We liked how this service doles out additional screen time for chores or good deeds. But you can't block apps on iOS, and there's no geofencing or call or text monitoring at all. Read our full Screen Time review.
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ESET Parental Control for Android sticks to one platform, but it doesn't shine even there, lacking text-message- and call-monitoring features. The free app management and time management do work well, as do the paid location tracking and geofencing. That's because Kaspersky Safe Kids does more at half the price.
MMGuardian has nearly every parental-control feature you might want, especially on Android, but the user interfaces are outdated and frustrating. Both the iOS and Android apps offer location tracking and excellent web filtering. App management is strong on Android but primitive on iOS. On Android, the parent can read every text and block any number.
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Time management and screen-time scheduling are also Android-only. Read our full MMGuardian review. Evaluation Criteria We focused on apps that emphasize proactively setting up filters and limits before your child uses the phone rather than merely tracking activities after the fact. We took the following criteria into account:. We tested each app on every platform it supported twice, from installation to testing to uninstall.
We typically monitored activity from the MacBook Pro, but if apps offered control from a smartphone app, we tested those features as well.
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Calls and texts for monitoring purposes were made from a secondary Android device. Android parental-control apps remain more robust than their iOS counterparts in most cases, especially with regard to call and text monitoring.
How We Tested Cell Phone Monitoring Software
But new additions to iOS have closed the gap somewhat. We will note areas in which there are discrepancies in the functionality offered on each platform, but we are not providing distinct ratings and reviews for the iOS versus the Android version of each app. Parental-control apps for mobile devices work best when they're part of a comprehensive approach to teaching your kids about behaving responsibly online. For that reason, we avoided testing apps that can run in stealth mode on a child's phone.
There are many products that tout this capability, but some people use such services to spy not on their children, but on their spouses or on other adults, which is illegal in most U. In addition, we did not consider apps that offered the ability to record a child's phone conversations. State laws vary on the legality of recording someone without his or her consent, and no states allow the recording of phone calls without either party's consent.
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Norton, Kaspersky and ESET, which has its own parental-control app for Android, also make antivirus software, and many antivirus products have parental controls built in. To see how well those controls stack up against the stand-alone services, please read The Best and Worst Antivirus Software for Parents. Tom's Guide.
Jump To:. Best overall and great for iOS Top pick for Android Great parental control bargain Best multiplatform support Gets kids involved Does one thing very well Leaves room for improvement Full-featured but frustrating. Reasons to Buy Great design. Norton Family Premier Top pick for Android. Reasons to Buy Wide feature set. Reasons to Avoid Clunky parental app. Kaspersky Safe Kids Great parental control bargain.
Reasons to Buy Very affordable. Reasons to Avoid Confusing user interface. Qustodio Best multiplatform support. Reasons to Avoid Expensive. OurPact Gets kids involved. Reasons to Buy Excellent design, navigation. Reasons to Avoid Limited web filters. Screen Time Does one thing very well. Reasons to Buy Intuitive design. Reasons to Avoid Pricey upcharges for location tracking, filters. When a child presses the SOS-button, you would immediately receive a loud alarm signal on your phone.
You need to have a subscription after to use all the functions. Find My Kids app asks for the following permissions: — access to the camera and photo — to install the child's avatar; — access to contacts - to fill in the phone book in GPS-watch; — access to a microphone - to send voice messages in the chat. Reviews Review Policy.
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Chat with parents. Chat with parents - an app for communication and your safety! See more. KidControl Dev.