So now your preteen owns iPhone or Android smartphone. Congratulations, you’ve just handled a time bomb to your child with your own hands. Parents often think that children do not know how to use browsers or how to install an app on the handheld device, and how wrong they are! Today’s kids are more tech-savvy than we can imagine as they grow surrounded by the cutting-edge technologies that are integrated into their lives. To us, parents, many innovations still remain complicated while our children use them like a duck to water. They browse through the web, install apps and make in-app purchases (often without your knowing). They are obsessed with smartphones and social media so it looks like they never unhand their gadget.
It is the parents’ responsibility to educate children on cybersecurity. However, do you browse the Internet together with your child? Have you any idea what sites your children visit and what apps they install? Do you know what information your child is ready to expose to a stranger? Do you know what photos your daughter posts on social media? These hard-hitting questions receive negative answers all too frequently.
Adults know that smartphones and tablets have a dark side. These devices give access to useful educational information, entertainment and communication with friends and family. And, at the same time, it is a gate for inappropriate content, cyber-bullying, unwanted apps, online predators, stalkers, identity thieves, and scammers. Are you ready to leave your kid one on one with all these dangers?
What are the possibilities of parental control apps?
Parental control software is a faithful helper of any thoughtful parent in the battle against smartphone abuse. With its help, parents can get the full picture of the kid’s engagement with the device: what apps are installed and how much time is spent on them, who texts and calls to the child, where the child is at the moment and what data is shared on the social media.
Apart from monitoring features, such apps can also help you to coerce compliance with the house rules. They can:
- Limit screen time
- Block the device
- Filter web
- Block certain apps or websites
- Track GPS location
- Notify you about suspicious messages, web searches or app installations
- Monitor social media
And this list can go on and on. Of course, any mobile tracking application cannot replace the trust-based relationship; however, it can become real salvation when your kid has problems that he does not want to discuss.
All mobile applications listed below have the standard features of a solid parental control app. However, each app here has some unique features that stand it out from the crowd.
- The possibility to monitor more than one device with one license
- Factory Reset option that returns the gadget to the original system state
- Is not compatible with iOS and BlackBerry
- Cannot work in a stealth mode
- Requires rooting to enable advanced features
- The poor performance of the Support team
In a nutshell: PhoneSheriff is a quite popular mobile monitoring application for Android devices that works in the visible mode (trust-based relationship, remember?). This app offers some advanced remote control features that will simplify your work as a parent. It can block whole categories of applications, lock the phone during specified hours, define the location of the child. You can also protect your kid from unwanted people, set a filter on the contact list.
The app discontinued support of iPhone, BlackBerry, and iPad versions. The app lacks some advanced spy features like listening to the surroundings, however, its functionality is more than enough for a parenting app.
The main advantage of the app is a possibility to save collected data in one of the following formats: PDF, XLS, CSV.
The price is quite wallet-friendly: a 1-year plan will cost you $89.
- A great choice for big families, classes or companies
- Relatively cheap
- Compatible with Android, iOS, Kindle, Nook, Mac
- 1 month of free usage
- Does not monitor many popular instant messengers
- No spy features like camera bug or listening to the surroundings
In a nutshell: It is one of the rarest cases when the app is offered as a monitoring solution for the teachers in classrooms. Qustodio is, perhaps, the most well-known app of this sphere. One of the distinctive features is extended compatibility: it can work on Kindle and Nook, apart from Android and iOS.
Once installed, the app provides all-rounded info about all activities performed on the gadget. You can check it via user-friendly dashboard where you can also set filters and blocks on the device.
It is also a great choice for the employers: a monthly subscription for 100(!) devices will cost only $169.95, for 5 devices – $9.95. And you can use it for a month for free, what’s not to love?
- Simple to install and use
- The great monitoring features
- No rooting required
- A free trial version
- Works in a stealth mode
- Limited compatibility
- No remote control features
In a nutshell: It is solid remote tracking software, highly appraised by parents. It has all the necessary features to ensure total protection of the children. Thus, the app covers social media, messengers, calls, SMS, media files, GPS and Wi-Fi logs, and so on. Like PhoneSheriff, ClevGuard allows data export so you can look through the gathered materials with no need to log in to the dashboard.
Unfortunately, there are no remote control features, however, using ClevGuard is helpful still, as it allows creating a full picture of the usage of the device. The app is compatible with Android 9.0 Pie up to Android 4.0.
The price for a 1-year license is $99.95, with 3 days of a free trial.
- Supports OTA installation
- The live control panel
- Has a set of spy features
- Works in a stealth mode
- One-off payment may be inconvenient for those who need short-term usage
- The poor performance of the Customer Support
- No free trial or demo version
- No remote control features
In a nutshell: Highster Mobile is one of the rare mobile applications that do not support subscription plans. Indeed, it is a spy app loaded with all the bells and whistles: here you can even utilize the microphone of the target device. The app is also unique in terms of the installation: you can choose whether to scan the QR code, connect the device to the computer and download the app from there or type the site address in the browser of the device.
You can spy on the device in the real-time mode by sending secret commands via online account and the app will gather and transfer info immediately.
The app will cost you $69 of a one-time fee.
- An informative blog with useful articles on teen safety
- Can block apps and websites
- Covers several devices with one license
- No rooting required
- Compatible with Android only
- The Support team is accessible through tickets only
- No advanced spy features
- Has no access to social media or instant messengers (except WhatsApp)
In a nutshell: This is a plain and simple tracking app with some remote control features. It has an intuitive Control Panel that helps to look through all main features within a minute, thus you will know for sure where your kid is and what she is doing at the moment.
Parents will give big points to the possibility of filtering applications and websites as well as tracking GPS location in the real-time mode.
The price is $39.95 per 3-month license with a possibility to monitor several devices. Loyal customers can receive discounts for long-term subscriptions.
Of course, the list of great parental control apps is not limited by these five apps. The work on such ratings can never be finished as every day more and more efficient cutting-edge apps appear on the market! So stay tuned and watch for updates!