5 of the best parental control apps to monitor kids’ online activity

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4 of the best parental control apps for smartphones
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The parental control software market is big business — forecast to reach $9.5 billion globally by 2023, with North America leading the way.

That means parents are taking the responsibility to safeguard their children’s online safety seriously. If you’re looking to monitor your child’s online interactions and activity, there are some great apps you can download. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Looking for some of the best parental control apps? Check these out

The are several apps out there that take a holistic approach to parental control.

The following apps — available on either the iOS or Android platform or both — give adults not only a way to keep track of their child’s online behavior, but encourage healthy interactions with the digital world, as well.

1. OurPact Parental Control & Kid Tracker

The OurPact Parental Control app and the kids version OutPact Jr. lets parents manage and schedule the screen time for their children on different devices. It recently added a website blocker to stop young ones from accessing inappropriate sites.

Parents can also create GPS “Geofences” around specific locations and get real-time alerts when their kids leave home and arrive at school or any place else. There’s also a Find My Family feature that allows parents to locate those in their households.

Best parental control apps for smartphones

Sample app review: “We tried for almost a year to get our teen to regulate her own phone usage to no avail. After many fights and having to remove the actual phone at bedtime we heard of this app. I am in no way thinking the fights are over but at least now we don’t have to watch the clock and ask her to turn it off and then argue with her. It will simply stop working.”

“My only complaint so far is that the app you put on your kids phone will rearrange their home screen and all their apps every time their phone is blocked and unblocked. Not a crisis, but if this didn’t happen that would be great.”

Price: There’s a free version, as well as a $1.99 a month version and a $6.99 a month version.

Our Pact is available on: DesktopGoogle Play

2. Bark

Bark app - 3 of the best parental control apps for smartphones

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Parents may be tempted to check all of their child’s communication to make sure they’re being safe, but that could grow overwhelming. Enter Bark.

The app monitors more than two dozen platforms, including email, text messages and multiple social media accounts for signs of cyberbullying and other risks to children.

If anything is detected, it alerts parents by sending notifications.

Sample review: “Just got this app today and love it so far. My daughter just got her first phone and isn’t super active on it yet, so we (her parents) “tested” the app by sending some questionable messages to her phone, and sure enough, Bark caught them and notified me almost immediately!”

Price: Bark has a family plan that costs $9 a month, but you can get a free trial.

Bark is available on: DesktopGoogle Play

3. Kidslox Parental Control App

The Kidslox Parental Control App lets you control smartphones, tablets and other devices from one account.You can schedule device-free homework or dinner time, as well as choose between “Parent Mode,” “Child Mode” and “Lockdown Mode” to disable internet access and social media.

Sample app review: “Overall, I find Kidslox to be a useful, easy way to have limits on my daughter’s screen usage … One improvement that could be made would be to have the ability to shut down text and phone calls during certain hours, except for emergencies. Because while I can set a daily limit and control app usage so that even if she has more time before she reaches the limit, she can’t use it after a certain time at night, she can still text freely for hours on end and I have no [ability] to track or limit that.”

Price: Kidslox has four pricing tiers: $3.99 a month, $19.99 a month, $39.99 a month or a $79 lifetime fee.

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Kidslox is available on: Desktop | iOS | Google Play

4. Covenant Eyes

Here are some of the best parental control apps for smartphones

Covenant Eyes monitors activity across your entire smartphone, not just web pages. It then sends a log, called an Accountability Report, to someone you grant permission to. The developer hopes those reports lead to meaningful conversations about phone use.

While this app is marketed as a way to discourage the viewing of adult content, its basic idea — to log your activity — can be applied in many other situations.

Sample review: “The fact that this app monitors my entire iPhone is a big step forward. I really wish iOS devices were more friendly with apps like Covenant Eyes that keep people accountable for their device usage. I’ve experienced some bugs and glitches that need to be worked out. For example, occasionally my internet connection will disconnect entirely for a brief period of time.”

Price: $11.99 a month for personal plan; $15.99 for family plan.

Covenant Eyes is available on: Desktop | iOS | Google Play

5. Net Nanny

Net Nanny offers filtering technology that helps to limit your child’s access to mature content online.

Features include a website blocker, a screentime manager, a family feed and more. Net Nanny works on smartphones, tablets, PCs and more.

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Sample review: “So far I love this app. I’m using it as a first time phone user to my child and making them prove to me that they can be responsible and trusted! I did make him aware it was on his phone as well as what I could see. Although now with all these social media sites I have found that they text through them so as far as messages go I don’t really get to see that. So if that was possible that would be awesome!”

Price: Net Nanny has three pricing tiers: $39.99 a year to protect one device, $54.99 a year for up to five devices; $89.99 a year for up to 20 devices.

Net Nanny is available on: Desktop | Google Play

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