The 9 Best Parental Control Apps for iPhone: Free / Paid

Our PicksQustodioAT&T Secure FamilyFamiSafeVerizon Smart FamilyGoogle Family LinkT-Mobile FamilyModeunGlue
Editors’RatingEDITORS’ CHOICE4.2 Editor Review4.5 Editor Review4.5 Editor Review4.2 Editor Review4.2 Editor Review4.0 Editor Review
Free VersionYes, TrialTrialTrialTrialTotally FreeTotally FreeTrial
Device Limits5/10/155/10/155/10/155/10/155/10/153/5/101/5/20
Per-User SettingsYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Web FilteringApps, Sites, Adult Content and more.Apps, Sites, Adult Content and more.Apps, Sites, Adult Content and more.Apps, Sites, Adult Content and more.Apps, Sites, Adult Content and more.Apps, Sites, Adult Content and more.Apps, Sites, Adult Content and more.
Screen Time ManagementYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
GeofencingYesYesYes____
Social Network MonitoringFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and MoreFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and MoreFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and MoreFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and MoreFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and MoreFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and MoreFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and More
Remote ManagementYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Supports WindowsYesYesYesYes___
Supports macOSYesYesYesYes____
Supports AndroidYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Supports iOS
Where to BuyQustodio BuyCheck NowCheck NowCheck NowCheck Now

Are you looking for the best parental control app for your child’s iPhone? The iOS App Store has thousands of product, so how do you know which one is the best and will keep your kids safe on their device?

The Best Parental Control Apps for iPhone- Free - Paid
These are the 9 Best Parental Control Apps for iPhone- AT&T Secure Family, Qustodio, FamiSafe, Verizon Smart Family, unGlue, Google Family Link, Bark, MMGuardian, T-Mobile FamilyMode

Parental control – This can be a cheerful or frustrating topic. If you have kids, then you are probably aware that almost all of the iPhone apps released today are not suitable for them. It is possible to control the apps your kids use on their iPhone but it does not come built in. In fact, there’s no software that can help you do this on their device. Therefore, many parents try to find a way to control the apps used on the iPhones of their kids.

Every year parents around the world look for a way to keep their children safe, particularly when looking at smartphones. According to offcom regarding life with children, 84% of parents have worries about their kids using their iPhone. 20% said they assumed their child was using apps or going to inappropriate websites, many assumed social media related apps as the main cause. These are some things to watch out for with your child and manage your child’s iPhone accordingly.

Some of the best parental control apps for iPhone work on top of your existing device. These apps can help you limit the time spent on iPhone and enforce the use of parental controls to kids. To help you make an informed choice, here are a few apps which utilize this monitoring technique.

Parental control apps are among the most useful apps around. Parents can monitor their children’s activity, usage and conversations on their wireless devices. But using the best parental control apps takes a little work. We all know how important it is to keep a close eye on our children’s activities.

As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure that they are safe and secure wherever they go. This includes the internet as well; we want them to be safe while surfing the web and not come across any inappropriate content or sites that could harm their development as individuals.

These are the 9 Must have Parental Control Apps for iPhone –

  1. AT&T Secure Family
  2. Qustodio: Best reporting dashboard
  3. FamiSafe
  4. Verizon Smart Family
  5. unGlue – Parental Control App
  6. Google Family Link
  7. Bark: Best overall
  8. MMGuardian: Best text monitoring
  9. T-Mobile FamilyMode 

1. AT&T Secure Family – Find family and block apps on iPhone

BEST RATED iPHONE PARENTAL APP
AT&T Secure Family - Find family and block apps on iPhone

Features

AT&T Secure Family helps you manage your family’s smartphones, tablets and computers

With Secure Family, you can monitor the screen time for each kid’s device

Block inappropriate apps and websites using age ratings or customize your own settings

Set limits on where they can go, get alerts when they leave or enter a location like school or home and even track them on demand through their device.

Automatically filter content based on your child’s age range. Content Filter categories includes - Objectionable Content, Social Media, Message, Games, Downloads, Videos, Malware, and Other
Automatically filter content based on your child’s age range. Content Filter categories includes – Objectionable Content, Social Media, Message, Games, Downloads, Videos, Malware, and Other

AT&T Secure Family is a parental control app for iOS devices that can be used to manage your child’s mobile device. It provides you with a wide range of controls, including the ability to block apps, monitor app usage and access, send messages and more.

You can use AT&T Secure Family to block specific apps on your child’s phone or tablet. This allows you to restrict their access to certain apps while still allowing them to use the rest of the device’s functionality. For example, if you don’t want your child having access to social media sites, you could block them from Facebook or Twitter while still allowing them to use other apps such as email or messaging programs.

Pros and Cons of School Web Filtering

Keep tabs on the content your child is able to access. You can manually block websites that you do not want your child device visiting
Keep tabs on the content your child is able to access. You can manually block websites that you do not want your child device visiting
  • Get more control over your family’s smartphone, tablet and computer use.
  • For example, you can decide that you want to limit your kids’ screen time to two hours on weekdays (and get alerts whenever they go over) and no time at all on weekends.
  • You can choose to get alerts every time one of your kids goes to an R-rated website or app – or block all R-rated content completely. And if you ever want to find out where they are – or keep an eye on where they’ve been – location tracking keeps you up-to-date.

AT&T Secure Family also includes tools that allow you to see what sites your children visit, track their location and even see their call logs. You can view this information in real time as it is happening or look at historical data over a longer period of time if needed.

The app also allows parents to send alerts when their kids use data on their phone, which can help prevent overage charges. And you can use the app to set limits on how much time your kids spend using their devices, so they don’t become too dependent on them.

Track your kids' locations in real time, or get arrival-departure alerts.
Track your kids’ locations in real time, or get arrival-departure alerts.

With the AT&T Secure Family app, you can:

Block access to websites and apps — whether those sites are blocked by category or specific site names. You can also block specific apps installed on your child’s device, including games and other programs that might distract them from homework or other responsibilities. The parental controls are customizable based on age and device type (Android or iOS).

Monitor your child’s location — if you’re concerned that your child might be in danger, this feature could prove useful. You’ll receive alerts if your child leaves school grounds without permission or goes somewhere unsafe (like an abandoned building). You’ll also get notifications when they arrive at home safely from school or another location. If you have multiple children, you can set up custom locations for each one of them.

View up to 7 days of location history Limit or block internet during specified times
View up to 7 days of location history Limit or block internet during specified times

Locate Family – provides real-time locations for family members, including who’s on the way and who’s at home.


Location Alerts – get location alerts based on arrival and departure from places that are important to you, like school and work.


Location History – get a glimpse of recent locations to know where family members have been over time.

you can view child web and app activity. Activity will include up to 7 days’ history of child’s web and app activity.
you can view child web and app activity. Activity will include up to 7 days’ history of child’s web and app activity.


Limit Screen Time – choose when your child or family member can use their device. You can also set a daily maximum time limit and create “bedtimes”.

Why do Schools Block everything?


Content Filters – set limits and block access to certain types of apps and content on your child or family member’s device.


Web and App Activity (NEW) – set limits with new web filters to block categories of websites, or choose apps that you want to block during certain times of day. Also receive email alerts when a blocked website is attempted or when a blocked app is attempted to be opened.

Pricing

If you’re still looking for a way to limit how long your kids spend on their phones, come see what AT&T Secure Family can do for you. It’s free for the first 30 days, along with support for up to ten lines. Once the trial period passes, you will be billed $7.99 each month.

With smartphone ownership growing rapidly among youth, the need to address smartphone risks is also increasing. Parents are looking for solutions to help parents see what their kids do on their smartphones and manage use. One option is a family tracking app.

Once your child’s device is paired with the AT&T Secure Family Companion app, you can set a schedule to limit your child’s internet access.
Once your child’s device is paired with the AT&T Secure Family Companion app, you can set a schedule to limit your child’s internet access.

We’ve looked at AT&T Secure Family, which delivers much of what it promises: it’s easy to set up, works well and provides features beyond just tracking (such as blocking particular applications). However, this product does have some limitations: for example, you can’t share usage reports with multiple parents (such as splitting custody) unless you subscribe to AT&T’s full mobile service. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a way to manage your kids’ phone use, this is an excellent choice worth considering.

With the Secure Family Plan, they have taken the opportunity to offer a service that is unique and helpful to parents. As Cell Phones have become an integral part of our children’s lives, it makes sense that there would be a way for parents to track their activity as well as set limits on when and how much they can use them during the day. Not only will you know where your children are at any time, you have control over what they are doing while they are out of your sight. For anyone who has ever experienced a moment of panic brought on by their child’s misplacing or abuse of a cell phone-the AT&T Secure Family plan solves that problem.

Best Browsers with Parental Controls

I felt that the AT&T Secure Family tagline really summed up what this app aims to do. It allows parents to track their child’s phone use on a deeper level, from simply tracking them and seeing where they are to managing them so that they have less access to the phone. Overall, it’s a good app for people who want more parental control over their kid’s phones and it’s free for the first month.

2. Qustodio – The best parental control app for iPhone right now

Editor’s Choice Parental Control App
Qustodio - The best parental control app for iPhone right now
Qustodio – The best parental control app for iPhone right now

Features

You can set up time limits and set the application to lock itself so that your child cannot access any other apps or settings.

Receive instant alerts when an unsuitable app is downloaded

Track your children’s location. Keep track of your kids’ online activities

Monitor how many hours per day your child uses each app. Qustodio parental control helps you monitor and even set restrictions with regard to apps and devices

Qustodio’s parental control tools help reduce the risks your kids face online.
Qustodio’s parental control tools help reduce the risks your kids face online.

Tips for Limiting Your Child’s Screen Time

Qustodio isn’t just a Parental Control app, it is the best parental control app out there right now.

The Qustodio parental control app is a fantastic tool for managing your family’s iPhone usage. It gives parents the ability to remotely set time limits and monitor app usage on their kids’ phones. The software can block unsuitable apps, games, websites and even social media accounts. You can also set up a web-based dashboard to monitor everything from computer or mobile phone. If you’re looking for an app that will help you manage your child’s phone activities, Qustodio would be my first choice.

You can also set a time limit within Qustodio.
Setting a time limit is an optional feature that allows parents to set a specific amount of time for which their child can use the Internet on their device. For example, you can set your child’s tablet to allow only 15 minutes of Internet per day, or you can allow them to play games for one hour each night. Of course, when that time runs out the device will automatically shut down.

The biggest problem with kids is that it’s not easy to keep an eye on their activities. It takes hours to set up a comprehensive parental control program — and it can cost a lot too! With Qustodio for Family, though, it’s a whole new story. When you add Qustodio for Family to your family’s mobile devices, you’ll have an app that lets you set time limits on different apps and web sites.

You can also block those apps and web sites when the time limit is reached. In short, there’s no more need to worry about how much time your kids spend in front of their phones or tablets — because with Qustodio for Family, your kids will be safe!

Qustodio offers a feature called Family Screen Time Limit. This is a self-imposed time limit for the entire device, and it can be used by multiple users. To access this feature, click on the Settings icon in the top right corner of your screen. Then, click on the “More” button next to “Restrictions” and select “Family Screen Time.” You will then see a screen that allows you to set limits for each user individually as well as globally!

Locate family Know where your kids are at any time
It’s the all-in-one family safety solution that provides remote access and location tracking anywhere, anytime.

The first two options allow you to set up a specific amount of time per day (daily) or week (weekly). For example, you can set up your child’s iPad so that they can only use it for 30 minutes per day and then lock it down after that time has passed. The third option is to enable Do Not Disturb Mode at certain times during the day or night, which will prevent them from using their device until you unlock it again!

Ways to Keep Kids Safe from Cyberbullying

This feature is great for both parents who want to ensure their children are getting enough sleep at night as well as teachers who need to ensure that their students are not distracting themselves from class with their phones in hand.

The Kids App Qustodio companion app allows you to:

The Kids App Qustodio companion app allows you to:

  • Monitor your kids’ activity on their mobile device. You can see what they’re doing, where they are and who they are talking to. Monitor your child’s device activity in real time.
  • See a detailed list of all the websites visited, apps used and games played on their device.
  • See which contacts they have added or deleted from their address book and block certain contacts if you wish.
  • Block unwanted websites or apps. You decide which sites and apps are allowed or blocked on the device. And you can choose whether to approve or block individual web pages or entire categories of content.
  • Control screen time with a daily limit for each child. The app will send you notifications when your child is approaching their screen time limit and when it has been reached so that you don’t have to worry about it again until tomorrow!
  • Set custom rules for specific activities such as homework, studying or playing games… and turn them off automatically when those activities are complete.
  • Block games that you consider inappropriate for your child using our unique game blocking feature which works with all major game stores (e.g., Google Play Store, Apple App Store, Microsoft Store). You can even set a time limit on when they can play games so they don’t spend too much time playing at once!

Track calls & SMS for Android and iOS
Protect their phones, track the calls and the SMSs they receive and make. You can even block websites and apps according to a list of categories.

Choosing the right parental control software for your family is crucial for safeguarding your children’s privacy and comfort. Qustodio Free provides free monitoring for one device, so try it out if you want to manage just one device with basic features. Alternatively, upgrade to the Premium package with access to more features and unlimited devices for better management of your family’s digital relationship. Compatible with iOS, Android and Windows 10.

Qustodio’s newest and most exciting feature is considered to be those that are included in their Premium versions. Those added features include new YouTube Monitoring, Family Locator geolocation kid tracker (can also “find my device”), App blocker (block by app or category), 30-day reporting history, and Advanced Facebook Monitoring.

The future of QUSTODIO is looking bright, but there are a few roadblocks that the company still needs to overcome. The app could use more customization options, and it would be nice if the app blocked sites and search engines by categories as well. Meanwhile, it would be helpful if the app could be configured to mitigate risky browsing habits—for example, it could create an alternative browser for things like gambling so that kids can’t access them accidentally. There’s also no way for parents to see which sites have ad blockers or anti-tracking features enabled. Nonetheless, Qustodio is a robust parental control offering that’s sure to deliver.

There are a lot of cool features to like about Qustodio. I find their anti-phishing protection, the bullying and social media monitoring, and the geolocation features to be particularly attractive. But if there’s one feature that you should care the most about, it’s probably the extra attention that they devote to the youngest users.

I know that younger kids present a particular challenge for parents and educators, and it certainly doesn’t help that big companies like YouTube don’t feel like they’re doing enough to protect kids from inappropriate content on their site. If you want to better protect your kids from harmful content online, Qustodio is a solid choice. Even if you only have one child, it might still be worthwhile to invest $54 in their Premium plan to enjoy all of their capabilities at once (with support for up to 5 devices).

In the end, Qustodio Premium is equipped to handle virtually any parental control situation you might face. Whether it’s monitoring your children’s online activities, preventing them from downloading apps or games, or getting alerts about inappropriate content, this app has you covered. It definitely can’t hurt to try at least.

3. FamiSafe – Feature Rich parental control Software

Best Parental Control App
FamiSafe - Feature Rich parental control Software

Features

Block apps & websites that are not suitable for your child’s age

Monitor their location at any time & make sure they are safe while they’re out playing with friends or going to school

Set up a curfew so they won’t be able to use their phone when it’s bedtime or dinner time

Track how much time they spend on their phones & set limits if necessary

FamiSafe helps them to find a balance and create healthy digital habits.
It offers a useful set of features that allow parents to keep track of their kid’s online activity.

FamiSafe provides you with a simple and convenient way to monitor your children’s mobile phone usage. It helps you to protect your children from any potential dangers that may arise from their smartphone use. FamiSafe keeps your kids safe from inappropriate content or websites, as well as from cyberbullying and online predators.

With the FamiSafe app installed on their devices, parents can monitor the activities of their children by receiving notifications about every single thing that happens on their phones. This provides them with an opportunity to track not just what they do online but also who they talk to and where they are at any given moment in time.

Why Parents Should Limit Internet Time After School

FamiSafe Safeguards Your Kids
The app also allows parents to monitor their children’s online activities using GPS tracking, setting screen time limits, app management, allowing remote access to the target phone while blocking unsafe sites and apps.

FamiSafe Features

  • Screen Time Control: Limit screen time for each child with flexible time settings. You can also set different time limits for weekdays and weekends.
  • Secure Browser: Block websites that you consider inappropriate for your children to prevent them from visiting those sites.
  • Location Tracking: View the real-time location of your family members on a map so that you know where they are at all times. This feature comes with an SOS function which allows you to send an alert if an emergency situation occurs such as when your child has left home without informing anyone or if he/she has gone missing while out of town on a trip or vacation.
  • Game/App Blocking: Block games or apps that you deem unsuitable for children to use on their devices to ensure their safety online and offline. You can also disable installing new apps on their smartphone so that they cannot download any other apps that may harm themselves.

Detailed logs of your child’s activities – 

You can see what apps they are using, how much time they spend on each app and how often they use their device overall. You also get a detailed log of all incoming/outgoing calls and SMS messages, so you can see who your child is talking to and when. You can even block incoming calls from specific numbers if needed!

Protect Your Kids in All-round Way
Parents can use this advanced parental tool to keep track of their kids’ online activities and protect them from dangerous people, predators or any other threat.

Phone activity timeline –

See exactly what your child did on their device over a given time period (1 hour or 1 day). This lets you see their exact location at any given point in time as well as which apps were used during that period. You can also filter the timeline by different criteria such as app or game usage, GPS location and more! • App/Game blocker – Block any app or game on your child’s phone with just one click of a button.

Explicit Content Detection: You can block inappropriate content from reaching your child’s smartphone. You can set up a safe word or phrase for them to use when they encounter something they don’t want to see on the internet. This way, you’ll know immediately when something inappropriate happens on their phone and can take action accordingly.

Website Filter and Browser History – Monitor which websites your children visit and block those that you don’t want them to see (or use). You can also see which sites they have visited before installing FamiSafe.

Suspicious Photos Detection – Detect photos that may contain inappropriate content (e.g., nudity). If a photo contains such contents, it will be marked as “Suspicious”. You can decide whether you want this photo to be deleted or kept in the album without being marked as “Suspicious”.

Website Filter and Browser History – Famisafe can block specific websites and save the browsing history. You can also set up time limits for each child so they only have access to the internet during certain hours of the day.

Suspicious Text Detection – The app has a built-in SMS filter and a call blocker which allows you to see if your child is sending suspicious texts or making calls on their phone. You can also block suspicious numbers from calling or texting your child’s phone.

Drive Safety – Famisafe will allow you to monitor how long your children drive for, where they drive and what speed they are travelling at.

FamiSafe is a highly acclaimed parental control app that has been downloaded by many million users worldwide. It has won several global awards for child safety, family security and privacy protection. The app keeps you fully informed about your child’s activities on their phone, and allows you to block them from using specific apps if you deem appropriate. 

You can also monitor their usage of the phone within the day, as well as controlling what websites they visit. Additionally, FamiSafe protects your children from cyberbullying through its “Site Filter” feature, which will scan the sites they visit for harmful content and immediately report their browsing history to you for further investigation.

To sum it up, Famisafe is a high-quality parental control app that gives parents the peace of mind they need in this modern world. With it, you can monitor your child’s phone to keep them safe while they are out of your sight—a necessary feature in our modern times.

4. Verizon Smart Family – The best parental control app for iOS devices

Recommended Parental Control App
Verizon Smart Family - The best parental control app for iOS devices

Features

View device location on a map, or get an alert when the phone leaves or enters a designated area.

See which apps are being used and at what time.

Block access to specific websites and content.

It also helps you manage their phone usage in an attempt to prevent dangerous distractions while driving or getting them off the phone sooner when they need to be doing homework.

Verizon Smart Family - The best parental control app for iOS devices
Verizon Smart Family – The best parental control app for iOS devices – Verizon Smart Family gives you peace of mind and control over what your kids can do on their phones.

Family matters. And when you need to do more for your family, Verizon Smart Family is here to help. It’s an app paired with the Verizon Smart Family Companion app on your kids’ smartphones that helps you set controls, establish rules and stay in touch. 

It helps you track your children’s devices, and gives you controls to prevent online bullying and inappropriate content. And it even helps keep your kids safe as they go out driving — from sharing driving location and get notifications about risky driving habits to getting alerts about nearby threat zones along their route.

View Child's driving activity
View Child’s driving activity -Keep an eye on your kids whereabouts – Smart Family allows you to locate your family through location sharing and set controls.

You can easily see how long your kids are spending behind the wheel, and get insights about how much time they spend on their device. Plus there’s a whole lot more.

With the app, you can set alerts for when your kid’s device is moving at a certain time of day, when they approach a geofence you define, or when their phone is in the vicinity of another device you designate. You can also set limits on apps (including those downloaded from the app store) and spending overall, which will send an alert if someone passes a specific limit.

The app can also track driving events, which includes speed of travel, hard braking, rapid acceleration and phone usage while driving. These features are all available as part of the Premium plan, which costs $45 per year If you don’t want to purchase Premium, all of these features are still available to you; however some of them are limited. For example, you won’t be able to set up geofences or driving event monitoring without purchasing Premium.

Set screen time and pause internet during school work
Set screen time and pause internet during school work – You can set alerts, usage limits, manage content, block apps and more.

Smart Family can help provide a better understanding of what is really happening when youngsters are driving around and spending time with friends.

The Parent Dashboard functionality gives parents the opportunity to see and track exactly how much time their child is spending on their cellphone, the number of texts they’re exchanging, and even the websites they are accessing.

Parents can set restrictions on all of this activity. In fact, parents have more power over their young ones’ smartphone activity than they may realize.

See Web and App Activity
See Web and App Activity

It integrates with the native settings of your child’s smartphone so you can easily manage it all in one place, and even though it provides plenty of detailed information about their phone use, it’s geared toward doing so in a way that doesn’t interfere with your child’s everyday activities.

It gives you granular settings for what apps are allowed or blocked, allows you to set time limits on browsing and app usage, lets you know if they’ve driven dangerously, and also shows you where they are at any given time.

Content filters - block apps and sites
Content filters – block apps and sites

All in all, the Verizon Smart Family is a worthwhile addition to Verizon’s long list of offerings. It has the potential to be a powerful tool for parents concerned about their child’s digital activity. And it’s not just a great app — it also allows you to integrate with other Verizon solutions for a more comprehensive approach. That’s something many parents will love.

5. unGlue – Best Screen Time app for parents

Must Have Parental Control App
unGlue parental control app is the simplest way to manage your children’s screen time.

Features

unGlue provides parents with a complete set of tools to manage their kids’ daily screentime.

You can assign multiple devices per kid so you can remotely control how long your kids spend on their phones and tablets, whether they’re on an iPhone, iPad or Android device.

Reward kids with earned screentime for chores, walking, running & physical activity for each kid, per day. Use reward points to unlock internet access or let them pay you back!

Create screentime schedules for wakeup time, homework time, family time, and bedtime.

Set daily screen time limits on disruptive apps like social media, videos, games
Set daily screen time limits on disruptive apps like social media, videos, games

If you’re looking for an app that helps you to monitor and control your kids’ use of the Internet, then unGlue Parental Control App may be the right fit for you. 

The unGlue Parental Control App is available on Android and Apple devices and controls everything from social media apps to chat rooms. It’s easy to use, even if you aren’t very tech-savvy, and comes with a good range of features that can help you to protect your kids while they are on their phones. 

The parental control app features a “Lockdown” mode that lets you set specific time frames as well as categories of apps that they can only access during those times, so it can help to limit screen time. It also comes with an activity log so you can keep track of what your kids are doing online, which is helpful if they don’t seem like they’re spending much time on their homework or other activities.

The feature that makes the app unique is called “Smart Filtering,” which means that it uses artificial intelligence to learn about the apps your kids are using and what they’re doing in them. That way, it can give you alerts about potential problems before they happen or block sites that are known for hosting inappropriate content.

unGlue lets you set time restrictions for everyday activity such as sleeping, school and homework time as well as for weekend activities such as movie time with friends and game play. The program also allows users to monitor their children’s most used apps and keep track of where they are via GPS tracking. unGlue also provides reports that can be printed out for easy viewing so you know where your child has been online.

With unGlue, you have the power to control your kids’ screen time in a comprehensive manner. We provide an easy way for parents to set daily time limits on specific apps and games, as well as scheduled time for homework, family time, and bedtime. Kids can also earn bonus screentime by doing chores or getting physically active. And when they’re done with their daily screen limits, UnGlue will automatically hide their apps until the next day.

When it comes to internet access, there are some things parents just don’t want their children to see or do online—think porn or other adult content, or violent video games—and we have built in the ability to block access to those from within our app. We’ve also made it easy for parents to add any other sites that may be offensive or harmful for young eyes and minds. The best part about this feature is that it’s completely automated: once you’ve added a site, your child will never even know it exists.

Some unGlue’s features:

Screen Time Limits: Set daily screen time limits on disruptive apps like social media, videos, games, and even web browsing.

App Blocker: unGlue allows you to block your kids’ access to apps whenever you want.

Remote Access: You can remotely access any device or all devices with a single click (even if they are off). You can also remotely lock or wipe any device from anywhere.

Get Kids to Help Around the House: In addition to setting screen time limits that allow for homework and family time, unGlue will reward your kids for helping around the house by giving them additional screen time! You’ll get more help than ever before—both in the house and online! This is a great way to increase your child’s physical activity.

Well designed, Feature Rich Parental Control App
Family Link is a great new service from Google designed to help parents keep an eye on their kids' phones and computers.
Family Link is a great new service from Google designed to help parents keep an eye on their kids' phones and computers.

Features

You’ll also get notifications if your child tries to download an app outside of the ones that you’ve approved.

You can control how long they can use their device each day by setting timers for specific app categories—like games or social media—so that once time is up, all apps in that category will be locked for the rest of the day.

Parents will also receive activity reports showing how much time the child spent on each app during the week.

Create screentime schedules for wakeup time, homework time, family time, and bedtime.

Google Family Link is an app that will put your mind at ease if you have kids who are getting old enough to have their own smartphones, tablets or other devices. It’s a free service from Google (that’s right – it’s free) that allows parents to establish a safe, controlled environment for kids to explore the world of mobile electronics while keeping track of them through an online dashboard.

The Family Link app basically lets you create a Google account that is protected by both a passcode and a verification code sent via text message.

Google Family Link - Best Free iPhone Parental Control
Using Smartphone activation, screen time limits, web browsing and content filtering, the tool allows you to let you child use your devices in a safe way and stay in touch with them using regular text messages and phone calls.

Once the account is created, you can add your child’s existing Android phone or tablet (or even your own phone), and then you’ll be able to monitor what apps he/she downloads and how much time has been spent on the device in a day. 

The dashboard also shows you all of the websites visited on the device, which could come in handy should your child do something questionable on the internet. If your child does something particularly bad – like visit pornography sites, for example – you can lock down their device so they can only access email and telephone numbers until such time as you feel that they’re ready to be trusted again. You can also just turn off the child’s access to all apps if you need to go out for dinner.

You get to choose which apps are allowed on your kid’s phone, and which are blocked until you give permission. If there’s an app on their phone that isn’t on your approved list, you’ll be notified with a message that tells you what the app is, where it came from, and lets you add it to the list.

View their activity – See what your child is doing on their Android device by checking their recent app use, search history and more.

Manage their apps – Set time limits on individual apps so that they can’t spend too much time on social media or games. You can also approve or block specific apps.

Lock their device – If your child misbehaves, you can lock their device for a set period of time. They’ll see an “Oops” message when they try to unlock it. You can also remotely lock the device if you lose it or find it in another person’s hands.

Set limits – Set Screen Time Limits to control how long they spend on their devices each day, week or month. You can also set bedtimes so they have no screen time after a certain hour at night (or earlier).

Google Family Link allows parents to monitor their children’s tablet activity and even limit access to apps of their choosing. In theory, this gives kids more access to the things they need to do, while still imposing appropriate limits on the way they use their tablet. If a child needs a specific app for school but you don’t want him to have access to it 24/7, for instance, you can set up an approved period when he can use it.

Family Link is a good idea, and a solid one. It’s also nice to see Google being proactive with this service; there have been enough negative news items lately that strike at the heart of digital privacy, and it’s refreshing to see something positive released. That said, there are some issues here, chief among them being that only one adult account can be linked to any given user. If other family members want to benefit from Family Link, they’ll need their own Android devices.

7. Bark – Best overall Parental App

Help protect your kids online
Bark - Best overall Parental App
Bark – Best overall Parental App

Features

Bark monitors texts, emails, YouTube videos and 30+ different apps for issues like cyberbullying, adult content, sexual predators, profanity and more.

Web filtering lets you select which websites your child can access on their devices by allowing or blocking specific sites — or even whole categories like streaming services, online gaming, sexual content and more.

The alert system sends parents a notification about potential problems but only as they occur.

Bark can monitor all the devices in your family — cell phones, tablets, and computers.

Bark is a parental control app that gives you the power to monitor and manage your kid’s smartphone use. The app lets you create a safe zone on the map where you can set limits for how long your kids can use their devices, as well as limit the number of times they can text or call a specific contact. It also gives you control over their social media activity, including Snapchat and Instagram.

Bark has a free trial period, but after that you’ll need to pay $60 per year for unlimited monitoring.

Bark’s list of features is pretty comprehensive. It includes:

Device monitoring: You can see which apps have been used on the device and what websites have been visited. You can also see the phone’s location history if you’ve enabled location tracking.

Screen time management: You can set up daily or weekly screen time limits for your child’s device, as well as bedtime alerts that will go off when the limit has been reached. There are also notifications that tell you when your child reaches certain milestones in their game play — like beating a level or earning an achievement — so you know when they’re getting close to their limit.

Web filtering: Bark blocks access to websites that contain inappropriate content (pornography, violence, drugs, etc.). You can choose to allow access only to specific sites, block all sites except those on your whitelist or block everything except those on your whitelist.

Bark gives parents peace of mind by monitoring their children’s texts, emails, YouTube, and social media platforms for issues like cyberbullying, adult content, sexual predators, profanity, suicidal ideation, threats of violence, and more. Parents receive alerts only when something potentially problematic occurs online.

Bark can identify identities of objectionable people in chat rooms or other online forums where kids may be conversing (or being approached by) strangers with harmful intentions. It can also warn you if a friend or acquaintance is sending inappropriate content and ask whether you want to help fix the problem by contacting them directly — which is better than letting it continue silently in the background.  

Bark has 24/7 access to your kids’ phones and can even be used to monitor tablets and laptops. You can set Bark up to alert you every time your child sends or receives a text message in iMessage on an iPhone or iPad. Bark can also work with Androids and Windows Phones. Bark monitors 30+ popular apps and services including:

-Youtube

-Instagram

-Twitter

-Facebook Messenger

-Snapchat (text-based messages)

-WhatsApp (text-based messages)

-Grindr (gay dating site)

It’s true that kids are growing up in a time when they have unprecedented access to the internet. But if you’re concerned about them being exposed to inappropriate behavior, violence, and other negative influences on the web, consider using a service like Bark for your child’s online protection. And even when you’re not concerned about online dangers — maybe you just want to keep an eye on how much time your child is spending on their devices — Bark can help.

Bark enables parents and families to monitor, manage, and set rules for kids online. Through a comprehensive combination of content monitoring, screen time management, and web filtering, they help kids be safe while they’re online. By keeping their kids safe online and helping them learn digital citizenship, parents are setting their children up to face the risks of the online world in the best position possible.

Overall, Bark is a great service for parents who are looking to give their kids a safer experience on the internet. The web filtering component is an added bonus, allowing you to block sites that you might not want your child visiting at any time. Bark also gives you plenty of information to help you stay in touch with what your child is doing online and keep them safe. The only real downside to Bark is that its monitoring component is subscription-based, so it’s not free.

8. MMGuardian: Best text monitoring

Text Monitoring Parental Control App
MMGuardian- Best text monitoring
MMGuardian- Best text monitoring

Features

Locate their children – Keep track of the child’s activities on social media

Alert parents when their child attempts to uninstall MMGuardian Parental Control

Allow parents to set up time limits for specific apps and games

Text Message History: View all text messages sent and received by your child’s phone. Call History: View all the calls made and received by your child’s phone.

MMGuardian Parent App is a family-friendly app that helps parents monitor their children’s phone activity. It also provides a gateway for parents to manage their children’s mobile devices and apps. MMGuardian is a parental control app that can give you peace of mind by monitoring your children’s activity on their mobile device. MMGuardian is designed to filter age-inappropriate apps and games, block calls and texts from strangers, create usage and spending limits, and monitor for bullying.

MMGuardian Parent App Features:

App Management: The app allows you to view details about the installed apps on your child’s device, including its usage history and system status. You can also uninstall apps from your child’s device remotely.

Keyword Alerts: You can set keyword alerts to receive notifications when certain keywords are typed or used in an app on your child’s device.

Location Tracking: Location tracking lets you view the location of your child’s device on a map at any time during the day or night.

Call/Message Logs: You can view call logs and messages sent between your child and other contacts using this feature.

Caller ID: This feature displays caller IDs when someone calls your child while they are using a blocked app or game so you can decide how to respond to the call before picking up the phone.

9. T-Mobile FamilyMode – Free Parental and Screen time App for iPhone

Locate and protect your child
T-Mobile FamilyMode - Free Parental and Screen time App for iPhone

Features

Monitor your child’s activity with location tracking and call logs

Set time limits for individual apps, games and websites

Schedule when your kid can use their device and what they can do on it

Block unwanted numbers from contacting your child

FamilyMode is a free parental control app that lets you monitor and manage your child’s smartphone or tablet. It works with T-Mobile and any device that runs on the iOS and Android operating system.

FamilyMode Parental Control Features:

Txt Tone Alerts. Set up a list of words that are flagged as inappropriate in text messages, emails, or social media posts. If your child tries to send or receive a message containing one of these words, the app will alert you. You can choose to block the message without notifying your child or let it through without an alert.

Web Filter. Use this feature to restrict web browsing on your child’s phone or tablet by blocking certain websites and categories of websites (e.g., pornography). You can also change default search engines and set time limits for web access per day or per week.

Geo-Fencing/Geo-Location Tracking. If you’re worried about your child wandering off in public places, you can use this feature to create virtual fences around locations like school campuses, parks, shopping centers, etc., and then be notified if your child leaves those areas unsupervised by an adult who has been designated as their guardian within FamilyMode.

Set weekly time limits for each child on the phone plan. You can set different time limits for each child if you have more than one device on your bill.

Block websites and apps by category, such as social media sites or streaming services, or by specific website or app. You can also block videos from YouTube Kids & YouTube Gaming.

Block messaging apps such as iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

The FamilyMode combines all you could ever want in a parent app, including location tracking, bedtime management for kids and screen time controls, all under one roof. Plus, the T-Mobile FamilyMode is available for free on both Android and Apple phones/tablets. The T-Mobile FamilyMode is most certainly worth your time if you happen to be a parent looking for help with your digital parenting needs.

How we select the best parental control apps?

When it comes to parental control apps, you want one that’s easy to use and effective in keeping your kids safe. But with hundreds of options out there, it can be tough to determine which ones are effective and which ones are just a waste of money. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best parental control apps for iOS, Android and Windows devices.

We consider several factors when selecting the best parental control apps. We take into consideration:

The number of available features.

Ease of use.

Compatibility with different devices and operating systems.

Each app has its own unique set of features and we review them all in-depth to determine which ones are worth using. The more features an app offers, the more likely it is to have something that will work for you. However, this isn’t always true – some apps offer far more than what most people need and can be difficult to navigate or use effectively. Sometimes this is because they’ve been designed for large families with multiple children who are at different stages of development and require different levels of monitoring; other times it’s just because the developers wanted to make sure there was something for everyone regardless of age or demographic. This is why we consider ease of use as well as compatibility when making our selections.

We evaluate each product based on its cost and its functionality. If a tool is free and does the job well, then it gets a high score. If you have to pay for the app, but it still works great, then it also gets a high score. However, if an app costs more than $10 per month — especially if it’s not even available as a free version — then we’ll knock points off its score because there are better options out there that don’t require paying for extra features or subscriptions

We look at how easy each app is to set up. Does it require connecting to your router? Do you need to install any software on your computer? Can you do everything from an app on your smartphone or tablet? These days most products have similar setups across platforms but some still

Performance – The best parental control apps should work with all major operating systems and devices. They should also be easy to set up and use.

Security – Parents want to know that their kids’ devices are safe from hackers or other threats. We look at how secure each app is before recommending them to our readers.

Price:

One of the biggest factors in choosing a parental control app is the price. Some apps are free while others cost a few pounds. We have found that there is no correlation between the price and how good an app is, but if you are looking for a free app then it would make sense to choose one that is free!

Installation:

Some apps require you to download their software onto your computer in order for them to work, whereas others can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. If you want to monitor your child from work then this could be very useful, however if you just want to see what they get up to at home then it might not be necessary for you to install anything on your computer at all.

App management:

A good parental control app should allow you to easily manage all of your children’s devices from one place. This includes scheduling times when internet access is allowed, blocking websites, and more.

Filtering:

A good parental control app should have built-in filtering that blocks inappropriate content on social media, apps, games and websites.

Reports & Alerts:

A good parental control app should provide reports on how much time your child spends online, which websites they visit and what they do online. It should also alert you if there are unusual activities taking place on your home network such as a sudden spike in device usage or other suspicious behavior.

Time management

Time management is a key feature in any good parental control app. It allows you to set up rules like “no texting after 10pm” or “no Instagram until you’ve finished your homework.” This can help ensure that your children aren’t spending too much time on their devices and staying up too late at night.

Texting and messaging management

If your child spends too much time texting or messaging friends, this can be another source of conflict between parents and children. A good parental control app allows you to limit how many text messages they send per day (or even per hour), which is an effective way of curbing excessive use.

Location tracking:

One of the most important features of parental control apps is location tracking, as this helps you to keep a track of your children’s whereabouts. The best parental control apps allow you to set locations for your kids and receive notifications whenever they enter or exit those places.

Monitoring phone calls:

You can also monitor phone calls made by your kids on their mobile phones, which can help you keep an eye on their social circle. If you suspect that your child is being bullied or harassed by someone, then it is better to know about it before it becomes too late.

Parental apps Feature Comparison Chart

Our PicksQustodioAT&T Secure FamilyFamiSafeVerizon Smart FamilyGoogle Family LinkT-Mobile FamilyModeunGlue
Editors’RatingEDITORS’ CHOICE4.2 Editor Review4.5 Editor Review4.5 Editor Review4.2 Editor Review4.2 Editor Review4.0 Editor Review
Free VersionYes, TrialTrialTrialTrialTotally FreeTotally FreeTrial
Device Limits5/10/155/10/155/10/155/10/155/10/153/5/101/5/20
Per-User SettingsYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Web FilteringApps, Sites, Adult Content and more.Apps, Sites, Adult Content and more.Apps, Sites, Adult Content and more.Apps, Sites, Adult Content and more.Apps, Sites, Adult Content and more.Apps, Sites, Adult Content and more.Apps, Sites, Adult Content and more.
Screen Time ManagementYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
GeofencingYesYesYes____
Social Network MonitoringFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and MoreFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and MoreFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and MoreFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and MoreFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and MoreFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and MoreFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and More
Remote ManagementYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Supports WindowsYesYesYesYes___
Supports macOSYesYesYesYes____
Supports AndroidYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Supports iOS
Where to Buy10% off all Premium Plans at Qustodio BuyCheck NowCheck NowCheck NowCheck Now

How to Monitor Your Kids’ Mobile Devices

Mobile devices are an indispensable part of modern children’s lives, especially teenagers. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project study from December 2015, 93% of teens have access to a smartphone, while 35% are on tablets only.

We’re not surprised by these numbers-kids grow up far more quickly than we’d like them to! As such, you’re faced with a unique set of challenges as a parent in this day and age. While your child may be fully functional on their mobile devices, you might feel uncomfortable with the content they’re accessing or having the ability to communicate in ways you can’t monitor. If you want to keep tabs on what your kids are doing online, a parental control app is a solid option.

Parental control apps allow you to keep tabs on the mobile devices your kids use – whether they’re your own children or underage employees. The apps we review here let you see messages, photos, videos and other web content; block apps, games and websites; set time limits and receive alerts when limits are exceeded; and monitor locations.

When your child gets their own mobile phone or tablet, you obviously want to make sure they are safe while they’re using it.

The best way to ensure that they’re using their device in a responsible way is by installing one of the best parental control apps on their device. These programs allow you to monitor activity on your child’s phone or tablet, such as monitoring their call history, text messages, and location. You can also use some apps to block certain websites and review everything they’ve been doing online with ease.

There are various different types of parental control software available that do somewhat different things. We dive into each of their features here so you can get a clear idea of what kind of app to look for based on your specific needs and concerns.

The cost of parental control apps?

There is a broad range of costs, both in terms of the initial purchase price and any related subscription. If a product is free, then it’s free for one reason or another. For example, Locategy offers a free product but restricts the number of devices one can monitor. One way or another you’ll have to pay to use that service in full.

The truth is, whatever you choose, you will be spending money — not too much money in some cases but still money that you could use toward other things. With this being the case, it makes sense to seek out a free parental control app. And while these are slowly becoming rarer, they do exist.

When it comes to pricing and platforms, parental control apps fall into three categories:

-Freemium models with limited features become available after a certain amount of time or activity (like Verizon Smart Family)

-Families can use the free version of the app indefinitely but must pay to unlock extra features (like AT&T Secure Family )

-Apps require a subscription based on the number of devices you monitor (Qustodio)

One of the main factors to consider when choosing a parental control app is the price. Since these apps are meant for parents, most manufacturers offer some kind of discount for multiple licenses. While it’s still possible to find a service that charges per device, subscription options are becoming increasingly popular. Popular services like AT&T Secure Family and FamiSafe offer freemium services, while others, like Family link, is totally free.

Most parental control apps support Android and iOS devices and many also work on Windows and MacOS desktop computers. Some even go so far as to monitor your child’s activity on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Most devices can be monitored by more than one parent/guardian, which means you can share the responsibility with friends or relatives that may live at a distance from your child.

The first thing to consider when selecting a parental control app is how many devices you need to monitor. While most apps have a minimum of one (usually for the parent’s device) and a maximum of five to ten, there are some outliers. Circle Home Plus and Qustodio both claim unlimited devices, but with caveats. Locategy only supports up to three “devices” per household, which includes computers, phones, tablets, gaming consoles and other hardware that can connect to the internet. Qustodio lets you monitor 1 device on its free plan (limited to two users), but charges $59 per annum.

In terms of platforms and device compatibility, parental control apps are available for both iOS and Android phones and tablets and as extensions for Macs and PCs with Windows or Chrome OS. Most services also support Windows Phone, though that list isn’t quite as extensive as the others. There are also options for monitoring kids’ activities on Amazon Kindle Fire tablets, Roku streaming devices and Apple TV set-top boxes. Circle Home Plus works with iOS, Android, Windows Mobile 8+ and Kindle Fire HDX devices; it also has integration with Samsung Smart TVs (2014 models or higher).

But before you sign up for an app, consider this: How many devices do you need to monitor? Do you need every device in your house covered, or will one serve your needs regardless of the number of users? In most cases, the number of devices you can monitor is limited by the number of licenses the service offers. Some apps offer only one license for free and charge a fee for additional ones; others offer several free licenses, but charge for any additional ones beyond that.

Talk to Your Kids about internet safety

When it comes to choosing a parental control app, the range of available features is impressive. It’s possible to set up monitoring software that will periodically send you reports about your child’s online activity, attempt to block potentially dangerous apps, and send notifications when they are using their phone after bedtime or during other restricted times.

There are a variety of reasons why you might choose to monitor your child’s online activities—for example, if you think they may be viewing mature content that could affect them emotionally or otherwise. Or, if you want to prevent them from communicating with strangers who may be looking to take advantage of young people. It’s also possible that your child has been acting out in real life lately and you’re worried about what kinds of things they may be exposed to by interacting with peers on social media or messaging apps.

Despite all the features available, no system is perfect. If your children want to get around the limitations you impose, they will likely be able to do so either by using unmonitored devices or by finding ways to wipe their devices clean of the controlling apps. Thus, it’s worthwhile to take the time to talk with your child about why you have installed monitoring software in the first place. 

A family’s digital privacy can be easy to overlook during the holidays. Between busy schedules and new gifts, it’s easy for parents to get distracted from the potential dangers their children face online. A successful parental control app aims to fill that void of oversight by restricting access to inappropriate content and monitoring activities, but a key part of the equation is talking with your child about why you have installed monitoring software in the first place.

It’s important to approach these conversations honestly, rather than have them find out on their own and stop trusting you. Especially for older children, it’s important to listen to your child’s specific privacy concerns, rather than just setting rules and restrictions that may otherwise be seen as arbitrary. Such an approach will also discourage your child from trying to circumvent the controls or wipe their device clean of any monitoring software.

One important thing for parents to understand when using parental control apps is that they do not replace direct communication with your child, but rather supplement it. While using an app to restrict a child’s access to certain websites or applications may keep them safe from harm, you must also have conversations with them about why you have imposed such restrictions and why they may be valuable.

Location tracking in Parental Control apps

The best parental control apps will offer some way to keep tabs on a child’s location, but the specifics of how this works can vary. 

Some services, like Qustodio and Famisafe allow parents to construct geofences around a location (usually to monitor when a kid arrives or leaves school). Family link and Norton Family do not include geofencing capabilities, although they do have tools for tracking historical location data.

The concept of a geofence is simple: it’s a digital boundary around a physical location that lets you know whenever someone crosses that boundary. For example, if you’re worried that your child might be bullied while walking home from school, you could create a geofence around their route and receive an alert if your child gets there safely.

If you want to make sure your child spends time at home after school every day, you could also create a geofence around your home that alerts you as soon as they arrive. This way, you don’t have to stalk them or call them constantly to make sure they’re staying put—you’ll know either way.

Allowing a parent or guardian to closely monitor a child’s whereabouts is an obvious and necessary function of most mobile parental control apps. In fact, the majority of services I tested include some form of location reporting, and that’s where my testing began. Qustodio, Famisafe, AT&T, and Verizon Family all have the capability to report on the current location of the device they’re installed on—and all four are generally capable of reporting on historical locations as well.

Ultimately, the only limitation I encountered was with Family link. Though it can accurately report on past and present locations, it lacks a scheduling option that would let you automate location reporting. The app will only send new location data when you open the app itself.

App Monitoring, Messaging, and Time Restrictions

Many of these services can block those apps or restrict your child’s access to them. Some go even further, and actually allow you to monitor the apps your child is using as well as their text messages and chat conversations.

Another thing that can be difficult to keep track of is what new apps your child has installed—especially if they are installing them on your device without your knowledge. Services like Qustodio help prevent this by automatically blocking new apps you may not have approved.

Still, it’s hard for any app to follow every single one of your child’s moves—especially when they are using their own device. FamiSafe goes a step beyond, allowing you to approve each app (and other features) individually, so that you can create a personal list of approved apps that your kids can use without needing your permission for each one individually. They also offer a unique function that allows you to set up situations where you need to be notified about something that someone else is trying to do (like if your child receives a message from a friend). This can help you keep tabs on what your kids are doing online.

That’s not to say these apps are without flaws. There’s always the possibility that an app could be hacked or circumvented in some other way—even if it’s one of the top-rated parental control apps, as most of them have a few negative reviews complaining about this very problem. The best parental control is still direct monitoring and communication with your kids. It’s important to be involved with their digital lives, to know what they’re using their devices for and what they’re actually seeing on their screens. So use these apps as a tool to keep tabs on your kids’ online activity, not as a replacement for active parenting.

With a parental control app, you can monitor your child’s phone activity, including texts and calls, along with any associated contact information. You can also block or restrict access to certain apps, words, or websites. Some apps even let you monitor your child’s location and set time restrictions on when the device can be used or how long it can be used for specific purposes.

For example, if you want to limit the amount of time your kid spends online or playing games on his smartphone, you can block internet access at certain times of day or limit gaming time to just an hour a day. This will ensure that he has time to do homework and other important daily tasks without getting distracted by his favorite video game.

As more and more research comes out showing the benefits of technology for students’ educational careers, the question of how to keep their personal use of technology from interfering with homework and other responsibilities becomes ever more important. 

For parents, this means that there’s a lot to consider when considering how to best manage their children’s access to smartphones, tablets, computers, and internet at home. There are many options for parental control apps—both free and paid—that can help you monitor your child’s activity and ensure that they aren’t spending too much time on social media or gaming or some other less-ideal activity.

Apps like Famisafe and Qustodio offer a wide range of options for monitoring your child’s behavior online, including the option to block certain sites (like Facebook or Instagram) or even specific words (like “sex” or “drugs”). They also offer the option to block messaging services like Snapchat—or even text messaging entirely—if you feel that your child is spending too much time texting instead of completing their homework. Other apps focus on time limits or schedules. Google Family will let you set up different schedules for each day of the week.

The greater majority of parental control apps focus on monitoring and messaging capabilities, which have gone a long way toward making many parents feel more comfortable with their kids using technology. As with the rest of its features, Qustodio takes the concept of monitoring very seriously. Its web app provides access to all kinds of data about what your child is doing: which sites they’re looking at, how long they’re spending on them, which apps they’re using, and so on. The app even allows you to see which emoji they’re using in their text messages (which might be slightly unsettling if you used the wrong one yourself).

Web Filtering

A good parental control app will filter out the dangerous websites and keep tabs on the rest of your child’s Internet activity, but one must be careful to avoid a false sense of security. In fact, anyone who has access to your child’s phone can bypass any parental controls with relative ease by downloading a different browser such as Dolphin for iOS. While most of these apps can’t lock down the phone itself, they can at least provide an extra layer of protection against your child accessing dangerous websites.

With so many free options, it’s tempting to just install one of these parental control apps and get on with our lives. But before you do that, you need to know about the potential pitfalls of this approach. 

The first and most important issue is that you will be relinquishing a lot of control over your kid’s device to a third party—one that has no vested interest in protecting your privacy or your family’s safety. These services are in the business of collecting as much information as they can about users, their devices, and their Internet activity. This data is then used to target ads to these users or sold to other companies for them to target ads at the same users.

The second major problem with these services stems from their use of proprietary browsers. Because they don’t rely on any particular mobile browser, these services can make changes to how the browser behaves without notifying you or getting your permission. In some cases, they use this ability to inject ads into certain parts of the interface (which they then show you an ad for). 

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