If you want to monitor your children’s device activity in modern times, you will need The Best Parental Control Apps/service that works well on desktop as well as mobile platforms.
Children can do all kinds of mischief on their mobile phones (or tablets), either on purpose or by accident. They may spend a lot of time staring at the screen each day Or use age-appropriate sites and apps. In any case, a good parental control app can restore your sense of control and help you keep a close eye on anything that might harm them.
Be sure to have an open and ongoing conversation with your kids about the importance of using a responsible tool, so they don’t immediately plan to get rid of whatever app you install or find some smart work. Do Check out our article on What parents of connected children need to know If you do not know where to start.
How to monitor your children’s mobile devices
Parental control apps can help you maintain control in a variety of ways. Some common types of monitoring include web content filtering, app blocking, time management, and location tracking.
We dive into these advanced features in more detail below. Keep in mind that some of the products we highlight are mobile solutions only, meaning they can’t monitor your child’s activity on a Mac or PC. If these platforms are your biggest concern, be sure to check out our Top 10 ways to earn money online.
This is how most parental control services work. You install a monitoring app on every device you want to place tabs on and manage settings and restrictions from either the web desktop or the parent-based mobile app. Changes you make to any device take effect immediately. We appreciate the services that Flexible Device Management offers.
Pricing and platform
Most parental control apps require you to pay an annual subscription based on the number of devices you monitor. Prices for monitoring one or two devices range from 10 10 to anywhere 30 anywhere, and in some cases can go up to $100 if you want 10 or more licenses.
Circle Home Plus requires a hardware device and, ultimately, a premium subscription to achieve its full potential. That said, there are some exceptions.
Some services, such as Locatigree, run on the Freemium model, despite some restrictions that do not apply to the Premium Edition. Others, such as Kaspersky Safe Kids and Norton Family, do not limit the number of devices you can monitor.
Parental control software is more powerful on Android than iOS, as Apple has locked the app’s permissions and access to the device. Most parental control apps for iPhones require you to install the Mobile Device Management (MDM) Create a profile for all of these features (especially those related to app management and time constraints) to work properly.
To monitor iOS devices, consider using Apple’s screen time Tools that compete with standalone competition as a pay offer. Apple’s built-in (and free) solution is account-based, meaning it tracks the child’s data on all Apple devices.
Apple has already added a good range of app blocking and web filtering options to its key settings in the App Restrictions section. Microsoft (Family Safety) and Google (FamilyLink) also offer first-party parental management solutions, which we cover in more detail in our guide.
The key to any parental control app is to prevent children from accessing inappropriate or dangerous websites. Many apps bundle a proprietary browser, making it easier for services to manage, track and control browsing activity.
This is more sensible than trying to reverse engineer support for any perceived mobile browser. Similarly, most of these apps instruct you to stop every other browser or prevent your child from installing any kind of apps in any way.
Some parental controls do not force your child to use a proprietary browser. Rather, they take advantage of VPN technology and run Internet connections through a local app to enable content filtering.
You will see VPN Icon when such utility is enabled. The presence of this icon does not mean that the child’s connection is entirely obtained through a virtual private network, nor that the device’s IP address is masked.
Most of these browsers work in such a way that they block access to websites that fall into the forbidden category, including the biggest criminals, such as file sharing, gambling, pornography and violence.
No problem with the best examples HTTPS Blocking Encrypted Traffic and Access to Unknown Proxies Some apps, such as Net Nanny, allow you to create custom web filtering categories, and most allow you to add rules specific to custom domains. Others can lock secure search settings and prevent abuse. The quality of web history reporting also varies from service to service.
App monitoring, messaging and time constraints
An area where most parental control solutions are available has the potential to prevent children from using certain apps. This is beneficial for parents who can prevent their children from using social media apps, messaging services, which are difficult to monitor, or browsers that are located around certain web filters.
However, it can be difficult to track every new app your child installs. Better yet, services like Boomerang, which automatically block new apps installed by your child unless you explicitly approve them. Mobisap gives you the option to whitelist only the apps you want your child to use.
App blocking works differently on iOS. You can block access to sister apps such as Safari, Camera, and Siri if you wish. You can also disable the iTunes Store and App Store and ban app purchases. Some parent-controlled apps can completely remove app icons from the home screen at any time, so your child is unlikely to be able to access them.
One thing you won’t be able to do with most parental control apps is monitor calls or SMS, MMS, and encrypted messages. You can block Secure messaging apps But Boomerang and Custodio are the only options we’ve tested that allow you to track SMS messages and call data.
This capability is only for Android devices and is not included in the app versions on the Google Play Store. Instead, you’ll need to sideload a custom version of the app.
Time constraints are another great feature of parental control apps. Some services, such as Norton Family Premiere and Family Time, let you know how many hours (or minutes) your child can spend on a given device in a day, as well as their usage schedule.
Also tells Custodio lets you set schedules for the use of specific apps and devices, as well as allocate total time for your child, which applies to each piece of hardware that allows them to access the Internet. Use for
A mobile application under parental control should also monitor at least one child’s current location and some historical location data. It is also important for them to control the range of information and the frequency of location reporting, so as not to bombard parents with useless data. Both the Custodio and the Norton family offer these features.
Some services, including locating, boomerang, and family time, take it a step further by letting you build a geofence around a location. For immovable, geofences are digital boundaries around a physical location that help parents when a child arrives at a designated location or leaves.
Kaspersky Safe Kids even lets you add time dimensions to geography, so you can easily make sure the child stays where they are supposed to be throughout the day. Boomerang offers a unique feature that allows you to draw custom geographies on a map.
Other apps only draw a circular radius around the point you specify. Android and iOS themselves let you track your child’s location.
Talk to your children
While the range of features that parental control software supports is impressive, no system is perfect. If your children want to achieve the limits you set, they will be able to do so by using unsupervised devices or by finding ways to clear their devices from control apps.
Therefore, it is beneficial to take the time to talk to your child about why you have installed surveillance software in the first place.
However, digital safety and security are titles for everyone. It’s better to approach these conversations honestly, rather than let them know for themselves and stop trusting you. For older children, in particular, it is also important to set your own rules, rather than set rules that may otherwise seem arbitrary.