10 Best Parental Control Apps for Android and iPhone

The use of smartphones is surging every single day. Whether it be adults, teenagers, or even youngsters, everyone knows how to use a mobile phone. A lot is going-on on the internet. And not everything is worth watching. Did you know that apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat are taking maximum space on your child’s phone? Did you know that with one click, your kids can access thousands of objectionable websites online? Perhaps you know the answer to both questions.

It doesn’t mean that using mobile phones is a completely bad idea. However, there are instances when parents find unacceptable things from the phones of their children. To solve this parental problem, we have compiled this guide. In this article, we have summoned up the ten best parental control apps that will help you keep an eye on your kid’s behavior. Not only will these apps monitor their activities on the phone, but also will help you limit the phone’s usage. Make sure you read till the end to find out which app is the best, what are the features, and what advantages and disadvantages you get out of using these apps.

What is the Parental Control App?

A parental control app allows parents to keep a limit on the content their children can access on the phone through a web filter.

Such an app has features that can track kid’s locations, set a limit on their daily screen usage, and restrict objectionable site visits.

A few parental control software can also track phone calls and log text messages. Some of these apps can even send the content of the text messages and similar messaging platforms to kid’s parents.

A parental control app with an internet filter aims to keep children away from inexpedient apps, websites, and other content through content filtering options.

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Parental Control App News & Updates

In current coronavirus pandemic times, things are changing a lot. The use of smartphones by children has increased for studying at home. Often, kids use mobile and other devices for different purposes than studying. Today, parents are in dire need of having parental control apps than ever.

Companies are working hard to provide solutions to this parental problem by providing the best features in parental monitoring apps. In the next few lines, we have mentioned the latest news and updates about parental control apps:

  • The study from home is demanding more phone usage from children and parents have to download control apps to monitor their child’s behavior. That’s why one of the best parental control apps, Qustodio, is offering up to a 15% discount on all its premium plans.
  • TimeAway is an app launched for Android devices recently. It allows free control of up to six Android devices remotely.
  • The MMGuardian app has added a new feature on iOS devices. With it, text message and instant message monitoring are possible.
  • Microsoft has launched a Family Safety App that is available for both Apple and Android devices. It will strongly compete with other similar apps to allow parents to learn about their children’s screen time usage.
  • Apple is opposing the use of third-party parental control apps. It was first observed in 2018 when Apple launched screen time features for iOS 12. However, after filing a petition in 2019, the court has ordered Apple in 2020 to remove its obligations to right-to-reject third-party applications.

Comparison of The Best Parental Control Apps

App NameRatingPricingSupported PlatformsSocial Network MonitoringScreen Time ManagementRemote Management
Net Nanny3.5/5Free: Basic features Advance: $90/yearAndroid, iOS, and Windows
Google Family Link for Parents4/5FreeAndroid, iOS, and Windows
Norton Family3.7/5$50 per yearAndroid, iOS, and Windows
Bark3.1/5Free: Basic features
Advance: $99/year
Android, iOS, and Windows
mSpy4.6/5Base Package: $323.88/year
Advance Package: $719.88/year
Android, iOS, and Windows
Mobicip2.9/5$49.99 to $159.9/yearAndroid, iOS, and Windows
Kaspersky Safe Kids3.2/5Free: Basic features
Advance: $15/year
Android, iOS, and Windows
Qustodio3.0/5Free: Basic features
Advance: $138/year
Android, iOS, and Windows
OurPact3.6/5Free: Basic features
Advance: $84/year
Android, and iOS
MMGuardian4.2/5Up to $70/yearAndroid, and iOS
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10 Best Parental Control Apps for Your Phone

After we have compared the ten best parental control apps, let us move towards understanding each of them in detail. Every app differs in terms of functionality, pricing, and delivering customer values. On continuing reading, you will find everything from features to the pros & cons of these ten apps.

  1. Net Nanny

    Amid most of the lists of top parental control apps that you’ll find online, Net Nanny would be ranked first. It’s because the overall performance of the Net Nanny app is notable. Even though Android and iOS app development are two different phenomenons, from all the apps on this list, Net Nanny is the only one having the closest parity in both its Android and iOS versions. The app is perfectly designed with modern concepts and responsive designs.

    Net Nanny

    The app builders have somehow managed the iOS policy changes and have not let the app’s iOS version affect much. The app has proven results in blocking pornography on young kid’s phones. Net Nanny is the best application to use if your purpose as a parent is to limit the screen time of your child.

    Unique Features:

    • Automatic Content Scanner – It will block sites and tabs on the web that are not worth watching for your children.

    • Screen Management – Using it, you can give daily or weekly screen time to your children. Now, it’s in their hands to manage the given time.

    • Pornography Blocker – Through web filtering, the app can block access for porn on iOS, Android, Windows, and Kindle Fire devices, too.

    • Location Tracking – It is one of the core features of Net Nanny. You can know about your child’s current location while they’re returning from school or away from home.

    ProsCons
    • Stunning app design
    • Impressive web filters
    • The utmost similarity in Android & iOS versions
    • A little expensive compared to other similar apps
    • Inability to monitor calls and text messages
    • Complex App set-up
    App storePlay store
  2. Google Family Link for Parents

    If you care for your child and what they do on their mobile, you should install Google Family Link for Parents. For guiding youngsters and teenagers correctly during their online exploration, Google Family Link for Parents is a great solution.

    Google Family Link for Parents

    The best thing about Family Link is that it allows you to create a Google account for your child. It’s not like a security account, but it is to set some ground rules for family members for better and safe usage of devices.

    With this app, you can set the bedtime for your child. As this time arrives, your child’s phone will get locked automatically. The app delivers weekly and monthly activity reports on your device. From these reports, you can very well analyze your child’s phone using patterns.

    Unique Features

    • Reports – The app allows seeing your child’s activity. With its comprehensive reports, you can know how much time your child is spending on his/her favorite app.

    • Restrict Download – You can decide which apps your child can or cannot download on their phone. You can directly hide apps on their phones and manage in-app purchases as well.

    • Teacher Recommended Apps – On this Google app, you can see the teacher recommended apps and directly install them on your child’s devices.

    • Screen Time Limit – Family Link allows you to set screen time limits on mobiles. So, you can decide how much your child can use his or her mobile in a day.

    ProsCons
    • Real-time location tracking
    • Completely free version
    • Direct control features
    • No social media monitoring
    • No call and text monitoring
    • Doesn’t block pornography
    App storePlay store

  3. Norton Family

    Norton Family is in the third position on this list because it’s the best parental control app for Android devices. The app has almost all the features a parent needs to keep an eye on their children. Norton’s features like tracking location, time management, web filtering, and screen monitoring work on both iOS and Android. However, its screen time allowance feature only works on Windows and Android. Norton’s app monitoring and text monitoring doesn’t work for iOS.

    Norton Family

    There is no harm in using the Norton app. In case your children are using Macs or Windows PCs, you should go for its premium plan like Norton 360 Deluxe. The premium version of Norton comes with antivirus coverage, which is more secure for your child’s internet usage. You can buy the pro version of Norton at a discounted rate of $50 per year.

    Unique Features

    • Child Monitoring – The overall child monitoring features of the Norton app are unbeatable. It covers all from screen monitoring to tracking the physical location of your child.

    • Antivirus Software – Norton’s antivirus software, along with parental control features, makes it an ultimate app to prefer to save your child from internet attacks.

    • Preset Blocks – On creating your account on Norton, you can input your child’s age. The app itself will block websites, games, and social networks as per its age preset blocks.

    • House Rules – House rules settings remind your child that all activities of them are getting monitored by you and visiting some sites is blocked. You can even set receiving settings-related alerts through email.

    ProsCons
    • Excellent web monitoring filters
    • Monitors an unlimited number of devices
    • Works with all Android, iOS, and Windows
    • It’s expensive if you want to monitor a single child
    • Unavailability of geofencing
    • Features work differently on different systems
    App storePlay store

  4. Bark

    Not only Bark is the simplest parental control app, but also easy-to-use. If you have Bark installed on your device, there’s not much tension about your child’s safety. According to Crunchbase, in 2019, Bark anticipated 16 school shootings and identified 10,000 self-harm attacks.

    Bark

    Besides this, the app is perfect for social media monitoring. Bark out of all the other apps can monitor the maximum number (around 30) of social media apps. Most parents are worried about their child’s social networks. With whom they’re connected, with whom they are talking, and similar questions concern today’s parents. However, with Bark, there is nothing to worry about.

    Using Bark is easy. Once you install it, you only have to select the apps you want to monitor on your kid’s phone. The rest of everything will be done by Bark itself. Bark precisely observes the pattern of your child’s behavior, and if there is any chance of personal harm, attack, or suicidal activity, the app alarms you.

    Unique Features

    • Blog – The blog on Bark’s website publishes several advice and suggestions. After reading them, you can talk to your kids comfortably about sensitive topics.

    • Overall Monitoring – It has features for social media monitoring, text message monitoring, and email monitoring. Besides monitoring apps, Barks let you know if your child downloads any new app or tries to uninstall Bark from his/her phone.

    • AI – The Artificial Intelligence used by Bark crawls content and keywords that your children may use in a secret conversation. It also identifies slang language that these kids use while using social media.

    • Reports – Bark sends a weekly report with all details about your child’s time being spent on which platforms and how much. Analyzing it, you can know how to make your child’s online time spending more productive.

    ProsCons
    • Easy-to-use application
    • Parents receive an alert when kids uninstall Bark on their device
    • Offers 7-day free trial period
    • Expensive plan
    • Sends too many alerts
    App storePlay store

  5. mSpy

    Other online platforms await to attack your kid. Whether it be cyberbullying or online predators, they can let your kids turn towards inappropriate content, suicidal thoughts, or drug usage. With an app like mSpy, you can save your child from any online danger awaiting him/her.

    mSpy

    mSpy is a parental control software solution that helps you manage and monitor your kid’s activities on their phone, iPad, tablet, or PC. The company says 87% of their customers are satisfied with the app, and you can be the next one!

    You can use mSpy after its very easy three-step process:

    • Step1: Pick one of its purchase plans and fill the order form. Complete the payment online and follow the installation process sent via email.
    • Step2: Download the app on your device and finish the set-up procedures. Enter the demanded details and set your preferences.
    • Step3: With your login credentials, sign in to your personal control dashboard and start monitoring your kid’s devices.

    Unique Features

    • Call Blocking – The app ensures that your child doesn’t receive any calls from spammers or strangers. It also blocks text messaging from any scam source.

    • Messenger Monitoring – It lets you know all the conversations your child is doing over messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat. With it, you can save your children from mobile predators and cyberbullying.

    • Photo Gallery Monitoring – With this feature, you can make sure that your child is not storing any sensitive data in the form of an image or video on his/her phone gallery.

    • Tracker – mSpy app has a location-based tracking system. You can always know where your child is currently. In case your child enters a restricted region, mSpy will send you a prompt alert.

    ProsCons
    • Set up within five minutes
    • Budget-friendly app
    • Multi-lingual support 24*7
    • Sends alerts of all activities every five minutes
    • Absence of advanced features like surrounding listening, call recording, and secret camera activation
    • Delayed refund procedure
    App storePlay store

  6. Mobicip

    Mobicip can work on multiple platforms like Android, iOS, Windows, Chrome OS, macOS, and the Kindle’s Fire OS. If we compare it with Norton Family, which only works on Windows, iOS, and Android, it is a better option to choose. Setting up Mobicip is also straight-forward. You need to create an account and install Mobicip on the device you want to monitor. After that, you have to follow its installation process, and you’re ready to track your children immediately.

    Mobicip

    Setting up Mobicip is easy on Android and Windows as compared to iOS. For installing it on iOS, the process is a little awkward. If we talk about the app’s design, it’s pretty. The navigation is fluent, and users get support from the company. The overall functioning of Mobicip is remarkable, and its multi-device design for operation makes it worth using.

    Unique Features

    • Phrases Section – You can enter a word in it, and it will block the entire content related to the entered keyword/phrase. It helps to keep your kids safe and away from inappropriate content reading or watching.

    • App Blocking – Using it, you can block or allow apps on your kid’s phone. You can even search apps both on the Play Store and App Store to add to your child’s device.

    • Web Filtering – You can enter specific URLs to block access to it. The app also lets you select moderate, mature, or strict level restrictions to block inappropriate web pages classified into 30 web categories.

    • Time Scheduling – You cannot set weekly or daily limits but you can set time schedules to allow online access.

    ProsCons
    • Excellent app structure
    • Better web interface organization
    • App blocking functionality
    • No geofencing
    • No time and location tracking
    • Easy to break desktop browsing restrictions
    App storePlay store

  7. Kaspersky Safe Kids

    Kaspersky charges less but delivers more. It’s worth appreciation because by paying $15, you can monitor 500 devices using all its premium services. We should applaud the effort of Kaspersky, which is making parental control affordable to all families no matter how small or large its size is. For the basic features, you can use Kaspersky’s basic version. But if you need web filtering or screen time management, you will have to go for its pro version.

    Kaspersky Safe Kids

    For about $15 per year, Kaspersky lets you create as many profiles as you want and monitor an unlimited number of devices. If you want limited functions like location tracking and social media monitoring, you can use its free version. With its 7-day free trial, you can know and learn about its premium features. After that, you can decide to purchase it or not.

    Unique Features

    • YouTube History – With the paid version of Kaspersky Safe Kids, you can browse your child’s YouTube history. Plus, you can pause specific searches your child intends to do on YouTube.

    • Notifications – You receive a notification when the battery level of your child’s phone is low. It means your kid cannot give any excuse for not calling you or dropping a text because of a dead battery.

    • App Blocking – Based on age and category filters, you can block certain apps on your child’s device. You can also restrict the overall app time on your child’s phone.

    • Location Preferences – You can set safe area locations on your child’s phone. If they leave the boundary from these safe zones, you get alerts on your phone.

    ProsCons
    • It gives many premium-like features for free
    • Ability to support many platforms
    • Geofencing
    • Complex user interface
    • Slow performance on the web portal
    • Compulsory updates for using features
    App storePlay store

  8. Qustodio

    We found Qustodio the most comprehensive parental control app while researching many others of its kind. Like most of the parental monitoring apps, Qustodio allows free use and moving to a premium version by a few bucks. The free-trial tenure to know all its premium features is for three days. It’s the shortest, but trust us, it’s worth it. Not only the app has features that are beneficial to you but also to your kid.

    Qustodio

    For instance, it has a panic button feature. Whenever your child is in danger, s/he can press it, and you’ll quickly get intimidated. The alert is so prompt that nothing harmful can reach your kid before you. And thanks to the app’s location tracking, you can find where your child is in real-time. The social media monitoring of the app is weak, and its premium version comes at a high price, too. However, the app won the Editor’s Choice award for promising parental control software.

    Unique Features

    • Panic Button – Apart from location tracking, Qustodio also gives a panic button. With it, your kid can have a special contact source for emergencies.

    • Content Filtering – The content filtering feature blocks porn watching on your kid’s device. This feature works even if your kid is in incognito or similar private browsing mode.

    • Geofencing – In 2019, Qustodio added a geofencing feature to its application. Later, it extended this feature by adding an option of family tracking. With it, you can track all your kids at the same time.

    • Activity Timeline – Using it, you can know exactly where your kid is spending his/her maximum time.

    ProsCons
    • A huge set of features
    • Cross-platform support system
    • 30-day money return offer
    • Call and text monitoring on Android
    • Too much expensive
    • Incompetent with antivirus
    • Social media monitoring only includes Facebook
    App storePlay store

  9. OurPact

    Although it belongs to the parental control software family, OurPact works differently. However, once you set up the app, you can get its grip very quickly. OurPact lets you track your child’s location, set geofences to receive real-time alerts when they go to a place you wish them not to go, limit the screen-using time, and finally obstruct porn.

    OurPact

    It was the number one parental control app for iOS devices. However, a change in Apple’s policy in 2018 hindered its wisdom. At the beginning of 2019, Apple debarred OurPact and yet, reinstituted it in July 2019. The current plans of the OurPact app have three tiers as follows:

    The Free Tier – You can schedule a single event, block five apps, and grant unlimited permissions on one device only.

    The Premium Tier – You can buy the premium tier by paying $7 per month. You can use all the basic + premium features on the OurPact app for up to twenty devices.

    The Premium Plus Tier – The third category is an extension of OurPact’s premium tier. It will cost you $10 a month with all basic + premium features. Additionally, you can monitor your child’s phone through remote viewing with the premium plus version.

    Unique Features

    • App Rules – It lets you remove the unwanted apps on your kid’s device. This feature also helps in keeping the most fruitful apps intact on their phone.

    • Text Blocker – OurPact blocks over texting on Apple and Android phones and saves your child from getting distracted.

    • Internet Blocker – OurPact lets you block the internet browsers like Chrome and Safari with a touch or pre-scheduling on your kid’s phone.

    • Time Management – OurPact lets you do screen time management and set a screen time allowance. The former helps you to create schedules for different times. The latter helps you to set daily screen-using limits.

    ProsCons
    • Simple navigation
    • Engaging app design for kids
    • Powerful app blocking both on iOS and Android
    • A bit expensive
    • Less number of web filters
    • Absence of call and text monitoring
    App storePlay store

  10. MMGuardian

    Whenever you search for parental control software, you will come across the name MMGuardian at least once. It is a leading tool that works on most Android and iOS devices. MMGuardian app is popular because its interface is user-friendly, and the price is budget-friendly. The company has proven results in helping parents to understand their children’s online behavior and phone habits. MMGuardian app is the one app that renders all the requirements of parents.

    MMGuardian

    In the year 2020, MMGuardian scanned 400 million pictures and analyzed 800 million messages. That’s quite an achievement! Furthermore, if you read all the unique features the MMGuardian app offers, you are surely going to buy it today. But before you decide anything, check its pros and cons, verify user ratings, and see how many other parents have downloaded it.

    Unique Features

    • Talk Blocking – The app’s SMS and call blocking feature lets you break the touch between your kid and any unknown person.

    • Instant Alerts – Whether it be any hazard or MMS message exchange, you receive alerts with MMGuardian’s priority alert feature.

    • Set Time Limits – If you want your child to sleep at night-time, you can lock his/her phone with the time limits feature.

    • Reports – Analyzing comprehensive reports, you can understand the way your kids use their smartphones and help you to decide how to improve their habits.

    ProsCons
    • You can track iPhone with Android phone and vice-versa
    • No jailbreaking
    • Easy application use and set-up
    • Dissatisfactory customer support
    • Apple version lacks some features as compared to Android
    • Call and message blocking is only allowed on Android devices
    App storePlay store
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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which is the best free parental control app?

    Qustodio is the best free parental control app. It works equally best on all mobile devices, Windows, and macOS computers as well.

  2. Which app can I use to control my child’s phone?

    You can use any app out of Qustodio, Net Nanny, or Mobicip to control your child’s phone. Each of these apps will not disappoint you with its top-notch functionality.

  3. Which is the best parental control app for the iPhone?

    Net Nanny, Norton Family, and Kaspersky Safe Kids are the top three and best parental control apps for iPhone.

  4. Which is the best parental control app for Android?

    Qustodio, OurPact, and MMGuardian are the top three and best parental control apps for Android.

  5. Are parental control apps safe?

    Parental control apps are partially safe and partially not. If used with the stated regulations, these apps are completely safe. However, there is a constant threat of leaking images of kids to hackers and attackers through suchlike apps.

  6. How does the parental control app work?

    Through parental control apps, you can filter websites, track the physical locations of your kids, and choose the maximum number of downloads possible on your kid’s phone. If anything goes beyond these limits, parental control apps work to intimate parents on their phones.

  7. What are the benefits of having parental control software?

    Apart from keeping track of your kid’s mobile usage, you can get a lot of benefits by using parental control software, including preventing your kids from online threats, cyberbullying, misuse of identity, malware games, and online predation.

  8. What can parents see on parental controls?

    With parental control software, parents can see all the pictures, posts, and any communication done on the internet. Apart from this, parents can know the internet bullies and save their kids from them. They can see every interaction of their kids in real-time through parental controls.

Conclusion

The outside world is full of vicious people. Being a parent, it’s your call to take care of your kids and safeguard them. These apps’ usage might sound absurd, but it will really help you in keeping kids safe online. In any case, if you also have any such unique app idea that can help parents to keep their kids safe while using a phone, then what are you waiting for? Just get in touch with us!

We provide a range of mobile app development services with advanced features and technologies like Machine Learning, AI, IoT. Our apps support the business and provide solutions to user’s daily-life problems. We have tried to cover everything about parental control apps herein. If you still want to know more, you can contact us, and we will not step back from answering your questions.

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Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel
Designation: Co-founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies

Mr. Rakesh Patel is a Founder and CEO of Space-O Canada. He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311.