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My friend’s 15-year-old son gets tons of abusive comments from internet strangers. He’s never seen any of them — but his mom has. That’s because she uses some of the best parental control apps to protect her son from digital predators.
Over the years, his YouTube, Instagram and Twitch channels have attracted lots of attention — both good and bad. Sponsors want him to endorse their products, so he’s making money online. If your kids want to start their own online business, use this easy trick to set them up for success.
But there’s a downside to internet fame and success. Haters, hackers and deviants crawl out of the woodwork to harass him. Luckily, the child safety apps on his phone shield him from harm.
How parental control apps can protect your kids
Cyberbullying is distressingly common. Classmates and social media strangers can batter a child’s self-esteem.
According to Security.org, kids are most likely to face cyberbullying on YouTube, followed by Snapchat and TikTok. Many teens feel angry, hurt and scared after online harassment.
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Not only that, but the web is crawling with predators. The Beau Biden Foundation found some startling statistics:
- At least 500,000 online predators are prowling the web each day.
- In the past year, one in five children has been contacted or solicited by a digital predator.
- Thus, it’s highly likely that a child you know has faced online threats.
Parental control apps go above and beyond to protect your child
Finding the best options for your needs can take a long time. You could spend hours typing these terms into search engines:
- Best parental control app for Android.
- Child phone monitoring for free.
- 10 best family protection apps.
- iPhone and Android apps to monitor my child’s phone.
- Free parental control apps that cannot be deleted.
Save yourself time and effort by scrolling down. We found some of the best child safety apps on the web.
To fully protect your child’s mental health and safety, check out one of the best parental apps
We scoured the web for the best child safety apps worth checking out. Use these tools to automatically filter out hateful messages, sexual advances and phishing campaigns. They’ll protect your child’s innocence, self-esteem and digital safety.
Before you do anything, sit your child down and talk face-to-face about the risks of using the internet. Better yet, use Kim Komando’s digital safety contract to teach your child digital responsibility.
Nos, scroll down to find one of the best apps that go above and beyond to protect your child.
1. Google Family Link is simple yet useful
Google Family Link is an excellent introductory app for those new to parental protection software. It’s considered one of the best parental control apps for Android. Here are the pros and cons of Google Family Link:
|Comes with parent and child apps on Android||No child app for iPhone users|
|Easy to install||Kids can turn off parental controls when they turn 13|
|Limit app usage time||Web filtering is limited|
|Set Google Play purchase approvals||Little flexibility for time management schedules|
|Easily block texting apps on your child’s Android||You can’t monitor your child’s texts|
|Set YouTube restricted mode||No cyberbullying or sexual content alerts|
2. Bark Parental Control: Pros and cons to keep in mind
Bark is a comprehensive app packed with child safety features. You can download it on unlimited devices, including iOS, Android, Chromebook, Amazon Fire, Windows and macOS. You can get Bark Jr. for $5 per month, but it doesn’t have all of Bark Premium’s bells and whistles.
Here are two features you’ll miss out on if you don’t buy the premium $9.99/month plan:
- Alerts for cyberbullying, online predators and suicidal ideation.
- The ability to monitor texts, email, YouTube and other apps.
Overall, here are the Bark Parental Control pros and cons parents should know about:
|Manually blocks 19 types of websites, from streaming sites to porn||Doesn’t block explicit websites by default|
|Notifies you if your child gets explicit messages or images||Doesn’t stop kids from sending explicit messages or images|
|Block apps on iOS and Android||You can only see your child’s location by requesting a check-in|
|Detects suicidal ideation or self-harm situations||Lacks a GPS feature|
|Set custom rules for school time, bedtime, and free time||No money-back guarantee|
|Proactively monitors 30+ social networks for safety concerns||Doesn’t track how long children are using certain apps|
|Disable your child’s internet whenever||Kids can remove or tamper with the app|
|Scans online activities for dangerous content||You can’t track your child’s online activity|
3. Parents say Canopy is one of the best child safety apps
This is one of the most proactive child safety apps on this list. Before downloading, read through these Canopy pros and cons to see if it’s right for you.
|Automatically blocks inappropriate videos and images in web browsers||Doesn’t block inappropriate images inside apps|
|AI and machine learning features recognize and filter out pornographic content on the web and your child’s smartphone camera||Customer reviews say filtering is inconsistent and inadequate|
|Sexting Alerts can detect and prevent sexting||Reviewers say customer service is poor|
|Removal Prevention stop your kids from disabling or removing Canopy||Reviews say the 30-day trial is difficult to cancel|
|Block and unblock any app on iOS or Android||No text or call monitoring features|
|Check your child’s location on a GPS map||Can’t look over your child’s text messages or emails|
There are four subscription tiers to choose from:
- Basic: For $7.99/month, you can install Canopy on three devices.
- Family: For $9.99/month, you can install Canopy on five devices.
- Full House: Pay $15.99/month and you can use this app on up to 10 devices.
- Annual plan: Use Canopy on up to five devices for almost $100 a year.
RELATED: Five ways to protect your child online
4. Net Nanny is one of the top parental control apps
This versatile app works with Androids, iPhones, Macs, Windows, and Kindle Fire. Here are some Net Nanny pros and cons:
|You can track your child’s location in real-time||No free options, though you can get a 14-day free trial|
|Customize what content should be blocked or restricted||Only offers annual plans|
|Get alerts whenever your child tries to access a blocked website||The cheapest subscription only covers one desktop computer|
|In-app family feed you can look at for updates on your kids’ online activity||Doesn’t monitor your child’s phone calls or texts|
|Use internet filters and manage your child’s screen time||The app removal protection feature doesn’t work on iOS|
|Get regular digital well-being reports||Children can use Tor to work around web filters|
|Block apps on your child’s phone||Can’t set time limits for specific apps|
This top-rated child safety app has three subscription tiers:
- Cheapest tier: For $39.99/year, you can monitor one desktop device.
- Mid-tier: For $54.99/year, you can protect five devices, including phones.
- Most expensive tier: Pay $89.99/year and you can secure 20 devices.
5. Shield your child from online dangers with Qustodio
This app is available on Windows, Mac, Chromebook, Android, iPhone, iPad and Kindle. You can protect your children with Qustodio Free, although you’ll miss out on the most robust features. Here are the subscription tiers:
- Cheapest tier: Secure up to five devices for $54.95 a year.
- Medium tier: For $96.95, protect 10 devices.
- Most expensive tier: Spend $137.95 to monitor 15 devices.
Check out these Qustodio pros and cons:
|Has a free version||Only offers annual subscription plans|
|Block inappropriate games, sites and apps on iPhone, Android and desktop||Kids can evade web filter|
|Automatically blocks harmful sites with porn, gambling violence and other threats||Can’t track social media apps|
|Real-time dashboard lets you view YouTube views, screentime, browsing history and activity timeline||Android calls and text monitor features need sideloading|
|Set screen time limits to avoid internet addiction and ensure better sleep routines||Antivirus software can interfere with child safety features|
|Locate your children with real-time GPS location tracking||You have to download and install an MDM device profile and VPN on iOS|
|See who your child texts and calls||You need a Mac computer to monitor calls and messages for iOS|
|Read texts your child sends and receives||Onboarding and rule setup assistance only applies to the two most expensive plans|
|Set a list of blocked phone numbers||Phone support is only available on the two most expensive subscription tiers|
RELATED: Tech keeps your students safe at school
6. Is your kid stuck to their device? You need unGlue
Teach your kid about healthy digital limits with unGlue. Use this free iPhone app to limit your child’s screen time. Here are some of this parental control app’s pros and cons:
|Has a free option||Doesn’t work on Android|
|The paid plan is $6.99 monthly||Reviewers say there’s no refund policy|
|Use it on an unlimited amount of devices||No geofencing features|
|Track your kid’s physical activity||No location tracking|
|Control your child’s social media use||Doesn’t block porn or violent content|
|Reward completed chores with extra screen time||Kids can easily circumvent it|
7. Norton Family is one of the top parental control apps
Here’s an affordable option for monitoring your child’s online activity. Although you can check out its free trial, you’ll have to pay $49.99/year.
It reveals sites your children are visiting. Plus, it lets you block harmful sites, schedule screen time limits, see videos and search terms your kid looks up and look over detailed reports of your child’s online activity.
Here’s our quick Norton Family review:
|Monitor an unlimited number of devices||No free options|
|Geofencing features||The daily time limit option is not available on iOS|
|Easy to set up and configure||More features on Android than on iPhone|
|Works for Android, iOS and Windows computer||Doesn’t work on Mac computers|
|Filters out sensitive content||Not as easy to filter and monitor web activity as other apps on this list|
|Set screen time limits, block websites and filter web categories||Doesn’t monitor calls or texts|
|Locate your child’s device with a 30-day history of where they’ve been||Children can easily work around it on Android|
RELATED: Google has new ways to keep an eye on the kids
8. mSpy is one of the most comprehensive parental control apps
Want an app your children won’t know you installed? You can see everything your child is doing on their phone with mSpy. Even better, they won’t know you’re monitoring their activity. There are three premium subscription tiers:
- One-month plan: $69.99.
- Three month-plan: $40 monthly.
- 12-month plan: $16.67 monthly.
Here are some mSpy pros and cons:
|Works without your child noticing||No free plan|
|You can see what your kids do on different apps||No free trial|
|30% discount for your first subscription period||Expensive subscription options|
|View your child’s browsing history||Each device requires a different subscription|
|See everything your child types on their smartphone and set keyword alerts||Requires physical access to your child’s phone|
|Logs content from texts and instant messages||Reviewers say mSpy doesn’t give refunds and has horrible customer service|
|Set keyword alerts||Can’t control screen time|
|GPS tracking and GEO fencing features||GPS tracking, media messages and other features don’t always work properly, reviewers say|
|You can block check call data and block calls from certain contacts||You may have to reinstall the app if its features stop updating|
|Track your child’s calendar and email activity||Installation is difficult and complicated|
To download it, create an account, pick a plan and follow the steps on mSpy’s site.
Overall, mSpy stands out as one of the best parental control apps of 2022
Although it’s a good spying app, keep its cons in mind. You don’t have to jailbreak your iPhone to make mSpy work. However, you must root your Android to access the full suite of features.
On the bright side, children can’t detect mSpy on iPhone or Android. If you’re looking for a simple way to limit screen time, you’re better off with Google Family Link, Norton Family or unGlue.
9. Kaspersky Safe Kids is another valuable tool for keeping kids safe online
This parental control app is affordable and packed with features. You can monitor your child on their iPhone, Android, Mac or Windows computer. At $14.99/year, it’s one of the more affordable options on this list.
|Set screen time controls||Limited features on iPhone|
|Block specific websites and apps||The web interface isn’t as user-friendly as other apps on this list|
|YouTube Safe Search lets you stop kids from looking for adult videos||Limited social media app monitoring|
|View detailed reports of your child’s online activity||You can only filter content on specific browsers|
|The location feature reveals where your kids are||Using this Russian product may turn you into a victim of cyber warfare|
Overall, this is an effective tool for watching over your children, even when you aren’t around.
10. All you need to know about eyeZy, a top-rated phone monitoring app
It’s time to wrap up our list of the top parental control apps. We’ll break down the pros and cons below. First, you should know the pricing options for eyeZy:
- One-month plan: $47.99.
- Three-month plan: $27.99 monthly.
- 12-month plan: $9.99 monthly.
This affordable app for iPhone and Android is specifically designed to monitor social media. However, it’s packed with a ton of valuable add-ons.
Quick eyeZy review: Pros and cons to keep in mind
|Track your kids’ real-time locations||You may have to install specific software on your child’s phone to unlock certain features, which leaves the device vulnerable to hackers|
|Get notifications when your child arrives at or leaves different places||You can only get a refund if you have unfixable technical issues in the first 14 days|
|Your child can activate panic mode in case of an emergency||You may not see keystroke or screen recording features on your dashboard|
|Create customized geographic zones||No call log monitoring|
|View your child’s contacts||Can’t read texts your child sends|
|See your kid’s search history and sites they bookmarked||No ability to set keywords that trigger specific alerts|
|Works in hidden mode, so your kids won’t know it’s on their phone||Takes many screenshots and you’ll have to scroll down as you look at the dashboard|
|Social Spotlight tool reveals what they’re posting on social media, from Snapchat and Instagram to Tinder||Social media app monitoring may require you to root your child’s phone|
|See what your kids are typing with a built-in keylogging tool||You have to manually block websites you don’t want your kid to see|
|Review events on your child’s phone calendar||Customer support may not get back to you in a timely manner|
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These 10 apps aren’t the only child safety tools at your disposal. An FBI app can help your child in an emergency.
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