3 Best Parental Control Apps For iOS & Android in 2024

These apps can help your child navigate the internet safely.

It is very easy for your children to access the internet these days. 2021 data shows that in the US 50% of children under 5-14 age have access to mobile phones. So it is natural for parents to get anxious about them accessing inappropriate content.

Social media and websites can encourage your child to see adult or life-threatening content. That’s where the best parental control apps play their role. But here’s the catch! Parental control restrictions can easily be defeated by a rebellious child. Secondly, these apps collect tremendous amounts of data from your child’s phone.

For these reasons we recommend using native OS apps, i.e. Apple’s Screen Time, Google’s Family Link, or Microsoft’s Family Safety. If you still want to use third-party apps then here we have 3 best parental control and monitoring apps.

Note: Installing spying software without your kid’s consent can be counterproductive and in some cases against fundamental rights.

Best Parental Control Apps of 2024

1. Norton Family – Best for Establishing Online Rules

Norton is known for its antivirus software but it also has a strong parenting control app in its menu. Norton Family promotes proactive communication between parents and children regarding online safety, prioritizing dialogue over mere surveillance. Through features like House Rules and Request Access, the emphasis is on cooperation and openness within families. This tool is best for focusing on schoolwork.

The platform allows adults to monitor their children’s online activities comprehensively, accessible via both web and mobile app interfaces. Its user-friendly setup process, along with tools for managing screen time, setting boundaries with geofencing, and blocking inappropriate content, ensures a robust parental control experience.

With an annual subscription fee of $49.99, Norton Family offers value by supporting unlimited children and devices under a single account.

Why You Should Use It?

✅ If you’re aiming to oversee your child’s educational journey, Norton Family offers a valuable tool called School Time. This feature enables you to limit the time your child spends away from educational websites, ensuring they remain focused and undistracted during their learning sessions.

✅ For reliable location monitoring, Norton Family provides accurate tracking capabilities with detailed historical data showing your child’s whereabouts at specific times.

Why You Shouldn’t Use It?

❌ While Norton Family’s applications excel on Windows and Android devices, iPhone users may find some essential features unavailable. These include app blocking, geofencing, location tracking, and time-scheduling functionalities, which are not currently supported on iOS devices.

❌ Norton Family’s current functionality has some limitations. It does not support blocking apps by category or setting usage limits on specific apps.

2. Qustodio – Best All-Rounder App

Qustodio stands out as one of the top-rated parental control apps we’ve tested, offering an impressive free version that caters to Mac, Android, iOS, Kindle, and Chromebook platforms, accommodating up to 15 devices in total.

Even if you’re on a tight budget, Qustodio’s free version remains one of the most comprehensive parental control tools available. It empowers you to establish rules, set time schedules, and block inappropriate content, including pornography. However, we find the paid versions to be a bit pricey, although they come with a robust set of features. Keep in mind that if your children use a VPN, the app’s effectiveness may be compromised.

Navigating Qustodio’s interface is a breeze, making it simple for parents to monitor their children’s online activities. The menu on the left-hand side offers easy access to sections like Your Family, Your Devices, Your Account, Help Center, and Logout.

The Help Center is a valuable resource, featuring user-friendly categories, readily accessible guides, and a convenient search bar. Through this intuitive interface, you can effortlessly manage your children’s activity and filter the type of content they can access.

We also found Qustodio’s customer support to be excellent, particularly for users with the Care Plus package. With Care Plus, you can schedule one-on-one calls with a Qustodio expert for assistance. Whether you need help troubleshooting or simply want guidance with installation, Qustodio’s experts are there to assist you every step of the way.

With its exceptional support and a plethora of features across various platforms, Qustodio undoubtedly stands out as one of the top parental control solutions available.

Why You Should Use It?

✅ If you’re looking for user-friendly parental control software, Qustodio is an excellent choice. Despite its extensive range of features, the interface is intuitive, and the help centre is genuinely helpful.

✅ If you’re seeking a top-notch free parental control solution, Qustodio’s free option offers impressive comprehensiveness, outmatching many of its competitors in this regard.

Why You Shouldn’t Use It?

❌ If your child is knowledgeable about VPNs and their usage, Qustodio may lose its effectiveness as it cannot control or monitor VPN usage.

❌ If you’re working within a budget, it’s important to note that Qustodio’s free version only covers one device, and its premium tiers can be relatively costly compared to other options available in the market.

3. Bark – Best for Customization

Unlike prying parental control apps, Bark focuses on fostering healthy dialogue and trust with your child. It offers real-time AI-powered alerts for potential issues like cyberbullying, suicidal ideation, drug use, and online predators, helping parents stay informed without overly monitoring their activities.

The setup is simple and pricing is affordable with options for different needs. While it offers basic web filtering and screen time management, its tracking isn’t as extensive as some competitors.

Additionally, the iOS app misses monitoring TikTok and Skype, and on Windows, only Chrome and Edge browsers are supported.

Overall, Bark prioritizes communication and trust with basic monitoring for crucial concerns, but be mindful of its limitations in depth and platform coverage before deciding.

Why You Should Use It?

✅ Bark guides open talks on bullying, sexting, even suicidal thoughts, building trust & a safe online space for your child.

✅ Bark keeps you informed about potential issues like cyberbullying, predators, and inappropriate content. It’s real-time alerts and AI-powered monitoring helps you stay vigilant and intervene when needed, protecting your child from online harm.

Why You Shouldn’t Use It?

❌ While Bark offers basic monitoring, it may not cater to the needs for highly detailed tracking compared to other parental control apps.

❌ The iOS app currently doesn’t monitor TikTok, and the Windows app supports Chrome and Edge browsers only. If these platforms are crucial for your child’s online activity, Bark might not be the most comprehensive solution.