We use cookies on our websites. Information about cookies and how you can object to the use of cookies at any time or end their use can be found in our privacy policy.
Best parental control apps to keep your kid safe in 2018
Apps Tips and Tricks 3 min read 6 comments

Best parental control apps to keep your kid safe in 2018

When it comes to children and electronic devices, it's better to be safe than sorry. Since you can't always be looking over their shoulder, there are a ton of parental control apps with features like usage monitoring and limits, location tracking and blocking content to make sure kids stay safe and responsible when using smartphones and tablets. Here are the free and paid apps from reputable companies which we think are worth considering.

Google Family Link

Google has finally created a free parental control solution, and while it may not be as robust as the paid options we discuss later, it gets the job done. With Family Link, you create a special Google account for your kid which gives them access to Google services but puts you in the driver's seat. Features include approving or blocking app downloads, monitoring screen time by app and setting daily limits, and remote device locking to enforce a dinner or bed time tech break. There are some notable limitations, such as a lack of location tracking and the fact that the app is only for Android devices.

AndroidPIT smartphone for kids 2
It's possible to keep your kids safe when it comes to smartphone usage. / © ANDROIDPIT

Norton Family Premier

The well-known computer antivirus software company also helps with security for your children online with Norton Family Premier. While there is no longer a free version available, you can make use of a free 30-day trial, after which the fee for the first year of subscription is $49.99. It offers features like blocking websites and tracking browsing history, tracking and scheduling time spent on devices, limiting which apps kids are allowed to use, text message supervision, 30-day location history and active location tracking, plus the ability to lock devices instantly to help your child focus on the real world. One of its main drawbacks is its lack of Mac support and limited iOS support.

Kaspersky Safe Kids

Kaspersky offers both a free and an affordable premium version of its Safe Kids software. The free version lets you filter online content, plus manage specific app usage and screen time in general. The premium version, which costs just $14.95 and offers a free trial, also lets you track location and uses geofencing to alert you when your child leaves a predefined safe area, plus it includes battery level, call, text and social media tracking. As with the Norton app, iOS support is limited, but it does work fully with Macs, PCs and Android devices.

More options coming soon for Android and iOS

Those three apps are the top free and paid parental control apps of the moment, each with different features and compatibility. More solutions are on the way soon, though. For those with Android smartphones, Microsoft Launcher and Edge browser are in the process of rolling out parental control features on Android, which would make it the only free solution that also has location tracking. The apps listed here have limited, if any, iOS compatibility. But, when iOS 12 comes out soon, the new cross-device Screen Time features will add to the existing app and content filtering settings, making Apple's built-in, free parental control capabilities rival those listed above.

Do you know of any other good parental control apps? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

This article was completely rewritten in August 2018. Comments below may refer to a previous version of the article.


Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing

  • I am using this app called "familyTime'' since a year for my kids.
    It does everything, allowing you to customize precisely what content your kids should have access to and for how long, track location, and more.

  • Hi Natalie, great tips. Though my concern is that none of these solutions are ideal for the youngest of screen time users - those ages 2-7. They need a solution that helps them form a healthy relationship with technology from day one, and simple restrictions aren't the answer. I'd like to share with you our solution, Ava. Ava is specifically designed to help the youngest of screen time users to form a healthy relationship with technology from day one thanks to innovative features like game designed-powered positive reinforcement. Feel free to contact me william {at} unclewilliam.org and learn more at screentimewithava.com Thanks in advance, William

  • I see comments here from 2015, is this the most up to date information?

  • I use ESET Parental Control . It has more features and allows my son to send me a request if some app or URL is blocked directly from app installed in Parent mode in my smartphone. except location tracking I can send him a special message which cannot be ignored until he confirms read button on message lock screen. I tried several apps, but this looks the best one . J.

  • Daisy Jun 2, 2015 Link to comment

    this is a pretty nice update but there is a lack of overall mobile control. I mean features like IM messages tracking you will need it to prevent sexting and cyberbullying.. Plus, I know this article is focused on Android apps but does these also work on iPhones? I know pumpic. com parental control does, any others?

  • I monitor my kids' phone calls and texts using iKeyMonitorand I don't care who calls me nosy or invasive. There are lots of Internet horror stories on the TV and online. They are usually the products of kids not realizing the danger of the virtual world. They made arrangements to meet in real life, posted inappropriate pictures on the internet, etc. They don't even trust their parents even if they get any troubles, instead, they will ask their online buddies for help, who may make use of your innocent children.