Parental Control Apps: Which Is The Best?

By Alexander Mereïn-Velkor

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Should I monitor my kids? Yes. The Internet brings a lot of new dangers to life.

To prevent them, you can choose the best parental control app and install it on your kid’s device and be in touch everywhere. However, it’s important to remember the difference between security and oppression. The latter should never be the subject of your relationships. Parental control apps are created for creating trust, not for destroying it.

What app can I use to monitor my kid’s phone? Let’s answer this question, exploring them in our new journey.

Comparing 7 parental control apps

uMobix

https://umobix.com/

uMobix is a spying app, with a large number of features. You can monitor location, social apps, calls and message logs. It allows application blocking and surroundings listening via camera and mic if used on the target Android device.

umobix dashboard
uMobix is the best parental control app judging by a number of features.

uMobix Main Feature.

Location tracking

This feature enables you to see the current location of your kid. It also shows location history with timestamps.

Notifications

You can adjust them; they will tell you about the battery state on your kids device, the online status in social apps, and new messages or calls.

Contact List and Conversation Logs

The app shows you the contact list along with their names and phone numbers.  It also shows you call and messages logs in the dashboard.

Keylogger

The keylogger of uMobix records everything that was typed from the device in each application, along with timestamps.

Access Features

uMobix grants you access to all the phone’s media. You’ll see the list of photos, videos, and other files, with timestamps.

Internet and Social Apps

The app will show you the browser history and the list of the most visited sites. It allows seeing messages from social networks. 

You can monitor messaging apps: Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger are available from all operating systems. Other apps can be monitored only from the Android target device. Those are WeChat, Zoom, Kik, Line, Telegram. Hangouts, and Viber. Social media can also be monitored. Facebook and Instagram are available from all devices. Snapchat, Tikor, and Tinder monitoring are available only from Android devices.

uMobix Functions for Android devices:

Control Features

uMobix allows app block and restriction for a specified time, and the complete device block. You can also restrict incoming and outgoing calls and messages to specific contacts. Internet control features include Wi-Fi network and site blocking, access to the mailbox, and bookmark bar. Deleted messages and contacts will be shown anyway: the app will save them for you.

Geofinder

It enables you to find the target phone via SMS message. This SMS can be either anonymous or not. After approval, you see the precise location of the target device.

Camera & Microphone Access

Finally, it is the most interesting.

uMobix will show you what’s going on around your target via the dashboard, using the device’s mic and camera. Camera snapshot allows you to make a quick photo from the device’s camera. You can see directly what’s going on around the target.

Price

uMobix has different prices for Android and iOS devices

  • Its Android price is $179.88/year
  • For iOS, it costs $149.99/year
  • You can also buy a monthly subscription for $29.99/month for both operating systems.

How to get start with uMobix

To install uMobix, you need to buy it and log in to the website. After that, select your operating system and the installation will continue depending on your choice.

Important

  1. Play Protect should be turned off and the installation from unknown sources should be allowed for the Android device. 
  2. For the iOS one, 2-factor authentication should be turned off, and iCloud sync should be turned on. 

For Android devices, you’ll obtain a link which you should type in the browser on your target device. The app will be downloaded and installed.

For iOS devices, you should enter the Apple ID credentials for your target device. As it is probably you who’ve bought the iPhone for your child, you probably know its credentials. The app will be installed via iCloud.

Advantages

  • A big number of features, including direct access to the deleted messages, camera, and mic.
  • Good tutorials, reliability, effectiveness.

Disadvantages

  • A limited number of features for iOS devices.
  • Price is much higher than for other parental control apps.

Bark

https://www.bark.us/

This app has two versions, a full one, and limited, which is much cheaper. 

A limited version allows screen monitoring and location tracking, while a full one enables you to set alerts and monitor messengers. It is a versatile app for parental control purposes.

Still, Bark is currently available only in the United States and South Africa, according to its F.A.Q.

bark app
This is the list of what you can monitor using Bark. Let’s see more.

Bark main Feature

Control features

It enables you to decide how much time your kid can use the device; it will be blocked outside settled time limits. You can also monitor each application in a similar way: block the usage of the application or decide how much time your kid can use it each day. 

Also, you can block inappropriate sites or filter Internet usage in general, limiting it similar to screentime or application usage.

Conversation monitoring and Notifications

Bark allows you to read sent and received messages in social apps and notifies you if there is any inappropriate content, such as offensive, explicit, or suicidal. Along with notifications, Bark sends you the recommendation of what you can do, taken from professional psychologists. It makes Bark the best for kid care.

Location check-ins

Finally, Bark allows you to track your kid’s location and makes check-ins whether the kid is in the appropriate place (for example, in school).

Price

Bark has two versions: a full Bark Premium and limited Bark Junior. Also, it has a 7-days free trial.

  • Bark Premium will cost you $99.99 and enables all features available.
  • Bark Jr costs $49.99 and enables only location tracking, screen time monitoring, and website filtering.

How to get start with Bark

Bark is available in the Play Market and App Store: those are versions for your device. You can log in to the website and monitor directly from the browser. It is your dashboard, where you’ll see all the gathered information.

It is how Bark’s dashboard looks from the computer and smartphone app, taken from its official site. You see that it enables social media and email monitoring

For your kids, you should download the Bark for Kid app and connect it to your account. You can find download links in the Bark’s F.A.Q. here, in the questions “Does Bark have an Android/iOS app?”

Advantages

  • It sends you a lot of notifications
  • It has responsive support directly on the website

Disadvantages

  • It’s available only in the United States and South Africa
  • It is costly regarding the number of features

kaspersky Safe Kids

https://usa.kaspersky.com/safe-kids

Kaspersky Safe Kids is a parental control app from the antivirus company and which has a limited free version.

kaspersky main feature

Location

You’ll see the precise location of your target phone. You can mark which locations are dangerous, and if your kid will be found in an unsafe zone, the app will notify you immediately.

Control

Screentime control allows you to block the device usage for certain times, for example when your kid is at school. Application control enables blocking the application usage or limiting it to the time specified.

YouTube SmartSearch

YouTube Smart Search enables you to see the search history among the YouTube videos and block inappropriate searches, such as alcohol or tobacco.

Alerts and Notifications

You can adjust notifications, and the app will notify you if your target will be in the place which you’ll mark as inappropriate in your dashboard, or visit an inappropriate site.

Price

It has a free limited version, which allows you to use an online content filter, safe search in YouTube, and control app usage. Its full version costs $14.99/year; this is one of the best parental control apps judging by price.

How to get start with kaspersky

At first, you should find and install the Kaspersky Safe Kids app on your smartphone. Then, you should sign up there, choose the free version or buy the full one, and create a MyKaspersky account. After that, download and install the app on your kid’s device. It can be an Android or iOS phone, Windows or Mac computer. 

All download links can be found here.

Advantages

  • Very affordable price and a free version is available
  • It is cross-platform

Disadvantages

  • The number of functions is very limited

Boomerang

It proposes inexpensive several devices’ monitoring. However, its iOS features are extremely poor. For Android, it is a very good choice if your quest is only basic parental control.

Main feature of Boomerang

Control

This app allows blocking the device for the time specified, for example, for bedtime. Also, you can restrict a specific website and monitor a website’s history.

Location

You’ll see the current location of your target on the map; location history is also available.

Messaging

The app provides the ability to exchange messages between family members.

For Android devices:

Tracking & Additional control features, You can see call and SMS logs, see the removed and installed apps. 

Additional control features allow you to block contacts, apps, and websites and create notifications for specific contacts. You’ll also obtain a report of daily apps’ usage.

Safe Locations

For location tracking, you can mark safe locations and be notified when your target leaves them.

Price

While being limited, it is one of the best parental control apps by price. The Boomerang’s price depends on the number of devices you want to monitor. Also, it has a 14-days free trial.

  • For one device, it costs $15.99/year
  • For 10 devices, it costs $30.99/year (less than $4 for a whole year!!!)

How to get started with Boomerang

You can download the app in Play Market or App Store, install them on your kid’s device, then log in to the website into your dashboard and start monitoring.

Advantages

  • Affordable price for several devices.
  • Responsive support chat is available directly on the website.

Disadvantages

  • Features are limited.

Qustodio

https://www.qustodio.com/

It’s one of the best parental control apps as it is well-balanced in price and functionality.

Main feature of Qustodio

Safety and Notifications

SOS (Panic) Button is available, similar to FamilyTime. You can set notification alerts for certain activities, for example, for the usage of some inappropriate words.

Location Tracking

Location tracking is available: you’ll see both the current location and the location history with timestamps. You can mark safe places or territories, such as school or home, and be notified when a kid leaves this zone.

Conversations & Apps Control

You can see the SMS and call logs, along with contacts and phone numbers. The app allows you to monitor the application’s activity and set time limits of their usage. 

Here, you’ll see messages in social apps and will be able to read them.

Similarly, you can set time limits for the entire device’s usage.

Price

Here you can see that Qustodio proposes several pricing options, similar to FamilyTime. Judging by the functionality/price ratio, this app is one of the best parental control apps.

  • For 5 devices, it costs $54.95/year.
  • For 10 devices, $96.95/year.
  • For 15 devices, $137.95/year.

How to get start with Qustodio

You can see the instructions on how to get started here: Product – Get Started

Generally, at first, you need to create an account, buy, and download the application. You can install Qustodio for all available platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Chromebook, or Kindle. The app is present in Play Market and App Store. All downloads and links can be found here: Downloads. After that, you’ll be able to monitor from your web’s dashboard; or, you can install the parent app to your device and access your dashboard from there.

Advantages

  • Very affordable price, especially for multiple devices.
  • It is cross-platform

Disadvantages

  • Features are somewhat limited, too.

Norton family

https://family.norton.com/

Another spy app from the antivirus company; however, its functions are limited to location tracking and app usage controlling.

Along with that, it is quite expensive.

That’s why we’ve placed it in the end.

Main feature of Qustodio

Control Features

This app allows you to monitor the app activity and set limits to restrict it; similarly, you can set time limits of the entire device’s usage. You can also block inappropriate websites.

Location

You can track the current location of your kid, seeing it in your dashboard.

Price

It has a 30-days free trial. Along with that, the app costs $49.99/year

How to get start with Norton

For full installation and usage instructions, you can see here: Get started with Norton Family

Firstly, you need to sign up on the Norton website and create your personal account. Then, add a child by entering his or her name and uploading a photo; your child’s device will be connected here later. Then, choose the target device’s OS and download the application on the target device. After that, install the application on your own device.

Advantages

  • It has good and concise instructions on the website.
  • The app is available for Windows; the Norton browser is available for mobile devices.

Disadvantages

  • Its features are limited
  • The app is costly and does not cost its features

So, which is the best parental control app?

Let’s now try to answer our initial question: what app can you use to monitor your kid’s phone.
  • uMobix is the best if you need a large number of functions, including direct surrounding listening, and ready to pay for them.
  • Bark has a lower price, but the number of features is less compared with uMobix, while still more than in other apps in this list.
  • Qustodio and FamilyTime are well-balanced with price and features; in addition, they are well-suited for several devices and have an SOS button.
  • Boomerang is cheap, especially when tracking multiple devices. Its features are basic, but not so limited as in Kaspersky. However, a lot of the Boomerang features are not available for iOS devices.
  • Kaspersky is limited and allows only location tracking and control features.
  • Norton Family is clearly not the best parental control app: it costs $49.99/year while its features are similar to much cheaper Kaspersky or FamilyTime.

How to Monitor Your Kids’ Mobile Devices

The general scheme is easy and similar for all apps. you should buy itdownload it, either from the official site, Play Market, or App Store, and install it. Then, you should register, sign in to the website, and access your dashboard, which is your control panel.

Core features that a tracking/spying apps should have

Based on those apps, you see that all best parental control apps should have the following basic features:

  • Location tracking and location history.
  • Call and SMS logs monitoring.
  • Access to social apps and messages.
  • Access to the application list.
  • Control features, such as app blocking, screen blocking, website limiting.

If you have any other questions, please read our F.A.Q. and you can always contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why uMobix is not available in the Play Market or App Store?

A: It is spyware of general purpose and can be used for illegal intrusion into someone’s privacy. Perhaps it is the reason why it is unavailable.

Q. Is it legal to use such tools?

A: Yes, it is legal, because you’re the owner of the kid’s device. Still, it’s important to be ethical and respect the privacy of your kid.

Q. What is better: to talk to the child directly about monitoring, or not?

A: It is up to you, but we think that in most cases, it’s better if your kid knows that she is under monitoring. It is important to strengthen trust between you and the kid, not break it.

Alexander Mereïn-Velkor
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