Norton Family Review

Romj Amon
Romj Amon

Updated · Aug 03, 2022

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It’s surprising to find a product under the Norton umbrella with lots of skeptics. But the company’s parental control solution has been an overwhelmingly underrated one. Read this Norton Family review to know where its critics are coming from and why some of them are wrong.

Demo

Unavailable

Call Logging

Unsupported

Linkable Devices

Unlimited

Free Trial

30 days

App Blocking

Supported

Location Tracking

Supported

Messaging App Monitoring

Unsupported

Customer Support

Email, phone, social media, knowledge base, and forums

WORKS ON:

apple linux chrome mac-os android firefox windows
Norton Family logo

MINIMUM PRICE: $4.17/month

Visit Website
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Best for: Web supervision

Strengths
Strengths Excellent site blocking
Strengths Simple installation
Strengths Affordable and diverse plans
Strengths Highly responsive customer support
Weaknesses
Weaknesses No SMS, call, or social media monitoring
Weaknesses No suspicious text or photodetection
Weaknesses Limited video monitoring
Weaknesses Ineffective explicit-content filters

What Is Norton Family?

Norton Family (also known as Parental Control) is the Internet monitoring software of NortonLifeLock.

As a standalone product, it’s highly affordable. It’s also a component of robust suites designed to provide your family with a well-rounded cyber security solution.

Norton Family directly competes with the likes of Cocospy and mSpy. However, it doesn’t feel right to classify it as a spy app as it doesn’t covertly monitor children’s online activity, nor does it snoop into private messages in any way. At least not anymore.

Instead, it has a slew of supervision features to help children properly use the internet without going over the line.

Thanks to its reputation and long history of quality, Norton Family has been a sought-after app.

Having said that, it hasn’t captured the hearts of many users. Proof of it is the over 22,000 mixed Norton Family reviews across Google Play and the App Store. With average star ratings ranging from 1.4 to 3.5, there must be something missing in this software.

To find out what Norton Family’s shortcomings were, I tested it on my PC and Android phone.

Keep reading and see what I discovered.

Norton Family Features

Here’s a summary of Norton Family’s device compatibility and functionalities.

Supported Operating Systems

This parental control software works on Windows, Android, iOS, and iPadOS. The desktop and mobile OS versions it supports are as follows:

  • Windows 7 and up (except for Windows 11/10 in S mode)
  • Android 6 and up
  • iOS 11 and up
  • iPadOS 11 and up

You can’t use Norton Family on any Mac computers or Fire tablets yet. If your kids use any of those, you’re better off with FamiSafe or FlexiSPY.

Despite being a certified iPhone parental monitoring app, you can’t use Norton Family on your iOS devices in certain locations.

At the moment, no less than 34 countries and territories ban Norton Family from working on iPhone models. China, Macau, and South Korea are the most notable ones.

Device Connections

The number of devices you can monitor with Norton Family depends on the plan you choose. You have four options with the following maximum device count for each:

  • Family Premier: unlimited
  • Norton 360 Deluxe: 5
  • 360 with LifeLock Select: 5
  • 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus: 10

Supported Browsers

To maximize the supervising capacity of the Norton Family software, your children must use any of the following browsers:

  • On Windows
    • Chrome
    • Firefox
    • Edge
    • Internet Explorer
  • On Android
    • Chrome
    • Norton Family Parental Control
  • On iOS and iPadOS
    • Norton Family Parental Control

Enabling the software’s extensions for corresponding third-party web browsers is necessary to do web, search, and video supervision on your PC.

Norton Family’s native browser needs no additional installation. Its mobile app automatically turns into the browser when you specify that the device it’s on is your child’s.

Since this parental control software works only on certain browsers, it’s best to uninstall the unsupported ones. Otherwise, Norton Family can’t block dangerous sites, monitor search queries, or track watch histories.

Fortunately, it can notify you when your kids do use unsupported browsers. This way, you know when they’re trying to hide something and when it’s time to have a talk with them.

House Rules

The house rules define the parameters of what your kids can do online.

For the most part, you have to manually set them. But when you create a profile for your child, Norton Family will ask you to choose from four restriction levels.

Your choice tells the parental Internet monitoring software which web categories to flag as inappropriate in regards to your children’s age. The default house rules establish daily screen time limits too.

Web Supervision

The Norton Family app can monitor what content your children are browsing through and deny access to forbidden sites.

This Internet filtering software classifies websites into 48 categories, ranging from advertising to webmail. Depending on your chosen restriction level, it could block up to 28 categories right off the bat.

Here are the restriction levels Norton Family recommends for different age ranges and their default house rules:

  • Very high
    • 7 years old and below
    • Disallowed categories: 28/48
    • Supervision strategy: Block banned and uncategorized sites
  • High
    • 8 to 11 years old
    • Disallowed categories: 26/48
    • Supervision strategy: Block banned and uncategorized sites
  • Moderate
    • 12 to 14 years old
    • Frowned-upon categories: 22/48
    • Supervision strategy: Allow access to frowned-upon and uncategorized sites, but send a warning
  • Low
    • 15 to 17 years old
    • Frowned-upon categories: 18/48
    • Supervision strategy: Allow access to frowned-upon and uncategorized sites, but monitor browsing history

Again, these restriction levels are merely recommendations. Use your best judgment, and customize them according to the individual child.

Time Supervision

With this feature, you can regulate the allowed daily screen time so that your kids can unplug and engage in healthier habits.

Of course, you control when and how long your children use their electronic devices. Even so, you can defer to Norton Family and adopt its recommended computer, tablet, and phone usage periods.

Generally, this children monitoring software suggests 2 hours a day during weekdays and 5 hours during weekends across all ages. If you disagree with those numbers, you can always adjust the times to fit your specific case.

Search Supervision

Using this monitoring option, you can gain insight into your children’s interests through their search queries. The sooner you learn about any negative tendencies, the quicker you can address them.

This software can also leverage the built-in filters of Google, Bing, Yahoo!, YouTube, and Ask. Norton Family’s remote web filter control can hide adult-oriented content from search results. Using your device, you can activate them in one fell swoop.

Video Supervision

This functionality keeps you in the loop with what your children are watching on YouTube and Hulu.

But there’s one problem:

This parental monitoring software for cell phones, tablets, and computers can only monitor videos streamed on its supported browsers. If your kids use YouTube and Hulu apps, you’ll be clueless about what they’re watching.

Mobile App Supervision

Using this feature, you can keep an eye on the Android apps your children download and use. Not only that, it gives you the authority to set restrictions and the ability to monitor app usage.

As their personal Google Play gatekeeper, you can shield your kids from malicious or inappropriate applications.

Access Request

Say your children aren’t happy with any of your house rules. They can send you a note to complain about whatever they don’t think is fair.

This option gives your kids an opportunity to justify themselves. You don’t have to honor their wish, but at least they can express their opinions and feel that they’re being heard.

Location Supervision

With Norton Family’s phone locator, you can build geofences and be aware of your young ones’ whereabouts.

Using Favorite Locations, you can pick landmarks and/or designate safe as well as dangerous areas on a map. You can set the boundary within a radius of up to 10,500 feet of your chosen location. Plus, you can opt to receive an update on when they enter or exit your geofences.

With Alert Me, you can tell Norton Family to notify you of the location of your monitored devices at any chosen time and date.

Unfortunately, Location Supervision is unavailable in 27 countries, all of which are in Europe.

Instant Lock

In an instant, you can paralyze all of the monitored devices saved in your child’s profile as you see fit. This measure can effectively disrupt their online activity, especially when they bypass your house rules by using unsupported browsers.

If you’re supervising multiple children, you’ll need to enable Instant Lock in each profile. There’s no other way to force all of the kids you’re monitoring to go offline.

To lift the access restriction, you can instantly unlock the affected devices on your end. Or, you can let your kids use the PIN saved to their profiles.

This parental monitoring app automatically generates a random four-digit PIN when you create a new profile. If you want, it can be changed at any time.

Furthermore, you can save up to six emergency contacts your children can call to help unlock their Android devices.

Parent Portal

There are two ways to manage your account: the Web portal and the Parent Mobile app.

The first one is cloud-based, which means you have to use a desktop or mobile browser to log onto the Norton Family page. From there, you can virtually monitor your kids and adjust smartphone parental controls whenever you like.

The second one is using the Norton Family app on your own mobile device.

The Web portal is more convenient for checking on your children and making changes to house rules, while the app works better on the go. 

Invitations

Sometimes, keeping a close eye on your kids’ online activity is too much for one person. Thankfully, you can ask your spouse to share the responsibility.

Be it on the Web portal or the Parent Mobile app, sending an email invitation is a piece of cake.

Alerts and Notifications

Norton Family automatically alerts you whenever your children visit a blocked site and sends you an access request.

Likewise, surfing the Web using an unsupported browser can trigger an alert on the Web portal. However, this teen monitoring software didn’t consistently bring unwanted browsing activity to my attention.

In testing, Norton Family sent an alert only when I used DuckDuckGo on my Android phone. I didn’t receive an update when I browsed the internet with Firefox on the same device, which was supposedly not allowed. My Firefox usage appeared on the Mobile App Supervision tab, though.

On your Web portal dashboard, this screen monitoring app displays all alerts across all of the profiles you created. But you can easily filter them and view child-specific updates.

Furthermore, you can opt-in and out of Parental App push notifications.

If you don’t want to get notified about all general activities, you can choose to be updated on critical events only. Meddling with a monitored device’s settings is a good example of critical action.

Apart from that, Norton Family can send you email notifications about the activities you specify. If you prefer to receive the updates in a different inbox, you can use another email address. 

Activities and Reports

Each supervision tab displays a history of activities. Some tabs have filters to make it easier to view relevant events only. It can take a couple of minutes for this internet filtering software to report activity, though.

Each activity list can go back as far as 30 days. All recorded events older than 30 days don’t appear on the Web portal. But you can get a detailed activity report via email every week, month, or both.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

To make your account more secure, set up 2FA. Adding a second factor into the equation makes it more difficult for unauthorized users to hijack your account.

The 2FA options you can use are as follows:

  • Mobile authenticator app
  • Security key
  • Mobile number

This internet monitoring software recommends the first two because text messages containing security codes are prone to interception.

Fortunately, you can use two authentication methods. You can designate one as primary and the other as secondary in case the first one fails.

Also, you can regenerate single-use backup codes. Producing new ones automatically renders the old ones invalid.

Norton Family Advanced Features

Except for School Time, this children monitoring software doesn’t do anything remotely extraordinary.

School Time

Designed for remote learning, this feature can help eliminate all distractions when your children are studying.

School Time’s default house rules reduce the allowed web categories from 48 to 7 and specify the handful of browsable sites. Of course, you can expand the list and restrict more as you please.

Normally, this feature is scheduled. It kicks in only during specific hours and days. But the Instant School Time button lets you enforce it when you want.

You can freely set its duration from 30 minutes to 8 hours. Norton Family will inform you when the day’s scheduled School Time approaches and comes to an end.

Blocking and Filtering

With Norton Family protection in place, sites falling under blocked web categories are automatically denied access. Plus, you can blacklist individual web addresses your house rules don’t cover.

To ensure that the blocked sites are off-limits to your children, they have to use a browser Norton Family supports.

Your kids can get around these web restrictions by using unsupported browsers. So, make sure to delete them all and monitor the apps they download. 

I can attest that this software’s site blocking feature worked like a charm even when Chrome was in Incognito mode.

However, its adult content filters were a disappointment. I was still able to Google explicit images and videos on a supported browser on my Android phone.

Aside from regulating your children’s browsing activity, you can also control their mobile app usage.

But to utilize this feature, your kids must be using an Android device. It isn’t part of Norton Family’s iPhone monitoring capabilities yet.

To set mobile app usage restrictions, you can use Norton Family Parental Control on your Android device, iPhone, or iPad.

Interface and Ease of Use

Let’s start with the positives.

Norton Family’s setup process is painless. You can sign up for the Norton Family Premier free trial in less than a minute. Norton accepts disposable email addresses during registration, so you can keep your personal one private.

After confirming your email address, you can start adding your children’s devices and setting house rules right away.

Although you need physical access to your kids’ electronics, you don’t need to jailbreak or root any target device. You can expect all advertised features to be available immediately.

Both the Web portal and the Parent Mobile app have clean, familiar interfaces. They’re easy to navigate, which means you don’t need to be tech-savvy to set everything up.

The Web portal in particular organizes data very well. It makes the highlights of all supervision tabs prominently visible. So, you can see the most relevant information at a glance.

Now, here are the negatives.

The teen monitoring software has the option for unilateral uninstallation. This means your children can seamlessly get rid of it without any hoops to jump through.

Sure, this critical event won’t go unnoticed since you’ll get an alert about it. However, Norton Family does promise to prevent unpermitted uninstallation when you set your children’s profiles up on Android.

Occasionally, the Web portal can become non-responsive as well.

After a period of inactivity, a window appears to ask whether you want to remain signed in. When I encountered this pop-up, it didn’t respond to my request to keep me connected.

In some instances, the Web portal didn’t load - I had to close the tab on Chrome and start over.

The software’s bugginess has been the main complaint of relatively recent Norton Family reviews. Although I experienced some clunkiness, it didn’t necessarily ruin my experience.

Customer Support

Norton offers chat, phone, and social media support 24/7. These options are available to Norton Family free trial users and premium subscribers.

To speak with an agent, you have to fill out a form first. You have to submit your name, email, phone number, and issue description before you can get assistance. I found this to be a hassle since most companies use a chatbot that can immediately connect me to a human representative.

So, I reached out to Norton through Messenger instead. I was able to get a hold of someone quickly and got helpful replies to my concerns.

By the way, Norton has no links to its social media accounts on its Support page. So, you’ll have to search a bit and hope that the company’s help desk has a presence on your preferred platform.

In terms of self-service options, Norton’s massive knowledge base is at your disposal. With its wide range of topics, chances are that you can find answers to your questions.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can go to Norton Forums. You can ask the company’s global community or browse through hundreds of pages of threads about all things related to Norton Family.

Norton Family Pricing

There’s no such thing as a Norton Family free edition. It’s available as a premium service only.

You can buy it as a standalone product or as part of a bigger package. Overall, you have four plans to choose from.

Norton Family can come in monthly and annual subscriptions.

To reduce the risk of your purchase, you can sign up for the 30-day Norton Family Premier free trial. With no payment information required, so you won’t be charged if you just let it expire.

Depending on your chosen subscription, you may enjoy a discount of 14% to 66% for your first month or year.

So, how much would it cost to subscribe to this premium parental control service? Have a look at the monthly Norton Family pricing plans below.

Norton Family Premier:

  • $4.17/month

Norton 360 Deluxe: 

  • Monthly:
    • $9.99
  • Annual:
    • $2.92/month (introductory)
    • $8.75/month (renewal)

Norton 360 with LifeLock Select

  • Monthly:
    • $9.99 (introductory)
    • $14.99 (renewal)
  • Annual:
    • $8.29/month (introductory)
    • $12.50/month (renewal)

Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus

  • Monthly:
    • $29.99 (introductory)
    • $34.99 (renewal)
  • Annual:
    • $24.99/month (introductory)
    • $29.17/month (renewal)

Norton uses geo-blocking. So, your region dictates the Norton Family price rates available to you. If you use a virtual private network, you can obscure your location, look for lower subscription rates, and save money.

To place your order, you can pay with card. Norton supports debit and credit cards issued by either Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, or JCB. You can use Google Pay or PayPal during checkout too.

The features of Norton Family software vary by platform. Here is what elements you can expect to have when using it on the following operating systems:

Windows
  • School Time
  • Web Supervision
  • Time Supervision
  • Search Supervision
  • Video Supervision
  • Instant Lock
  • Parent Portal
  • Access Request
  • Monthly/Weekly Reports
  • Email Alerts
Android
  • School Time
  • Web Supervision
  • Time Supervision
  • Search Supervision
  • Video Supervision
  • Mobile App Supervision
  • Location Supervision
  • Favorite Locations
  • Alert Me
  • Instant Lock
  • Parent Portal
  • Parental Mobile App
  • Monthly/Weekly Reports
  • Email Alerts
iOS/iPadOS
  • School Time
  • Web Supervision
  • Time Supervision
  • Search Supervision
  • Video Supervision
  • Location Supervision
  • Favorite Locations
  • Alert Me
  • Instant Lock
  • Parent Portal
  • Parental Mobile App
  • Access Request
  • Monthly/Weekly Reports
  • Email Alerts

If you’re not totally satisfied with this service, you can request a full refund. Norton’s monthly and annual subscriptions come with 14 and 60-day money-back guarantees.

Norton Family Review - Verdict

Without a doubt, Norton Family isn’t for every parent.

I don’t think you’d gravitate toward it if you want more invasive spying features. Certain functionalities like SMS, call, and social media monitoring as well as suspicious text and photo detection are sorely missing from this software’s repertoire.

Having said that, Norton Family is a pleasure to use. For the most part, it proficiently does what it promises to do. Its unfailing site-blocking capability is a great case in point.

Contrary to the negative testimonials from some unhappy users, I found its installation process seamless. Perhaps due to its limited functionality, I didn’t have to root my Android phone to unlock its full potential.

Granted, the Norton Family web search filter control was a letdown. But its customer support is available all day every day and is extremely responsive. Convenient technical assistance is just a click away.

Despite Norton Family’s limitations (including its poor video supervision ability), its inclusion in powerful software suites makes it incredibly cost-effective. Norton’s bundles can protect your children more effectively while costing the same as or less than one-dimensional spy app subscriptions.

I encourage you to give it a try and see whether it’s the right companion for you and your family.

FAQ.


What does Norton Family do?

Norton Family can monitor what and how your children surf the Web.

It can help you regulate your kids’ browsing habits and mobile app usage. Using it, you can control their screen time and keep an eye on their whereabouts.

Unlike other spy apps, Norton Family lacks monitoring capabilities that border on personal privacy violations. It can’t snoop into your children’s calls, text messages, notes, calendars, and social media conversations.

Can Norton Family see incognito?

Yes. Norton Family can detect and block banned sites viewed while using Chrome’s Incognito mode. 

Therefore, your kids won’t be able to browse banned content on their Windows or Android devices.

Can my child uninstall Norton Family?

Yes. Your kid can uninstall Norton Family like any regular app without any roadblock stopping them.

Although when this parental control app gets removed, you’ll get an alert about it.

So even though your young ones can uninstall Norton Family without your permission, they can’t totally get away with it. The fear of getting busted may discourage them from disabling this app!

How good is Norton Family?

Norton Family is suitable for parents who want to encourage their children to use the internet responsibly.

If your goal is to keep them out of inappropriate and malicious sites, you’ll find this app useful.

Its site-blocking capability works without fail. Our Norton Family review, however, revealed that it struggles to remotely activate the adult-content filters of major search engines.

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Romj Amon

Romj Amon

Romj is a veteran copywriter who used to be a Jack of all trades. Now, he's trying to be a master of one: technology. He jumps down the rabbit hole to size the latest innovations up. As a content contributor for TechJury, he hopes to help you keep up in our fast-paced world with his discoveries.

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