Keeping an eye on your child online and in real life is a major new component of parenting in the twenty-first century. More kids than ever before are online, and although that has many advantages, there are also risks and issues associated with it. It's not always simple to monitor your child's online activity, but there are a number of tools you can use to make the job easier. The easiest approach to ensure your child's safety while using the internet is to use parental control programmes, which typically include tools for monitoring and limiting how much time your kids spend using devices and online.
How can you choose which parental control app to trust when there are so many options available for Android and the iPhone? To help you make the best decision for you and your children, we've put together this list of effective subscription-based services as well as built-in solutions.
Qustodio Parental Control App
One of the greatest all-encompassing parental control apps available is Qustodio, which offers extensive settings that can be switched out and customised to meet a child of any age. The capabilities are numerous and varied, and they include assistance for blocking adult content and particular websites. You will also be notified if your child tries to access anything on the prohibited list. Games and applications can also be blocked; if you only want to establish time restrictions, you can do so for each app individually or for entire screen time. It can even track SMS use and phone conversations, and it can deliver 30-day reports on your child's activity.
Qustodio offers GPS tracking, which is essential, especially for younger children. In case you need to meet up somewhere, it can broadcast your location and track your children as they move about. You don't have to handle it alone because you can share access with another adult. The basic bundle is all you receive with the $55 annual subscription, which is on the expensive side. It will cost you $100 a year if you want all the glitzy gadgets, which is a lot to ask. But there's a good reason why it's among the greatest.
Microsoft Family Safety
Microsoft's Family Safety programme, which combines smartphone, console, and laptop safety into one convenient package, is a need if you have an Xbox in your home. Microsoft's family app covers Windows, Android, and Xbox, providing you with nearly comprehensive coverage in a single handy small app. This app has a comprehensive set of functions, including phone tracking, screen time monitoring, and even driving reports (which could come as a rude shock if you're tracking a two-year-old). You can put restrictions or time limits on certain apps, examine which programmes or apps have been used and for how long, and configure content filters for the Edge browser.
The majority of the software is free to use, but the premium features require a subscription. Although it is included in a package with the whole Microsoft 365 Family membership, this service costs $99 a year. This implies that it includes a host of additional features in addition to the Microsoft Office suite, such as 1TB of cloud storage. This is a fantastic additional tool if you currently use Office.
Nintendo Switch Parental Control
It's excellent that Nintendo also provides a parental control software because the Nintendo Switch is one of the most well-liked gaming systems among children. But don't mistake this for a complete parental control and monitoring app. Instead, it mainly merely provides tools for you to keep tabs on what your child is doing with their Switch, including daily and monthly summaries of their activity and information on how much time they've spent playing particular games. You can impose restrictions and put a cap on how much playtime each child is permitted, with the option of automatic suspensions once the cap is reached. In order to prevent them from sneaking in any M-rated games while you're not looking, you can also limit games depending on age ratings.
Apple Screen Time
Is there a tool that is superior to the one that comes pre-installed on iOS? The Apple Screen Time app has some decent parental control tools built in, so if you're looking for some basic controls, this should be your first port of call. On the device you want to establish controls for, go to Settings > Screen Time and choose This Is My Child's [device].
You can set restrictions on downloads from the App Store, content, and in-app behaviors (including in-app purchases). Time spent using the device can be restricted as well, including controls for specific apps. You can even stop your child’s device from being able to request specific permissions, like photos and location. On the minus side, you won’t get some of the more powerful features you’ll get on other apps, like geofencing. But if you’re not worried too much about that and simply want to restrict content and screen time, Apple’s free option is a solid choice. Since it’s made by Apple, you’ll only find it on iOS. Find out how to use it in our Screen Time guide.