OpenDNS FamilyShield is a free service that essentially prevents everyone connecting to your internet connection from accessing adult or inappropriate content when going online.
What's particularly impressive is how, once set up, the security settings affect every single device in a household, from personal computers to smartphones and tablets. OpenDNS FamilyShield isn't an actual app you download to your iPhone or Android smartphone, but it's a service that can help control what content the mobile devices in your house can access. Once connected, the app can monitor how much the console is played, what games are played, and who's been playing. All of the data is displayed within the app in an easy-to-understand fashion and makes monitoring video game screen time incredibly easy.
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The true power of the app lies in its ability to restrict how much the Nintendo Switch is played per day. Time limits can be set up within the app in just a few seconds and the option to suspend the console completely after bedtime is also an option. Profiles for family members can be set up and managed from the Microsoft website or from within the official Xbox app on iOS and Android devices.
Once activated, these parental control settings can limit how much time children can spend playing video games each day and between what hours. Share Pin Email. He writes about Windows 10, Xbox One, and cryptocurrency. Updated September 22, Here are 10 of the best parental control apps mom and dad may want to keep on hand.
Best Parental Control Apps to Monitor and Limit Screen Time
What We Like A child tracker and censorship tool all in one. All of its features and functionality are completely free. Can take 20 to 30 minutes to set up. Download Google Family Link. What We Like A lot of functionality for free users. Log history only lasts for 9 days with a free membership.
Best Parental Control Software - Qustodio
Download KidLogger. What We Like Qustodio is available on all major smartphone, tablet, and computers. Filters web content on all browser no matter the device. Download Qustodio. What We Like Incredibly fast and easy to set up. Completely free for its full functionality. The app icon is a bit of an eye sore. Download PhoneTracker.
What We Like A lot of functionality in the free version. Monitors web, app, and other usage. Download ESET. What We Like Fantastic app design with a pleasing design aesthetic. Read our full Norton Family Premier review. Location tracking and geofencing work in both iOS and Android, as do web monitoring and device scheduling, but app management is limited on iOS, and the iOS app can't monitor calls or texts at all. But if you don't need to read your kids' text messages, then Kaspersky Safe Kids is well worth considering. In March , Kaspersky Lab filed an antitrust complaint against Apple for allegedly forcing the removal of some features from Kaspersky Safe Kids.
Apple hinted in June that it might relax some of its tighter restrictions on iOS parental-control apps with iOS 13, but we'll have to wait to see how that pans out. Read our full Kaspersky Safe Kids review. Qustodio has software for Macs, PCs. This service's limited location tracking works on both iOS and Android, although there's no geofencing option.
You can manage only a few dozen apps on iOS, as opposed to all Android apps. Web filtering is more powerful on iOS, while monitoring texts and calls works on only Android. Read our full Qustodio review. Once the most powerful parental-control app for iPhones, OurPact was hobbled by an Apple rule change in late that nixed the service's geofencing, location tracking and time allowances on iOS.
At its peak, OurPact was the only parental-control app we tested that could manage or block any iOS app. It can still do so for Android devices. OurPact also gets kids involved in managing the daily allowance of screen time that you give them, and it does a good job of scheduling. Yet, its website filtering simply blocks porn, and it can't monitor calls or texts at all, even on Android.
However, you can block messaging apps, and OurPact remains a joy to use. Read our full OurPact review. Screen Time does an excellent job of managing and scheduling kids' device access. Unfortunately, this app doesn't do a whole lot else on iOS devices.
And it has baffling upcharges for location tracking and web filters, both of which come standard with other parental-control apps. 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. 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. 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.
Calls and texts for monitoring purposes were made from a secondary Android device.
Must-Know Things to Consider While Looking for the Best App to Monitor Child's Phone
Android parental-control apps remain more robust than their iOS counterparts in most cases, especially with regard to call and text monitoring. 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.