Kids and their smartphones can be a ticking timebomb. We all know how the dark side of the web can corrupt a child’s mind. With independence and privacy online comes its toxic side of cyberbullying, depression, bad company, and even substance abuse.
Nothing beats a beneficial relationship with your kids. But if you still need to keep an eye on your little one to ensure they are safe online; we’ve got you covered.
The best Monitoring Apps for Paranoid Parents
We round up the best monitoring apps to ensure your child has a positive digital life.
1. Norton Family Premier:
Norton Family Premier is a household name when it comes to antivirus software. It also offers parental control ideal for Android and Windows users with children. Norton offers almost every parental control feature in every parent’s Wishlist.
Some of its stellar features include time-scheduling, location tracking, robust monitoring capabilities, app blocking and web filtering for both iOS and Android. But text message monitoring and app management are exclusive to Android only.
- Wide range of rich features.
- Works with Windows.
- Supports unlimited devices.
- Excellent web filters and monitoring.
- No geofencing.
- Expensive for a single device or user.
- Gawky parental app.
2. Net Nanny Parental Control:
Net Nanny/Zift offers a powerful web filtering technology plus an advanced, intuitive design. It is one of the best parental control apps with feature parity for Android and iOS versions.
Keep track of your kid’s location; monitor their location history, set time limits, and schedules on select platforms. With the iOS version, you can block a handful of apps on your child’s phone while the Android version allows you to block them all.
The only drawback with Net Nanny is it can’t track calls or texts.
- Excellent web filters.
- Great design and interface.
- Features are near parity with iOS and Android versions.
- No text/call monitoring.
Qustodio parental control is efficient and user-friendly and supports a wide range of devices, including PCs, Macs, iOS, Amazon Fire tablets, and Android devices. Thanks to our Qustodio review, you can set time limits for device usage and track location for both Android and iOS devices. It also works on Nook and Kindle devices which are a plus.
For Android, you can manage all apps, but with iOS, you can only keep track of a handful of applications. Qustodio tracks calls and texts only on Android and provides excellent web filtering for iOS.
- Monitors a ton of various devices.
- A rich selection of features.
- Excellent text and call monitoring on Android.
- No geofencing.
- Out of date web portal.
4. Kaspersky Safe Kids:
Kaspersky Safe Kids allows you to monitor your child’s activities on Macs, PCs, Android, and iOS. Kaspersky has a free plan that lets you filter websites, set time limits, and manage apps.[adsense]
With the paid tier, you can track locations and geofencing for both Android and iOS. Also, you can schedule devices, monitor web activities, but app management is exclusive to iOS only. The iOS app cannot track calls or texts. So, if you don’t need to monitor your kid’s chats, then Kaspersky Safe Kids is worth the buy.
- Tons of free features.
- Affordable option.
- Monitors a range of devices, including PCs and Macs.
- Slow web portal sometimes.
- Busy User interface.
Bark is a digital safety app that can save your child’s life. It monitors emails, YouTube, and up to 24 different social networks for safety concerns to give you peace of mind.
It also proactively alerts you of issues such as cyberbullying, sexting, substance abuse, or depression by constantly analysing algorithms based on keywords in your child’s phone. Bark will give you recommendations on how to engage with your child once it flags down any issue. It supports iOS and Android devices.
- Robust software identifies risky behavior.
- Reliable customer service.
- It can identify symptoms of depression.
- No time limits.
- Limited personalization.
FamilyTime parental control creates a haven for your kids online. It allows you to set time limits, customize what content you want your kid to access, track location, and monitor their call usage or text.
The software features a rich set of tools which let you set homework schedules and bedtimes. It also supports geofencing and location tracking. It allows you to control or block apps, monitor contact list, and apply web filters.
FamilyTime allows you access to a free version but with a small subset of features. If you want premium features, you can check out the different plans on offer. It supports Android and iOS devices.
- Smooth interface.
- Supports geofencing.
- Compatible with different versions of iOS and Android devices.
- Does not support Windows.
- Lacks web content filtering.
7. Web Watcher
Web Watcher is an ideal tool for monitoring your kid’s online activity. It allows you to keep tabs on your child’s web browsing, text messaging including deleted texts, call log, photos, and location.
It also allows you to delve into their activity on specific apps such as WhatsApp, Tinder, Snapchat, Viber, and Kik. You can set time limits and capture screenshots of your child’s phone screen.
It is advisable you install Web Watcher in stealth mode. You don’t want your child to know you’re monitoring his activity. The program notifies you when someone asks your child personal information or posts anything on social media that concerns him/her. Web Watcher supports both Android and iOS versions.
- Impressive photo activity log including snapshot capability.
- Easy to install.
- Lacks filter or block feature for inappropriate sites.
- Confusing user interface.
To sum it up:
Thanks to the internet explosion, every household nowadays has at least one internet-connected device, and 70% of kids around the globe are exposed to digital devices by age 3.
If you decide to buy your child a smartphone or laptop, there are days you’ll feel the nagging need to monitor his/her online activity. Parental monitoring apps are hands down your best solution.
But even though parental control apps are no-brainers, your first line of defense is staring at you: You. Digital tools can let you snoop on your little one’s online life, but spying isn’t sustainable.
You are the key. Learn to be present, create lasting memories, engage your kids in deep conversations, and teach them what’s virtuous and what’s corrupt. And you can kiss goodbye to all the parental control apps in the world.