Picking a parental control app might be tricky because, at the end of the day, it’s all about your kid’s privacy. It requires a decent communication and trust for both parties, based on mutual agreements and reciprocation.
On the other hand, no one will deny that the Internet is filled with adult content that is free to access to anyone, including kids. Also, the problem of cyberbullying has led to kids committing suicides. And of course, there is a giant issue of contacts with online predators who hide under teenage profiles to befriend kids in social media. According to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Stat..., about 21% of students aged 12-18 have been bullied online.
Not to let parents get confused with all those apps, we narrowed down them to the top 10 parental apps to choose from in order to protect their kids.
What’s good about this app? It may suggest some useful, educational material for kids. Thus, the kid has the chance to learn through apps, videos, and games. For example, the app offers 100 channels to watch and it’s up to parents to choose which one is going to nurture their kid’s brain.
Moreover, it suggests extra educational apps, so you don’t have to check out other installed apps of your kid simply because you’ve already decided which one they might use for fun as well as for education. If any new content pops up, it’s first delivered to your device to be approved. If you’re ok with it, you allow your kid to watch it. One thing that is missing is real-time location, which is essential to saving time and controlling your kid’s whereabouts.
2. MMGardian (Android, iOS, $1,99/month)
It’s an app for hyper-responsible and sensitive parents who need constant access to their child’s online life. It provides two ways to have it: the app itself and the Parent Web Portal which accumulates all the required information. You receive a report of all the activities, whether you’re in front of the PC or with a tablet or a phone in hands. Moreover, the Portal provides advanced reports, so don’t be surprised if you get those aha-moments about your kid. At least, this tool helps to understand the things they might be embarrassed to talk about. Besides, it’s great to know the exact time the kid spent for a particular call to know if some relationships became unhealthy and toxic.
3. Kidgy (iOS, $9.99/month)
This is a new word in parental control. The app is basically your digital assistant that builds trust between parents and their kids. It encourages parents to be involved in kids’ life as friends and be rather respectful advisers than strict spies. The brand uses the best monitoring practices to answer parents’ problems and, thus, becomes in demand expert in the topic.
It provides the updated and archived information about your kids’ activity in a simple one-page report straight to your phone. Also, it secures the safe position via mapping out allowable areas like your home or school. So each time the kid leaves or enters these zones you receive a notification. In addition, it monitors any content, viewed and shared; oversees the apps and filters the Internet hits and blocks them if considered inappropriate. Besides being so good with monitoring all the info on your kid’s phone, it also teaches kids to manage their time correctly with the Scheduler feature. The saved time might be spent further for fun and rest, also under the parents’ eye. All of that by a mutual agreement of parents and kids.
4. K9 Web Protection (iOS, Android, Free)
Good news for overprotecting parents: besides knowing your kids’ search words, you’re are able to set a safe search on the most popular search engines. If you’re sitting in your office and your kid’s making friends at the History lesson, you will know immediately by categorization which friend is good and which one needs to be blocked. So you decide to allow or to block immediately a new pop-up. The same with the sites. So all of that makes the app a great internet filter app for parents.
5. mSpy Parental Control App (iOS, Android, $29.99/month)
The app is actually the leading monitoring software on the market. It has over 1 million users and covers the most features for monitoring. Their approach is rather extreme with the main motto - Know. Prevent. Protect. You can literally monitor everything that happens on the kid’s phone: Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, real-time location and even all the content that is being typed on the phone. They have a giant anti-cyberbullying campaign that allows parents to understand the dangers the internet brings. It works on all platforms as well as PC. You have your personal panel where you can track all your children’s activity.
6. Windows Live Family Safety (Android, Free)
The app is good for all the main Windows versions. Besides doing all that control staff, it restricts your kid’s shopping possibilities. Your kid might have an account and make some small purchases, but you’re always aware of what they buy and how much it costs. This is a good platform to raise the kid’s financial awareness and teach them to be responsible for these issues.
7. Norton Online Family (iOS, Android, $39,99)
When thinking about online security, Norton is the first word to remember. Their parental control software is effective as well. So when your kid is doing something wrong on the Internet, it depicts a dangerous behavior immediately.
The app encourages the communication and discussion of tough subjects such as access to blocked sites, media navigation, decent texting and, thus, respectful interacting with the world.
8. MinorMonitor (iOs, Free)
It is perfect for parents who are used to getting information in tabs. The app provides a visual, in-depth report on social media use. It allows you in a moment to see the whole picture of your kid’s activity in social media. For a responsible parent, this info may speak volume. Since parents’ unawareness about kids’ real hobbies, interests, and interactions is a common practice, this app may give useful insights to a parent and, thus, prevent from negative outcomes in the future.
9. FamilyTime App (iOS, Android, $1, 46/month)
The app is a huge help in controlling kids’ activity. Different daily routines (social media check-outs, views, etc.) and apps may be limited if your kid breaks a settled agreement not to surpass time.
Another good thing is that your teen has no chance to over-speed because you can determine speed restrictions and set them openly. However, there might be inconveniences if you use iPhone and your kid’s device is Android.
10. Kidlogger (iOS, Android, $9/3 months)
A good thing about this app is that it provides you a large picture of your kid’s activity on the PC. It tracks keystrokes, copied texts, names of folders; periodically makes screenshots (for example, every 15 sec when video chatting via Skype); shows the most used apps by time. All of that may be delivered at an assigned time to your email. So this is a convenient tool to be completely informed about your kid’s online life.
Every family is unique, that’s why parents’ requirements toward parental control apps vary. However, there is general criteria which must be considered to exercise an effective parenthood.
This is a guest post by Ava Sage, an IT couch for kids based in Chicago. Contact her via firstname.lastname@example.org