Sometimes it feels like today’s kids are born with smartphones in their hands. While the internet can be a lovely place for learning new things and connecting with other people, it’s also full of inappropriate content and potentially malicious individuals looking to take advantage of young children. So, it’s your responsibility as a parent to keep them safe as they venture into the online world (and they will whether you like it or not).
Luckily, you won’t have to go through their phones every night and watch over their shoulder every time they use their phones. There are a plethora of different safety and monitoring apps and websites that can help you protect your kids without invading their privacy. Here are the best we’ve found and their pros and cons.
Spyfone is one of the world’s leading monitoring apps for both Android and iPhone. It’s packed with useful features that will keep you updated on your child’s online behavior, help you track their location, and allow you to background check all of their contacts. It’s free, simple to use, and incredibly effective, which is why we believe it deserves the top spot on our list.
You can access your Spyfone control panel both on your mobile phone and on your desktop screen for maximum convenience. For now, it still doesn’t have a social media-tracking feature unlike some of its alternatives, but its reliable GPS stands out from all of its competitors. You can learn more about it at spyfone.com.
Qustodio’s incredible design and app-blocking features make it one of our go-to parental monitoring apps. It works cross-platform(iOS, Android, Windows, Mac), so you can manage your child’s phone and laptop at the same time. It’s mostly used for blocking, managing, and limiting online content from a remote place. When it comes to social media monitoring though, it’s limited to Facebook as for now.
Unfortunately, the app is quite expensive, so it’s not for everyone’s budget. Besides, you can find great alternatives for cheaper (or free!), which makes it score a bit lower than Spyfone on our list.
However, it’s fast, simple, and incredibly reliable, so we believe it’s still worth the premium price in most cases. Check out their official website for more info.
3. Kaspersky Safe Kids
You’ve probably heard nothing but praise for Kaspersky’s antivirus software, and the same goes for their safety app too. It allows you to connect to an unlimited number of devices, all while providing you with accurate GPS and Geofencing tools to keep your young ones protected wherever they go.
Avoid it if your kids have iOS-fueled devices, as the app has some connectivity issues on most Apple smartphones.
The app is not free, but it’s still quite affordable compared to Qustodio’s pricey alternative. Their interface could use some improvement, and there are some limitations to certain browsers and operating systems, but it’s an excellent app overall. Head out to their online platform to discover the specific details if you’re interested.
4. Net Nanny
Net Nanny is a decent monitoring software with countless filtering options and solid geofencing features. Its biggest selling point has to be the customizability of mentioned filters: you can apply different rules to different children. In this way, your teenagers won’t feel like they’re being as heavily monitored as their younger siblings, which makes it all a bit easier for them to accept.
Still, it’s near Qustodio’s price range, while still falling behind Spyfone when it comes to Geofencing and GPS features. It’s better when used with kids that aren’t overly active online as of yet, but it still makes a decent pick overall. You can find the full list of features and specs on their official website.
5. Screen Time
Screen Time is a great monitoring app for parents looking to limit internet usage for their children. It comes with a handy reward system that lets you extend screen time for certain chores and behaviors. Besides that, it has an intuitive design that makes it simple for anyone who is not that tech-savvy.
Unfortunately, besides its seamless access handling, there’s not much else to it. You’ll need to pay a pricey fee to access their GeoFencing tools, and the app is barely functional on iOS devices (for now).
When compared to apps like Spyfone and Net Nanny, you can see it lacks features. Still, it’s a solid pick for anyone looking to limit their child’s “smartphone addiction” quickly and painlessly.
- Availability: Spyfone, Net Nanny, and Qustodio are perfectly optimized for both Android and iOs, while Screen Time and Kaspersky are better off used exclusively for Android devices.
- Price: Spyfone is the only software on this list that comes free of charge. Qustodio and Net Nanny are quite expensive on their own, Screen Time requires additional payments for access to more advanced features, while Kaspersky stays a bit cheaper overall.
- Features: Spyfone lacks social media monitoring tools, but its GPS tracking features are superb. Qustodio is probably the most feature-rich one, but it has its limitations when it comes to social media tracking. The other three all have decent features, although Screen Time is the only one with a reward system.
- Design: All except Kaspersky Safe Kids have extremely intuitive and modern designs.
- Customizability and limitations: Spyfone, Kaspersky Safe Kids, and Screen Time do not have any limitations when it comes to the number of devices supported. With Qustodio, you’ll either have a 5, 10, or 15 device limit depending on your monthly/yearly plan. Similarly, Net Nanny limits you to 1,5 or 20 devices.
The bottom line
All of the apps mentioned in this article can become your new favorite tool for managing and limiting your children’s exposure to the online world. Of course, they all come with their advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific needs. For example, if you find yourself constantly worried about your young teen’s whereabouts, Spyfone’s powerful GPS features can put your mind at ease. On the other hand, if your problem lies in extensive internet usage, Screen Time seems like a natural choice.
So, overall, make sure you’ve researched all of these apps before you can find the one that fits your needs the most (and one of them certainly does!).