Protect your children online with top parental control apps

Protect your children online with top parental control apps

Keeping Your Kids Safe Online: The Best Parental Control Apps of 2023

The web can be a scary and unpredictable place, especially when you’re a parent. Moreover, it can be unbelievably nerve-wracking to try to protect your young children from the underbelly of the internet, its sites, and social media apps. But thankfully, most parental control apps are here to help you keep an eye on your children’s activities so that you can rest easy and monitor what they can see and who they can talk to.

Tons of parental control apps are available online, making it that much more difficult to discern which one is right for you. In any case, parental control apps should never be abused to intrude on someone’s privacy and monitor them without consent, and so we urge users to only implement these controls for young children and with the intention of keeping them safe. If you are looking for an app to help you monitor your children, we’ve vetted the best parental control apps for your family.

The Top Contenders

Qustodio: The Best Overall

The best parental control app is Qustodio for its comprehensive protection tools. From app blocking to screen limits, you are in control of your child’s internet use. Plus, with wide compatibility, it is easy to download a version of Qustodio that works for your device.

Qustodio features: – Free version: Yes – Device limits: Up to 5 or unlimited – Screen time limits: Yes – App Store rating: 4.3 – Google Play rating: 4.1 – App and game blocking

Qustodio is our pick for the best overall parental control app, offering a whole suite of features to help keep your children safe. Included are daily screen time limits that you can personally set and manage, controlling how much time a day your child uses the device.

There is also app blocking to keep your child away from the wrong websites and the wrong apps. App monitoring includes the ever-popular YouTube, so your children do not risk accessing the wrong videos.

The Control App serves as your gateway to several different tools, including child tracking and advanced reporting. Simply download the app on your phone and the companion app on your child’s phone, and the two will sync from there.

Qustodio works on a variety of devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and desktop devices, and works with multiple platforms, including MacOS. With the free app, you get to supervise a single device, but you can upgrade for monitoring up to 5 devices, or an unlimited number.

Premium plans begin at $54.95 per year.

Kaspersky Safe Kids: The Best Budget Option

Kaspersky Safe Kids offers many of the best features but without the cost. In addition to adult content and sites like YouTube, you can choose from several different ready-made categories to streamline parental controls.

Kaspersky Safe Kids features: – Free version: Yes – Device limits: Unlimited – Screen time limits: Yes – App Store rating: 3.6 – Google Play rating: 3.3 – GPS, Safe area features

You can also create your own premade list of sites and even games, giving you full control over which sites your child can access. It’s possible to either accept or reject requests for access in real-time. Determine how many hours per day your child can access a device, plus monitor your child’s location via GPS for peace of mind when your child is out of sight, with the option to set ‘safe’ locations.

With Kaspersky, you can put all of your child’s devices under one license, giving you hardly any restrictions and eliminating the decision of which machines to monitor.

Premium plans begin at $21.99 for the first year.

Net Nanny: The Best for Social Media Monitoring

Net Nanny has a pronounced focus on social media with detailed screen time monitoring. It also allows you to track your child’s activity in real-time, whether it is through an app or online.

Net Nanny features: – Free version: No; plans start at $39.99/year – Device limits: 20 – Screen time limits: Yes – App Store rating: 2.7 – Google Play rating: 2.2

You can see what your children access with immediate alerts when your child ventures into unsavory types of sites. Special notifications are in place to immediately inform you when your child comes across specific sites or content relating to drugs, pornography, weapons, or suicide.

There are also time limits that you can assign; Family Feed serves as your main summary, allowing access to the latest reporting so you can see exactly which apps your child has visited. And the Family Map lets you check your child’s location anytime for extra reassurance.

Plans begin at $39.99 per year and you can protect up to 20 devices.

Norton Family Premier: The Best for Antivirus Protection

Norton is known for its fantastic antivirus protection, so it makes sense that it would have great parental controls, too. Norton Family Premier helps you monitor the sites and apps that your child visits while also giving you the opportunity to block specific sites.

Norton Family Premier features: – Free version: No; plans start at $49.99/year – Device limits: Unlimited – Screen time limits: Yes – App Store rating: 3.9 – Google Play rating: 3.2

You can see exactly which videos your child views, as well as any search terms that give cause for worry. If your child needs the Internet for school (which, let’s face it, most kids do these days), turn on School Time mode so your child can access topics relevant to assigned homework.

You can also set limits based on your preferred schedules for your children, allowing them access when you see fit. Geo-location tracking features help you stay informed on where your children are. You can also access weekly and monthly reports via email or the Parent Portal.

There is no free plan and subscriptions start at $49.99 per year. However, there is a 30-day free trial.

Native Parental Control Options

For iOS users, Apple offers free parental controls that include content and privacy controls, alongside Screen Time, which allows parents to set screen time limits. Furthermore, you can restrict and ban specific apps and features, including making purchases and accessing game services.

Google also provides a free option called Google Family Link, available on Android and iOS devices. It allows you to set up screen time limits, approve or reject apps your child wants to download, and restrict YouTube if you desire.

Choosing the Right App for You

To find the best parental control app for you, these are our expert recommendations:

  • Choose Qustodio if you want a multi-featured tool for parental control featuring a mobile GPS locator and screen time restrictions that you intend to use for at least a year.
  • Choose Kaspersky Safe Kids for a budget-friendly parental control app with Geofencing capabilities and one that provides protection for all of your kids’ devices under one license.
  • Choose Net Nanny if you need a parental control app for social networking sites, delivering immediate alerts if your child attempts to access restricted content.
  • Choose Norton Family Premier to combine parental control with extra antivirus protection, geofencing tools, and unlimited device monitoring.
  • Choose Apple parental controls for a free option to protect iOS devices. Apple’s native parental control system won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it will help you monitor iOS devices.
  • Choose Google Family Link for a free option for Android and iOS devices. While limited, this option provides parents with screen time monitoring and location tracking.

As this table illustrates, there is a diverse offering of the top parental control apps, designed to help you stay one step ahead of your child while also keeping them from accessing harmful content.

How We Chose The Best Parental Control Apps

There are numerous factors we considered when we selected the best parental control apps:

  • Tools: Each app has different features to help you monitor your child’s activity, whether it is screen time limits or content monitoring.
  • Compatibility: We looked at device compatibility to ensure that there is an app that will work with your device, including smartphones and tablets.
  • Location tracking: Many of the best parental control apps offer GPS capability, so you can locate your children at any time as long as they have their devices at hand.
  • Cost: Affordability is a large concern to ensure that parents on a tight budget still have a solution for parental control.

Be sure to carefully review the terms and conditions to be sure that they work for you. And again, parental control apps are intended for safety, and their capabilities should not be abused.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a parental control app, and how does it work?

A: A parental control app is an app that allows parents to monitor their children’s virtual activity for potentially harmful or inappropriate content. For many programs, you’ll be able to set online time restrictions, set preventions so your child cannot access certain websites and content, and provides immediate alerts if your kid tries to bypass the content filter.

Q: How much are parental control apps?

A: The cost depends on the manufacturer and how many devices you want to have monitored. Some parental control apps are free, whereas others will charge users monthly or annually depending on the services they require and the number of devices they want under their plan.

Q: What is the best parental control app for gaming?

A: There are several parental control apps specific to gaming. Among the best parental control apps are Family on PSN for PlayStation, Nintendo Switch Parental Controls, and Microsoft Family Safety for Xbox. You can access the parental controls through your console settings.

Q: How do parental control apps work?

A: Typically, parental control apps installed on devices such as smartphones and tablets will require permission for monitoring purposes. This may include access to accessibility features, GPS, call logs, and website logs, with activity data made remotely available to primary users. However, some parental control apps can go ‘too far’ in what permissions they require and cross the line between monitoring for safety purposes and privacy violations. Indeed, vendors, including Apple, have implemented their own native parental control options as an alternative to third-party parental control apps.


Our recommendations above represent the best parental control apps you can use. However, if you want to consider a few more worthwhile options, we have found a number of alternatives. It’s important to remember that before you can monitor your child’s activity, you need the right devices. Check out our expert picks for the best smartphones, computers, and laptops!

With a diverse offering of the top parental control apps available, you can find the perfect one to help you stay one step ahead of your child while also keeping them from accessing harmful content. Trust in these apps to keep your kids safe online, ensuring they have a positive and secure digital experience.