Long gone are the days when a single parental control utility on the family PC was sufficient for keeping your kids safe and productive. Modern kids use all kinds of internet-connected devices, and modern parental control systems must keep up. Before settling on a particular parental control utility, you need to make sure that it supports all the device types in your household.
That said, Apple has recently announced the new Screen Time feature for the upcoming iOS 12 , a set of tools for monitoring and controlling app and device usage. Taken alongside iOS' existing Restrictions settings, when iOS 12 releases Apple will offer a free set of parental controls tools comparable to these paid alternatives, with the added benefit of first-party support. Note that some parental control utilities leverage VPN technology on iOS devices, running internet connections through a local app to enable content filtering.
You'll see the VPN icon when such a utility is active, but it doesn't mean the child's connection is secured by a full-scale virtual private network, nor that the device's IP address is masked. Check, too, that any limits on the number of child profiles or devices won't be a problem. Large families, for example, will appreciate that Norton Family works on an unlimited number of devices.
Most parental control software operates as a subscription service, so pricing tiers tend to align with device limits, though some offer free versions for basic protection on a limited number of devices. If your kids are strictly smartphone users, take a look at our roundup of mobile parental control apps. If getting parental control coverage installed on each of your family's devices starts to seem too difficult, consider a whole-network solution, such as Circle With Disney or Open DNS.
These systems perform content filtering at the router level, so your settings affect every device on the network.
The best cell phone monitoring programs allow you, the parent, to blacklist We installed each program on our own children's tablets and cell. Want to know how to monitor your kid's phone using the best phone monitoring app? To help you with this, we have listed 10 cell phone monitoring software in.
Naturally, you don't get the same fine level of control and detailed monitoring that you get with a local agent on each device, but this is a much broader solution. At the very least, a good parental control tool features content filtering—the ability to block access to websites matching categories such as hate, violence, and porn. This type of filtering only really works if it's browser-independent and works with secure HTTPS sites. With no HTTPS filtering, a smart teen could bypass the system using a secure anonymizing proxy website or even a different web browser in some cases. Most also have the option to permanently enable SafeSearch.
Of course, the most capable solutions also keep a detailed log of your child's web activity. Access scheduling is another very common feature. Some applications let parents set a weekly schedule for device usage, some control internet use in general, and others offer a combination of the two.
A daily or weekly cap on internet usage can also be handy, especially if it applies to all your kids' devices.
The best services apply these two ideas to individual desktop and mobile applications as well. Qustodio, for example, can block apps entirely and set time usage limits. This is particularly useful for children who have a habit of playing games or using social media apps when they should be doing homework.
Sign up Have more questions? News 17 Oct Android spies us! The paid version offers more insight and management tools. Additional features that we feel are useful but did not weigh as heavily: Web and content filtering: All of the apps and parental-control options we considered offer some sort of filtering, some by age and content ratings, and others by categories such as pornography, violence, or other inappropriate and adult content. When should a child get a cell phone? However, it also has a few unique features such as an extensive library of kid-friendly books, videos, games, audiobooks, apps, and educational content.
As kids get older, content filtering may start to seem pointless. Hey, you let them watch Game of Thrones , right? At some point, you start to worry more about their interaction with the wider world. Sure, if their friends come over in person, you can at least meet them, but what about friends on social media and other contacts your child never mentions?
spirometry-filters.com/cell-tracker-on-blade-v9.php Who are they, really, and what are your kids discussing with them? Although some supervision is acceptable, you still need to respect your child's basic right to privacy and encourage open discussion, rather than using parental control software as spyware. Many services let you monitor contacts and messages and keep an eye out for potentially dangerous or unsanctioned situations. You can even block new contacts or view message content with some parental control software. Keep in mind that this primarily applies to SMS texts; messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Snapchat typically do not fall under the same scope.
Social media tracking can also provide a glimpse into your child's social life, though many services now only monitor Facebook.
This kind of oversight usually requires that you either know your child's login credentials or convince them to log in and install the tracker's app. Disabling this kind of data collection is a snap for the child, so here, more than ever, you need to be on the same page.
Most kids are on mobile devices at least some of the time, and many are almost exclusively accessing the internet on their phones. Fortunately, many parental control services offer a companion app that lets you view your child's activity, set basic rules, and view notifications as they arrive—NetNanny is a particularly noteworthy example.
This kind of companion app is particularly useful for responding to access or time-extension requests on the go. Otherwise, you manage everything online, where you have fine control over activity reports and restrictions. Any changes you make should propagate to your children's devices when they connect to the internet. When your child tries to visit a blocked site, makes a post using iffy language, or otherwise bends the rules it sends you a notification to your preferred channel, such as via the app, web, email, text, or some combination of those options.
When you get beyond the basics, parental control systems start to diverge, with many advanced features to help them stand out from the crowd. Among these standout features are the ability to track your child's YouTube and Hulu viewing history, check your child's location, or even remotely lock down a device to force them to divert their attention. You'll also find advanced versions of standard features. For example, the best content filters don't just use a database of categories. They analyze page content in real time so that, for example, they can allow access to a short-story site but block the erotica.
In order to make an informed choice for your own family, check out our full reviews of these parental control solutions. If you have any suggestions for software to try or just want to sound off about a particularly positive or negative experience, please add your comments and join the discussion.
Pros: Cross-platform support.
Time scheduler for internet, device, and application usage. Location tracking. Cons: Expensive. Social monitoring only tracks Facebook. Dated web portal. Some iOS limitations. Pros: Supports Windows, Mac, Android. Web-based configuration and reporting.
Powerful filtering. Cross-platform internet time allowance. App control for Android. Cons: No new updates. No location tracking. Lacks advanced time management control. The best examples have no trouble picking up on HTTPS -encrypted traffic and blocking access to anonymizing proxies. Some apps, such as Net Nanny, let you create custom web-filtering categories, and the vast majority let you add specific rules for custom domains.
The quality of web history reporting also varies from service to service. Qustodio shows previews of the sites your child visits on a timeline and contextual options for setting rules, while FamilyTime Premium does not support web supervision at all. One area in which most mobile parental control solutions excel is in their ability to prevent children from using selected apps. This can come in handy for parents looking to prevent their kids from using social media apps, messaging services that are difficult to monitor, or browsers that get around the defined web filters.
Still, it can be difficult to keep track of every new app that your child installs. Better yet are those services, such as Boomerang, that automatically block new apps your child installs until you explicitly approve them. App blocking works differently on iOS. You can block access to system apps such as Safari, Camera, and Siri, if you wish. You can also disable the iTunes Store and App Store, and ban in-app purchases.
Some parental control apps can ever remove app icons completely from the home screen, so there's no chance your kid can access them. Time restriction is another major feature of parental control apps. Some services, like Norton and FamilyTime, let you specify how many total hours or minutes a day your child can spend on any given device as well as a schedule for when it is ok to use it. Net Nanny takes a slightly different approach and applies these time limits to internet usage.
Still others, such as Qustodio, offers a mix; you can set up usage schedules for specific apps and device usage, as well as specifying a total time allotment for your child that applies across every piece of hardware they use to access the internet. A mobile parental control app should at the very least be able to keep track of a child's current location and some historical location data, too.
It's also important for them to offer some level of control over notifications and the frequency of location reporting, to avoid bombarding the parent with useless data. Both Qustodio and Norton Family offer these features.