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Top Parental Control Apps for Android

Steven Blum
22

 

(Robert de Niro in the film Meet the Fockers)

The world of Android can be an incredibly educational and fun place for your children. Entrusting a smartphone or tablet to a child is the best way your little one can learn about technology. However, if you're going to hand over that Android, you need to ensure the content on it is safe for their eyes. So today we're offering a run-down of the best parental control apps for Android, to make sure your device provides a safe environment for your child to grow and learn.

To Prevent Children from Downloading Apps to Your Android


  

Every time you give your child your device, you worry, asking yourself whether he'll download all paid apps on Google Play to your device. I still remember the time I called a number labeled "Santa Clause" on an advertisement and the insane bill I racked up on my family's AT&T plan. To avoid such inconveniences, consider using an app called AppNotifier, which will send you an e-mail each time a new app is purchased and block apps from being downloaded. 

To Know Where Your Kids Are


    

We question the ethics of installing Family Locator & GPS Tracker, which allows you to monitor where your children are at all times. The principle is simple – the application connects to 3G or WiFi and automatically sends you alerts when your child arrives at school or home – but the ethics of tracking kids is a bit dicey, in my opinion. You can also monitor the content of messages, photos and videos on the device. People can raise their kids as they wish, but I am a big fan of trust. Still, this application could be useful.

 

To Let Your Children Play, Securely

Kid Mode optimizes your smartphone for children so that they can play their favorite apps, according to their ages and abilities, develop their creativity or video chat with other family members. Kid mode locks your phone so it's impossible for them to call, look at your e-mails or chat through other channels. Every week, the application sends you an e-mail letting you know which functions your child has accessed. This is a locked environment that kids might actually find fun.

To Select Which Apps Your Children Can Access

  

Suppose you want to select exactly which applications your children can use – like math apps or apps that encourage them to eat their brocoolli. Kids Place helps you set up a customized home screen featuring only your most child-friendly apps. The application also disables the wireless networks so you can avoid exposing your kids to radiation.

To Control What Your Children Do Online


  

So you gave your children permission to go online but still want to make sure they don't abuse your trust or chat with strangers? Norton Online Family allows you to keep an eye on your childrens' web wanderings, including what sites they visit and who they talk to. 

To Control ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING a Child Does on Your Phone

  

For the truly paranoid, Phone Control allows you to monitor absolutely everything that happens on your phone: the app will forward you all outgoing and incoming SMS messages, photos taken, contacts, phone calls and locations of the device. Phone control operates absolutely invisibly to the user and your child cannot even see the icon on the phone. I'm a bit disgusted by this app, but I seem to be in the minority judging by the number of downloads (nearly 100,00) and high praise the app has attained on Google Play.

Comments

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  • mysticalmalissa Apr 25, 2012 Link

    I love Kid Mode, it is installed on my 4yr olds Droid X. It only allows him to use apps I pick.

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  • Steven Blum Apr 25, 2012 Link

    Cool! And what do you think about those phone tracking programs? Do they go too far?

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  • Stefan E. Apr 26, 2012 Link

    I'd say so. We grew up with our parents not knowing where we went for hours. Just because it is technically possible now, it doesn't mean you shouldn't learn to trust your kids. Yes, they will do things you don't like, they always have and always will. If you try to put them in a digital cage, they will learn to outsmart you sooner or later.

    My 10 year old son doesn't have a smartphone yet, though.

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  • Steven Blum Apr 26, 2012 Link

    Exactly! I also think if you treat your kid as untrustworthy, they can become untrustworthy.

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  • John Che Oct 12, 2012 Link

    I disagree.

    Parental Control is not a distrust, it a CONTROL.

    I use parentalBoard application, and one of the features it has is emergency alarm. So the child can send emergency alarm to parents when he or she is in danger.

    Another thing, I don't control each step of my son, however I want to know when he leaves some area where I expect him to be. This is so called geofencing.

    And you know, I feel myself much calmer with this tool.

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  • Mandy Jan 24, 2013 Link

    I think it's a great idea to know where your kids are and what they are doing.... it isn't "distrust" but merely a way to keep your kids safe. Have you heard of the MamaBear app? It is a pretty neat app for parents and allows you to basically track everything they do from GPS location to social media monitoring. It's free in beta right now on Android..just type in "MamaBear" and try it out.. some people think it is a bit extreme and invades on your child's privacy..personally I think it is almost necessary in this day and age with all the weirdos out there! Keeping your kids safe should be our #1 priority so why not use technology to help us?

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  • Iain Buchanan Mar 30, 2013 Link

    The last link (phone control)is dead. The author clearly doesn't understand where concerned parents are coming from. Kids now have access to a whole new play box exposing them to new risks and behaviours. They also cannot get away from the constant communication (positive or negative) from their peer. Furthermore sanctimonious comments from the author are out of order. Is he now child psychologist as well as a sophist?

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  • Linda Waters Apr 25, 2013 Link

    Wow, it's a very interesting topic and great article! I appreciate such functions as GPS location and online activity tracking the most. I know that app called mSpy (here http://www.mspy.com/android_spy_2.html) can do all mentioned in the article.
    As for parental control, I'm convinced that it should be. Kids are too trustful and they simply need supervision (soft but careful).

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  • Cristopher Bush Apr 27, 2013 Link

    Great article indeed. I think parental control software is necessary today. It's not about spying your child and nothing wrong in it. If you care about him/her then you should definitely opt for these kind of software.

    I am android user and using parental control program called http:// www.cellpolice.com I can happily say that it helped me a lot and situation is under control. truly win-win situation.

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  • erick brehm Apr 29, 2013 Link

    At home you have NetAddictFree to control content and apps used by our children. It manages the time on android tablet and smartphone and on windows computer. As parents, we know how long our children stay on different screens. Website on http://netaddictfree.com/UK
    Regards

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  • Linda Houtz Jun 13, 2013 Link

    My teen has been given a lot of trust but is impulsive. She lives glued to her phone and the computer. Some terrible situations could have been avoided this year if I'd been able to see some of her phone communications. I get what you are saying about trust, but technology paired with an impulsive kid isn't a good match. If a teen has proven themselves to be of a trustier temperament, then I'd go the direction of trust and not too closely monitor what they are up to. For my daughters safety right now, I'm seeing these monitoring tools as a good thing. I also may be upfront and let her know I'm using them. This may be less effective but would help her know I'm watching and allow for some trust. When I was a kid, we just had a landline. Everyone could hear you talking on it, so you thought more about what you were saying. Arguments with friends happened in person, so one had to look them in the eye, and you had more time between communication to weigh your words.

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  • Michelle Rader Jul 24, 2013 Link

    the amount of control is really about the age and experience level of your kids. I think it is not only appropriate, but absolutely necessary to monitor everything your under 15 year old does online, not because you don't trust them, but because they are inexperienced enough to wander inadvertently into bad content or situations and not know when they need help. I tell my kids all the time that the internet is called "the information superhighway" and I would not drop them off to walk alone on an interestate, so I would not allow them to wander unsupervised on the internet. I'm on my third teenager and have learned from the previous two that you are doing your kids a favor by keeping an eye on things early, and guiding them. I don't think kids should have unsupervised internet and social media access much before age 17, based on my experience now with 3 different teens. My younger teens have simply not known when to ask for help or how to avoid certain content, all on their own. My kids actually find security in knowing that everything they do is monitored and seen by me. They know they better be proud of what they are doing intentionally and they know that if something bad comes up unintentionally, I'll know about it and be there to help them.

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  • OOTPAPPSdotCOM Aug 24, 2013 Link

    This Parental Lock for Android secures your device and get this: it makes your kids do their chores! http://goo.gl/5KL2BI

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  • --- 10 months ago Link

    I wonder how many children Mr. Blum had when he wrote this article.

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  • Kristena 9 months ago Link

    I am a believer in the GPS function of the tracking apps for many reasons. Firstly, I was a latch key kid. I got myself into a lot of situation where had I had the proper parental guidance I could have avoided a lot of heartbreak and trouble. There are a LOT of problems kids can cause themselves that didn't exist when we were kids. They are more linked in to the internet than ever before, and a simple text message can wreak havoc on their lives for years. Especially for parents who have to send their child to be in their ex's care this can be an important tool. Divorced parents often don't have the best relationship, and an app such as this is a great way of keeping everyone honest, especially when one parent has a long history of deceiving the other parent.

    Just a thought.

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  • Can 6 months ago Link

    with me, spyapp.net can resolve all this problem.
    I am very happy with this.

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  • Heather 5 months ago Link

    Nice post here, parental control software is necessary for parents today since cellphone has became a necessities for everyone including children. Software like android remote control is a good choice for everyone. http://www.remotespy.co/android-blackberry-spy.html.html It is totally invisible and will not be detected by children.

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  • Stella 3 months ago Link

    The list would not be complete without Screentime Ninja:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=screentime.ninja

    Unlike the conventional parent control apps, this one blocks the device after a pre-set amount of time and lets the kid earn more time by solving math. So all that tremendous and under-used motivational force doesn’t go to waste, but rather re-directed to a better cause.

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  • Franklin White 2 months ago Link

    I would go for mSpy, StealthGenie or PhoneSheriff. Based on my review, the three are so far the most comprehensive and powerful monitoring app for Android. You can read my reviews at http://keyloggers.mobi/best-android-keylogger and http://bestspykeylogger.com/phonesheriff-review.

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  • Elina Bryan 2 months ago Link

    I would suggest Protectr Lite https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.r3app.protectrlite , free parental control app. This app comes with cutting-edge features such as automatic call & message logs, web filtering and application control.

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  • Franklin White 1 month ago Link

    Here's another resource on the best Android parental control apps - http://androidkeylogger.mobi

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  • Franklin White 3 weeks ago Link

    I think one of the growing issue most parents should look at is Sexting. The percentage of teenagers who have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves:
    - 20% of teenagers overall
    - 22% of teen girls
    - 18% of teen boys
    - 11% of young teen girls ages 13-16

    The best way for parents to monitor SMS is via SMS trackers. Here's a website I recently launch to help parents monitor text messages and MMS. - http://bestsmstracker.com

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