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A Complete Guide to Parental Control Apps

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In current times, children worldwide are getting easy access to countless harmful and inappropriate content sources on the Internet, which need more than strong password protection. They can also use mobile phones when left unattended by their guardians or parents.

In times of social lockdowns during this pandemic, children resorted more than before to using mobiles and computers to connect with the world, coping with restrictions of going outside.

However, given the growing demand for internet use during COVID-19, parents need to ensure that their children do not access content that promotes negative social values, participate in absurd trends, and are not victims of cyberbullying.

It is common knowledge that adults pretend to be kids on the Internet for deviant sexual purposes. They engage real children in sexting which is a punishable criminal behaviour and falls under cyberbullying.

It is crucial that, in their first steps on the Internet, children are always accompanied and supervised by a mature guardian or parent who can communicate appropriate behaviours when browsing online.

Parental control apps, programs, extensions and add-ons specifically for adolescents are among the most valuable tools that encourage safe Internet usage for kids. There are different types of iPhone or android based parental control apps that help to adapt to the use of the Internet, based on the age and maturity of the child.

What Is Parental Control?

Parental controls work as filters that allow parents to establish multiple rules over their children’s online content consumption. They are a great way to help prevent kids from accessing inappropriate content online. There are mainly three types of parental controls that parents should be aware of:

Network-Level Control; is configured on the hub or router of your home or office, affecting all devices connected to that hub or router.

Device-Level Controls; can be set on the device individually, like a laptop or tablet, will apply parental controls irrespective of how and where the device gets connected to the Internet.

Application Controls; are set on the program or the active application on any device. These would be the settings applied to Google or YouTube as a content source.

There are various types of options available, and they allow us to do several different things, such as:

  • Restrict and filter content like extreme violence and pornography
  • Limited access to share information externally
  • Set time limits on internet usage
  • Schedule when children are allowed to use the Internet
  • Dedicated profiles so that each family member has an age-appropriate access level

Why Is It Imperative to Control the Content Our Children Consume Online?

Safeguarding the wellbeing of our kids in this digital age is no longer an easy task. The rapid advancement in technology presents new and complex challenges for parents to keep up. Protecting our children from the dangers posed by digital technology and the Internet has become essential because the social behaviours of the kids are in question, especially after seeing various unsafe Tik-Tok trends.

Luckily, many valuable and advanced free parental control apps are available, including those that monitor children’s online behaviour, allowing parents to establish filters over their children’s Internet activity. With the ease of access, the Internet exposes children to many threats such as identity theft, cyberbullying, social media scams, and exposure to malicious content.

That is why parental control has become an essential requirement to protect our children worldwide.

Why You Need a Parental Control App for Your Kids’ Devices

Here are some reasons why parental control apps are essential for a child’s safety in this digital age.

  • Restrict Inappropriate Content

Parental supervision is the only natural way to manage your kids’ digital devices. With these controls, you can restrict access to your child’s device to restrict them from seeing unsuitable videos. Apart from this, some commonly used websites also have an age-based viewer restriction option; once enabled, it helps avoid suggesting and viewing adult content.

  • Block Website or Content Categories

In numerous cases, parents or guardians cannot identify all the inappropriate websites for their children. Such websites remain under control by blocking several risky categories. Some of the best parental control apps restrict any harmful content category. For example, if we want to block access to all websites that contain adult content, we will only have to stop the ‘Adult’ category.

  • Fight Cyberbullying

Mobile phones and the Internet have made children more vulnerable to bullying and online abuse through social media and text messages. Various iPhone and android parental control apps allow us to view the call history and messages via Viber, WhatsApp, or Tinder. This way, we know who is contacting our children and having difficult conversations with their friends.

  • Preventive Downloads to Keep Devices Safe

Children can be easy targets due to their innocence, making them prime targets for cybercriminals and hackers. Children are more likely to download applications and programs that appear to be genuine but are malware and viruses. It can lead to dangerous results, and our data can leak and contain sensitive information such as passwords or bank account information. Parental control app for smartphones allows us to limit downloads from untrustworthy sources.

  • Increases Awareness

One of the benefits of using parental control apps on smartphones is that it increases our awareness of new apps, websites, and devices. Sometimes, we can find it challenging to use our children’s apps and sites. Taking control of their devices through free parental control apps lets us know what they are using and how much risk is associated with them.

When Is Parental Control Recommended?

The use of parental control is mainly for kids going to school, between 6 and 14 years of age. It is an appropriate age to introduce our children to the digital world, as they will likely have supervised digital learning in school. With this increased exposure to the Internet, it is vital to educate our children on appropriate online decorum and awareness about the various dangers of the Internet.


Useful Read: Mobile Phone Usage Among Students: Its Pros and Cons


 

Our primary concern about our child online is being at risk of negative peer pressure. Even kids who wouldn’t do it in person sometimes feel more comfortable making harsh comments about others behind a computer screen. This behaviour can begin as soon as children get a mobile phone or social media account.

Paedophiles are another grave concern once children gain more access to the Internet. They often use social media to spy on children’s interests, addresses, where they study, and other personal information.

Best Parental Apps In 2022

We have nominated some of the best parental control apps for your consideration and tried ourselves to offer you maximum convenience as soon as you finish reading this blog.

1. Norton Family parental control

Symantec’s Norton Family is straightforward to manage. There is no precise limit on the number of devices that can be included. It has a comprehensive dashboard, which offers detailed information about your child’s digital activities.

This app is fully compatible with an iPhone and works well with Android devices too. It helps restrict inappropriate websites while kids use the Internet. You can also see what sources they visit and set time limits for their time spent online, among other outstanding features. This app offers limited-time free access as well.


2. NetNanny

Being among the most interesting parental control app, it proposes various options and has an excellent reputation in the android parental control apps. Nevertheless, its setup is tricky and costs a bit more than other options available. You can buy NetNanny for iPhone as well if you want to protect your child’s mobile internet consumption.

It also offers the Family Protection Pass, which allows you to protect twenty devices, including smartphones and tablets.

Once NetNanny is installed on a device, it’s effortless to stop access to specific websites and applications, and the remote time-out feature is a great function. Nonetheless, it’s also easy to get around NetNanny’s website filter, so we recommend it for younger users who may be less knowledgeable about its settings.


3. Bark

Bark is the simplest parental control app that we have tested; it offers excellent security. It uses a unique algorithm for warning signs in social media posts, emails, text messages, and photos.

That level of oversight sounds intrusive, but Bark only alerts you to posts or photos that it notes as potentially unsafe. It provides the opportunity to stay on top of what is happening with your kid without having them turn over their phone for your manual inspection. Since you receive specialized alerts for specific warning signs, you can address each issue with your child in the best manner suitable.

Bark is among the most comprehensive parental control apps we’ve tried. But it offers a one-week free trial only, and you get access to control an unlimited number of devices.


4. Famisafe

Famisafe quickly makes the list of our best parental control apps under review for your convenience. The app offers beneficial features like monitoring the location of your children at any given time and place. The app also provides real-time updates regarding any inappropriate content coming in on your kids’ devices.

Famisafe is available in various budget-friendly plans based on monthly, quarterly, and yearly subscriptions. Users of this app can quickly provide a safe online environment to children starting from the age of three years and over.


5. Mobicip

Mobicip can be the perfect option for parents who want to test these fantastic apps; it’s a free parental control app for a limited trial basis. Once you get how the app works and experience its effectiveness, you can quickly get the most desired subscription package based on your needs.

Mobicip is compatible with all types of tablets and smartphones, including personal computers and laptops when connected. It also offers a wide-ranging list of features even in the free trial version, so we will reassure you to give it a go and see it for yourself.


6. Google Family Link

Family Link is a Google-enabled tool that can be installed on both Android and IOS platforms on the supervising device, while it only works like an android parental control app on tablets or smartphones. You can control the applications your child can use as you approve or block the ones they want to download from the Google Play Store or manage their connectivity time.


7. Find My Kids

Find My Kids is an excellent parental control app for smartphones; it offers a location history of the places your child is going and where they currently might be staying. The app provides an option that allows you to listen to everything happening around your child. Features like these can quickly help you keep a check on your kid’s activities, even if you’re not near them physically.

Find My Kids app also features the SOS call from your children if they feel unsafe for any reason or situation. Another great feature is that the app offers usage statistics of all the child’s apps. We recommend this app if you have young children that need your supervision at all times.


8. EyeZy

As per our findings, eyeZy is another excellent parental control app that offers almost all the needed features to monitor your child’s activities online and if they are at risk of any cyber threat. You can also watch the private chats and see if your child is getting in the wrong company.

The app itself is very easy to use. All you need to do is get registered with your favoured membership plan and start supervising your child’s digital wellbeing.


What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Parental Control Apps?

Like everything else, using parental control apps also comes with a set of advantages and disadvantages. We’ll overview both in the following section.

Pros of Parental Control Apps

The good thing about parental supervision is that it can help set guidelines and rules for your child. However, you don’t have to become a stalker’s parent, as the parental control app lends you access to all the information from your child’s browser history.

However, you have every right to prevent your children from participating in activities involving cybercrime, bullying, gambling, cyber threats, and other dangers online. Let’s get an elaborative view of the major advantages parental control apps offer you.

1. Securing Your Children Online 

Internet security is all about securing and protecting your children (or even adults, for that matter) against the risks and potential dangers of web surfing. Internet risks include harassment, cyber harassment, online fraud, identity theft, invasion of privacy, and more.

Internet safety for children is an important part of modern life. Talking to your children about the dangers they may face on the Internet and how to ignore or report threats is one of the basic steps you can take to ensure their safety online.

In this digital age, technology is evolving rapidly, as are the online security risks. To mitigate these risks, various applications and tools for child safety on the Internet have been developed.

You can learn more about them to identify which may work best for you and implement it as soon as possible.

2. Tracking Your Child’s Location   

Parental control apps also allow you to track the location of your kids using GPS tracking. You can quickly see where your children are anytime you want. They show you their exact location along with directions to reach them if you want to.

If you look closely, some software can even track the location of your kids with the SIM card they use. Because it keeps track of the details of the SIM card and lets you know where they are in real-time.

These applications provide easy-to-use software for location tracking, including location, latitude, longitude, date, and time.

You can monitor the position of your children remotely. And with GPS tracking, you can see all the details like address, date of visit, time of stay, itinerary, etc. You can also see when your children came and went from a certain place with a detailed address on the site along with a link to the map.

Sometimes your kids can say they’re home even if they are not at home. Parental control apps will help you find if it’s true or not. Location tracking also helps you decide if your kids are in the right place or not.

3. Blocking Websites with Inappropriate Content

Another edge parental control apps offer you are blocking websites that promote and advertise inappropriate content. When you install parental control software, you will be notified when your children visit sites with inappropriate content.

Generally, the following content is deemed inappropriate for kids in particular:

  • Pornographic content
  • Sites with violent content
  • Gambling content
  • Gaming sites
  • Sexting sites
  • Drugs and alcohol-related sites

With parental controls, you can access your children’s browsing history to assess whether or not they are using inappropriate content sites. And if you find out they are, you can block those, preventing them from engaging with those inappropriate sites.

In general, this content appears to users as an advertisement. And children do not know the details and can click to become susceptible to cybercriminals. This allows you to activate the notification, and automatically block it as soon as it contains a pop-up ad.

Therefore, as a parent, make sure that your children do not gain access to inappropriate content using parental control software.

4. Setting Screen Time Limits with Parental Control Apps

When your kids get smartphones, chances are, they spend all day on the screen playing video games, watching videos, exchanging messages, and so on. All this can negatively affect their sleep, health, and social skills because they can become isolated.

As a parent, encourage children to limit their use. Parental controls allow you to set screen-time limits on a device so that your children can use it for a limited time.

In terms of health, the estimated time spent in front of a screen is more than six hours a day for teenagers and more than two hours a day for younger children. So, you can set a screen timeout and monitor internet usage with parental controls.

Cons of Parental Controls

Everything in this world has its pros and cons, which must be known before embracing it. Parental controls also have some shortcomings that all parents should understand before using parental control software and monitoring their children’s online activities.

So, here are some shortcomings related to using parental control apps and online security software:

1. Negative Influence on Parent-child Relationship 

Every relationship grows strongly with loyalty and trust. When you install parental control software on your children’s smartphones, chances are, they will feel betrayed. This is something that can make them feel unhappy and shallow.

They begin to question the concept of loyalty and don’t trust you, which mentally and emotionally affects the parent-child relationship.

Similarly, blocking frequently visited pages can be annoying to your child and can cause inappropriate behavior. You need to be extremely cautious and logical if you want to implement such restrictions on your children without offending them and the relationship you have with them.

2. The Expense Factor

Most of the parental control software offers advanced features, providing all the necessary things to monitor your child’s activities, which can normally cost a lot, and are inaccessible to some users. Similarly, several applications can offer a free trial period of a few days. In addition, you need a subscription to keep track of all the activities on your child’s smartphone which may be expensive.

So, a vast majority of parents need to consider the financial aspects of implementing parental controls on their children’s online activities.

3. Fake Software

There are different software on the market from different companies. They can be fake, not offering you the necessary features, or fakely claiming that they do. They may not cover all aspects of monitoring your children’s internet usage on smartphones and pose as they do.

Before subscribing to any such program, you can check out the different parental control programs and read their reviews to select the right tracking software. If you randomly select a software, it may not be qualified and may not be sufficient.

You can ask your relatives or colleagues whether they use parental control software to monitor their children’s behavior or not, and consider their suggestion to pick the best one.

4. Beware of the Kids’ Intelligence

Children’s minds are smarter and there is a difference in thinking due to the generation gap between parent and child. They don’t like parents who spy on them and choose freedom. In addition, if kids know that their parents are monitoring every activity they perform on their smartphones using parental control software, they can delete it at any time.

Therefore, you better not underestimate your children’s intelligence in this whole scenario. How technology has made them very smart. Once they find out they’re being monitored via some software, they start looking for ideas on how to stop or uninstall the application at any time. And it would mean you won’t be able to track them any longer.

How to Set Up Parental Controls on iPhone

Content usage times and privacy restrictions in iPhone allow you to block or restrict certain applications and features on your child’s device. You can also restrict settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch for explicit content, shopping and downloads, and privacy. Here’s how you may go about it:

  1. Enter “Settings” and tap Screen Time.
  2. Click Continue and select “This is my [device]” or “This is my child’s device”.
  • If you are a parent or guardian of your device and want to make sure some other family member doesn’t alter the settings, click “Use Screen Time Passcode and create a passcode”. Then, re-enter the password to confirm. On iOS 13.4 and later, you will be prompted to enter your Apple ID and password after verifying the password. It helps reset your Screen Time password if and when you forget it
  • If you want to set up Screen Time on your kid’s device, follow the instructions until you reach the “Parent password” and “enter a password”. Re-enter the password for confirmation. On iOS 13.4 and later, you will be prompted to enter your Apple ID and password after verifying the password, which can be used to reset the password if and when you forget it
  1. Now tap “Content & Privacy Restrictions”. If prompted, enter your password, then turn on “Content and Privacy”.

Make sure you choose a different password than the one you use to unlock the device. To change or deactivate the password on your child’s device, tap Settings> Screen Time> [your kid’s name]. Then tap “Change Screen Time Password” or “Disable Screen Time Password” and confirm the change with your device’s Face ID, Touch ID, or password.

How to Set Up Parental Controls in Google Play

In Android OS, parental controls only apply to the specific devices you add them to. Follow the steps below to add parental controls on your desired Android device. If you have multiple users on your device, you can configure different parental controls for each person.

The person configuring parental controls will create a PIN that you must enter to remove or change parental controls.

How to Set up parental controls on Android?

  • Open Google Play on your Android device
  • Tap the profile icon in the top right corner
  • Go to Settings> Family> Parental Controls
  • Toggle the parental controls on
  • To protect parental controls, create a PIN that your child is unaware of
  • Choose the type of content you want to filter
  • Select how you want to filter or restrict access

Conclusion

After the recent pandemic, the concept of ‘New Normal’ has activated the need to get digital at an unreal pace. Professionals worldwide can now do all their work-related tasks remotely, with the help of the Internet. Similarly, the entertainment and gaming industry also fastened their content production pace, evidently increasing the content consumption by everyone.

Naturally, children and adolescents are also getting digital quicker than ever before. They are already facing exposure to unlimited digital content that may not be considered safe for their consumption. The rapid inclusion of young users in the digital world poses a grave threat to their digital wellbeing and privacy, creating the vital need for parental control apps.

As mentioned earlier, we have shown you several useful parental control apps that assist us in our efforts to get safer Internet experiences for children, allowing them to be more productive while having fun. Children’s safety measures work best when we include them in those measures, informing them of being under supervision with all honesty and not becoming a spy.

All the parental control apps discussed above offer great value based on their costs. Also, these apps are the most useful ones based on the number of satisfied users. So, please don’t wait to reinforce your child’s digital protection and wellbeing and start controlling their risky online presence.

FAQs:

Which Is The Best Parental Control App For Kids?

The best parental control software should make it easier for you to monitor your family’s Internet access to make sure your children are safe online.

Our current selection of the best parental control apps covers a wide range of software, offering a comprehensive set of tools to protect your children online, including content filtering and time constraints.

We believe you deserve to know about various options before you can finalise the one that best suits your specific needs.

The top choices include:

  1. Norton Family parental control
  2. NetNanny
  3. Bark
  4. Famisafe
  5. Mobicip
  6. Google Family Link
  7. Find My Kids
  8. EyeZy

In an ideal world, the web would be a safe place for everyone, but unfortunately, this is not the case. And as an adult, you cannot be always around while your children are online.

That’s where the best parental control software can help you the most. They ease you in blocking access to certain sites that may have some questionable content, or by allowing access only to sites you deem appropriate, assisting to help protect your children.

Such software control options will take care of children when you can’t, whether they’re researching for a school project, keeping in touch with friends, or just enjoying all the great things the internet has to offer.

How to Block Downloading Apps On Android?

The majority of applications have an age rating that helps determine which apps are most suitable for a particular age group. You can block app downloads from a certain age with parental controls in the Google Play Store. Here’s how you do it:

  • Go to “Google Play Store”
  • Tap “profile icon” in the top right corner of the screen
  • Then click on “Settings”
  • Scroll down to “User Management” and click on “Parental Controls”
  • Turn on Parental Controls
  • Create a PIN code and click “OK”
  • You’ll need to confirm your PIN and click “OK” again
  • Then click on “Applications & Games”
  • Choose an age limit
  • Click “Save” to apply the changes
  • It will ensure apps rated above your chosen age limit are restricted from download

Note: Applications on your phone that were downloaded before parental control settings will remain accessible regardless of age rating.

Are Parental Controls on the iPhone Effective for Children?

Apple has always enjoyed a great reputation when it comes to parental controls, and iOS 14 is more comprehensive and easier to use than ever before. It allows you to set different levels of restrictions for different family members, block some apps but not others, and also set different limits based on time and age.

How Are Parental Control Apps Helpful In Schools?

Today, due to the unprecedentedly busy schedules of parents, it is relatively difficult for them to spend time with their children and help them with homework, assignments, or even extracurricular activities.

It is one of the main reasons why parents seem to be constantly stressed due to their children’s learning outcomes. Moreover, it is difficult for parents to go to school for occasional school events.

In such cases, parental control apps for schools can prove to be a lifeline, helping them stay aware of what’s going on in their children’s school life using a smartphone.

What Are Parental Control Apps?

Parental control app for smartphones or any other device offers parents and guardians the authority to supervise and restrict children’s access to Internet exposure from harmful content sources and cyberbullying or crimes.

Many free and paid parental control apps are available in the app store or the play store. Apart from this, numerous independent tech companies also offer premium parental control apps that can keep your children safe while they learn and entertain themselves online.

How Do Parental Control Apps Work?

Some of the best parental control apps offer effortless features since they are programmed to undertake certain internet-based activities on the identified devices. As a user, you can keep an eye on the user activity of your kids in several ways.

Access to applications is another feature. With this option, you can prevent your children from accessing specific applications, such as social networks or instant messaging platforms. Access to Google Play or App Store can also be under your control so that minors cannot make online purchases without your consent.

Call blocking can be activated if you want your children to stop making calls or receive them from certain phones; you can restrict them. It is also possible to configure alarms on your child’s mobile to notify them of anything particular.

Tools like time restraints also allow you to keep track of the time your child uses specific applications on the Internet, such as games or browsers. By activating the Geolocation feature in the parental control apps, you can know where your child is in real-time.

In the case of a dangerous situation, the panic button provides you with an alert. Web control, for example, is the main characteristic of a parental control app as it limits the web pages that children can access.

How Much Do Parental Control Apps Cost?

Some free parental control apps online offer pretty much the basic features. However, there are paid apps that provide many customized features, which can protect your child from online threats. Different mainstream parental control apps have differing costs. It depends on which app you choose and which plan you will be opting for as you pay for a particular app.

If you choose to go for the basic features and control only one or two devices, it can cost you around $10 for an annual subscription. However, based on the features and increased number of devices, the cost can rise to hundreds of dollars.

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