagers.

What do you want to monitor?

Bear in mind that no software can monitor all aspects. The best parental control app to monitor texts might not always track locations. Others are also good at tracking emails and chats, while are good for setting screen time.

Do you plan on talking to your kids about the software?

Honesty is always the best policy, especially when dealing with kids. Have an open dialogue with your children and explain in the best way that you need the software because the internet may be a dangerous place for them.

Otherwise, you may lose your kids trust. Bottom line, talk to them first so that they can always come to you if they ever need someone to talk to, without hesitation.

What is your budget?

Are you looking for a list of the best free parental control software, or can you afford to go for the more expensive ones? Some software like OpenDNS Family Shield is entirely free, while others like McAfee Safe Family have a free version. Others like Bark cost upwards of $99/year.

How to ensure that your parental control software is foolproof?

Some older kids may try to look for ways to evade detection. Here are some pointers to ensure that your software is effective.

  • Ensure no older devices are lying around your house because your teens might use them
    to evade detection. Consider using re-router level restriction.
  • Check your child’s iPhone to see if your child has downloaded additional apps. Go to Profiles and Device Management to view unknown profiles or app names, then delete them.
  • Use the screen time feature to stop your child from downloading forbidden apps or using the browser to log into them.
  • Restrict your child’s device from downloading VPNs, which can allow them to surf forbidden sites undetected.
  • Enable the screenshot feature to record anything that your kids do with their phones. Teens know how to send messages by sending pics.

Paid VS Free Parental Control Software

Are you wondering whether the parental control software freeware that you’ve just discovered is worth your time? It’s understandable if your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase premium software at this time.

However, plan to upgrade to a premium version as soon as you can for the following reasons;

  • Freeware is easy to crack, compared to premium versions that have topnotch security
    features.
  • Paid versions usually give access to more features compared to free ones.

Parental Control Software or an Antivirus suite with Parental Controls?

Are you wondering whether to buy a stand-alone parental control software or one that comes with antivirus software? Make the following considerations;

Budget

Parental control tools that come with antivirus are more expensive compared to their stand-alone
counterparts.

Attention to kids

Remember, parental control software’s sole purpose is to protect kids. All-in-one solutions may not give much attention to kids, and may mostly cater to preventing external threats only.

Parental controls vs. your kid’s privacy

Are you wondering whether you might invade your child’s privacy by using parental control software?

Worry not.

You are doing what’s best for your child.

Statistics show that a parental control app for 2020 is necessary for every household.

Global cyberbullying awareness is at 75%, meaning that the issue is rampant.

Another thing, more than 80% of kids today own mobile phones, which come with their own dangers. Your kid could access undesirable content such as drugs, pornography, or radicalization.

So, in a nutshell, privacy invasion shouldn’t worry you, rather the potential dangers.

Wrap up

Having any of the best parental control software is necessary to help protect your child while surfing on the net. Remember to have a conversation with your child regarding their installation to get your child fully onboard. You’ll be surprised at how easily your kid will cooperate with you, knowing that you trusted and respected them enough to notify them.

FAQ

What is the best parental control software?

Here are some top solutions that you can select from:

  • Bark
  • Qustodio
  • NetNanny
  • KidLogger
  • OpenDNS Family Shield
  • Norton Family
  • McAfee Family Shield
  • Kaspersky Safe Kids
  • Mobicip
How do I restrict my child's Internet access?

You can restrict your child’s internet access by installing parental control software that monitors, filters, and blocks unsuitable sites. Also, enable screen time protection to limit internet/device addiction.

Are parental control apps safe?

Although your antivirus may flag such apps as malware, most of them are safe. After all, they are a type of spyware. However, all the solutions on our list are 100% safe.

How do parental control apps work?

The best parental control software should filter, restrict and block access to certain apps or websites. Some apps also track locations and track messages, and phone calls to keep your kids safe.