The Top Mobile Device and Computer Monitoring Software for Parents (2024)

9 minute read

Kids ages 8-18 spend the equivalent of 114 full days each year in front of a screen, just for entertainment according to the CDC. That breaks down to 7.5 hours each day, which is almost half of the time they’re awake. This doesn’t include time spent in front of a screen doing homework, learning, or working.

Sure, technological literacy is an important skill to carry into adulthood. And there’s plenty of enriching, educational content out there on the internet. But at what point does screen time become detrimental? And what are our kids missing out on because they’re too busy staring at a glowing screen?

As parents, it’s easy to feel powerless against the lure of the internet. Thankfully, some applications and programs make doing this easier. These apps give you the ability to limit and schedule kids’ screen time, automating the dreaded task of taking away devices. They also let you monitor and restrict the content your children are seeing, meaning no more hovering over their shoulder to get a glimpse at their screens.

The good news, and the bad news, is that there are a lot of these apps and programs out there. You have plenty of options, but it also makes finding the right one time-consuming.

The Best Parental Control Software

To give you a hand, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of five popular parental device monitoring apps:

  • Screen Time
  • Mobicip
  • Kaspersky Safe Kids
  • Nortons Family
  • Net Nanny
App NameCostFree TrialFeaturesDevice LimitWhere It’s Available
Screen TimeFree to $4.99/month*7-day free trial; no credit card requiredLimit screen time, manage apps, control the web, and track with GPSCan use app on up to five devicesiOS, Android, and Amazon Fire
Mobicip$3.99/month to $12.99/month7-day free trialLimit screen time, manage apps, control the web, and track with GPS (iOS and Android only)Can use app on five to 20 devices, depending on the package you selectiOS, Android, Chromebook PC, macOS, and Amazon Fire
Kaspersky Safe KidsFree to $14.99/month7-day free trialAdvanced location tracking, battery monitoring, limit screen time, manage apps, and control the webCan use “for all the children in your family”iOS, Android, PC, and macOS
Norton Family$49.99/year, or about $4.17/month30-day free trialWeb, time, search, social network, and video supervisionNo specified limitPC, Android, and iOS
Net Nanny$79.99/year to $129.99/year, or about $6.66/month to $10.83/month14-day free trialWeb blocking and monitoring and screen time managementCan use app on five to 20 devices, depending on the package you selectPC, macOS, iOS, Android, Chromebook & Amazon Fire

Screen Time

Developed by parents who have been in your shoes, Screen Time is the app of choice for many who are looking to make sure their kids are staying safe on their phones and tablets. With new features continuously added, this app is likely to stay on top of any trends and features competitors develop. However, it does not allow you to monitor PCs or Macs at this time, just phones and tablets.


Screen Time lets parents control how much time kids spend on their devices in a few different ways. You can set time limits to control how long your child can use their device. You can also set schedules, blocking their usage during critical times, like during school, church, or when they should be asleep. There’s also an instant pause button, where you can cut off your child’s access to their device instantaneously.

You can also help encourage positive habits by rewarding your child with more screen time for accomplishing certain tasks. Did they do the dishes without having to ask them? Maybe you add ten more minutes of screen time. You can also temporarily put a hold on schedules with the free play mode because sometimes during long car rides or in doctor’s office waiting rooms they need to be distracted for the greater good.

Screen Time also offers content management options, allowing you to block websites and apps, as well as giving you a comprehensive look at what apps or sites they are spending their time on.

Their GPS tracking gives you the option to see where your child is and the route they took to get there. You’ll also be alerted if they leave your designated safe zone.


Screen Time is available for Android, iOS, and Kindle devices. At this time, it is not supported by PC or Mac, meaning you can only monitor and control your kids’ mobile devices.

Additionally, their web filtering feature is only available on Android devices. This feature allows you to block categories of sites and specific URLs. However, you can filter out off-limit apps on all devices, and you’ll also be able to see what sites your kids are browsing.


Screen Time lets you test out their service for free for seven days, with no need to enter in your payment information.

That said, their payment structure is a little unclear to those looking to sign up for the first time. There is no pricing page on their website and no page that breaks down the specific features available by each plan. It appears that you’d need to sign up for the free trial to have full access to that information.

A few second-party review sites mention the app costs $4.99/month for the premium version, but a limited version is available for free. The paid version allows you to monitor up to five devices.


Recognized by Mom’s Choice Awards, Mobicip is a parental monitoring software with over ten years of experience. Based on the cloud, even the tech-savviest kids will have a tough time subverting these protections.


From content management, to screen time limits, to GPS tracking, Mobicip has the basics and then some when it comes to parental control software.

You’re able to block websites by categories, block social media, games, and other apps, and control which streaming services your child can access. You can also check out a four-week log of internet history, so you can see what your child is doing while searching the web.

Mobicip allows you to set screen time limits and block out specific times during which kids can’t use their device at all. And should you need to have an impromptu family meeting or a special dinner, you can block screen usage on all family devices with just one button, regardless of the schedule.

Mobicip also has a GPS function, which is only available on Android and iOS devices. This allows you to see your child’s location based on where their mobile device is. It alerts them when you are trying to access their location, so it doesn’t feel like you’re spying on them. While this GPS tracking may not be as robust as Screen Time or other parental control apps, it gets the job done.


Mobicip is available on Android, iOS, PC, Mac, Kindle, and Chromebook, though not all features will be available on all devices.


Mobicip has a few different plans. The least expensive is $3.99/month and lets you monitor up to five devices. Next is their $7.50/month plan which puts their software on up to ten devices. Lastly is their $12.99/month plan, which includes up to 20 devices. Other than the number of devices protected by their software, the different plans don’t offer different features.

While these are month-by-month prices, Mobicip does bill annually, so you’ll have to shell out the cost all at once. You can, however, try out the program for seven days for free before committing to a year.

Kaspersky Safe Kids

Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity company dating back to 1997. Their Safe Kids software is just one of many online security tools they offer. You’ll enjoy a variety of features that let you manage content and screen time across a wide variety of devices.


Kaspersky Safe Kids offers features for restricting content accessed, limiting screen time, and location tracking.

It allows you to set a specific schedule during which your child can access their devices and put a limit on how much time they’re spending on their device overall.

You can also keep tabs on and restrict the type of content they have access to, be that through the web, YouTube searches, or apps. You can even get a look at your child’s YouTube search history to see what they’re watching.

One unique feature Safe Kids offers is the ability to see your child’s battery life. This can help you remind them to charge it so they’re prepared should they need it. You’re also able to see where they are on the map and set a specific safe area. If they leave that area, you’ll get a real-time notification alerting you.


Kaspersky Safe Kids is available on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. There’s also a step-by-step guide on how to install the software on each type of device on their website.


Kaspersky Safe Kids has two plans: a free one, and a Premium subscription with expanded features for $14.99/month.

The free version allows you to filter out unwanted websites, restrict YouTube searches, manage and restrict apps, and set a time limit for overall device usage.

The Premium plan adds a few features, including scheduling, GPS locator, battery life, and instant alerts. If you want to try out the Premium features before committing, you can test things out for seven days for free.

Their website states that the Premium subscription will serve all the devices for kids in your family, but does not give a specific limit.

Norton Family

From a trusted antivirus software provider Norton comes their answer to parental control tools, Norton Family. This app allows you to set restrictions on-screen usage time and content for your children’s devices, giving you insights and control via their web-based portal and through email updates.


Norton Family allows you to limit screen time and content.

You can block specific sites and you’ll have access to a list of the sites they do visit, as well as a look into the specific search terms they used. You’re able to see a list of YouTube videos they watched and take a snapshot from those videos to get a better idea of the type of content they’re watching. On Android devices, you’re able to see the apps they’ve downloaded, as well as block ones you don’t want them using.

In addition to the somewhat standard screen time limits and scheduling, you can also take advantage of their School Time feature. If your child is enrolled in remote learning, they’ll need access to the internet. But with Norton Family, you can manage their environment so they have access to what they need for school, but don’t have access to things that will distract them.

Android and iOS devices will also use GPS to show you where your kids are. So there’s no pressure for you to be constantly checking their location while they’re away, you can see all their locations within the past 30 days.

Until a recent Google update, Norton Family included the ability to monitor and restrict text messages and calls on Android devices. However, that feature is currently not available.


Norton Family can be used on PC, Android, and iOS. However, as with other monitoring apps, their GPS/location tracking feature is not available on PC, and you can only supervise apps on Android devices.

Mac computers are notably not supported by Norton Family, nor are Amazon devices.


Norton Family is a yearly subscription, meaning you’ll have to commit to their service for a full year instead of on a month-by-month basis. They charge $49.99 for access to their software for 12 months. To compare that to competitors that change monthly, that turns out to be about $4.17/month.

If you purchase their Norton 360 Deluxe or Norton 360 with LifeLock, Norton Family will come free.

You can sample the app for a generous 30 days during their free trial period before committing. There is no specified limit for the number of devices that you can monitor with Norton Family.

Net Nanny

Since 1996, Net Nanny has been helping parents keep track of kids’ online activity with their parental control software. This software uses AI to block content you don’t want your kids to see across all websites, instead of relying on catalogs of websites known to have inappropriate content.


Net Nanny has robust content management tools that allow you to block the sites you know you don’t want your kids on, as well as keeping your kids off sites you don’t know about, but still don’t want them on. Through the use of artificial intelligence, their software can scan a site for unsuitable content before your child accesses it. If it finds content that isn’t okay, it will block that site.

This feature allows Net Nanny to uniquely block unacceptable content from social media sites. That means you can give your kids access to social media if you’re comfortable with it, without giving them access to the inappropriate things that can make it on those sites.

You can also set schedules, curfews, and time limits for when your children access the internet. If you need an impromptu block out time that isn’t built into your schedule, you can turn off the internet on their device with a pause button.


Net Nanny can be used on PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, and Chromebook, though as with other apps, location monitoring is available on mobile devices only.


Net Nanny offers two plans: one that’s $79.99/year, and one that is $129.99/year. The difference between these plans is the number of devices you’re able to protect. The less expensive option allows up to five devices, while the pricier option allows up to 20 devices. Other than the number of devices served, the features are the same on both plans.

This yearly commitment breaks down to $6.66/month to $10.83/month.

Before taking the leap, you can test out their software for 14 days for free.

The No-App Option for a Safer Internet

If you’d like to block access to unsuitable content but aren’t interested in subscribing to a full-fledged monitoring app, consider choosing Upward Broadband for an internet service provider. We make a good-faith effort to block p*rnographic and sexually explicit content. This service comes standard with all our internet packages. It’s just one more line of defense between your children and unsavory content.

Which App Is Best for Keeping Your Kids Safe and On Task?

The best place to start when deciding which app is the one for you is to consider the devices you’d like to monitor. Do your children only have access to mobile devices, like cell phones and tablets, or do desktop or laptop computers come into play?

Then, you’ll want to narrow down the features that are essential to successfully manage your child’s device usage. You’ll need to balance content filters, time restrictions, and price.

The good news is all these apps have free trials, so you can test them out before making the investment.

The Top Mobile Device and Computer Monitoring Software for Parents (2024)


What is the best app to monitor my child's phone? ›

You can monitor your child's screen time with third-party apps like Qustodio, Norton Family, or Net Nanny. Another option is to use the built-in parental controls on your device. iOS has Screen Time, and Android has Family Link.

What is parental tracking software? ›

A parental control app can be downloaded to a caregiver's phone or tablet (and usually also to their child's device) that allows them to monitor, track, block, and limit activity on their child's computer, phone, laptop, and/or tablet.

What is the best app to monitor your child's phone without them knowing? ›

AirDroid Parental Control is the best solution for ensuring that your child is safe online. It has features that can help you keep track of your child's location anywhere and anytime. In addition, you can listen to the child's environment, watch where the child is, and get alerts about what the child may be doing.

How can I see everything my child does on their phone? ›

For free text-monitoring on Android, try the Phone Tracker app from Spy Phone Labs. This free app lets you keep tabs on up to five phones. You can track GPS, phone calls, text messages and even web activity. You just install it on your kids' phones and set up an account.

How can I see my sons texts on iPhone? ›

How Can I Monitor My Child's Text Messages on iPhone
  1. Go to, sign in with your child's Apple ID. If there are multiple devices linked to the ID, click on the device you want. The options are easy to navigate from there.
  2. Follow the command prompt to check your child's text message.

How can I see everything on my child's phone free? ›

[2023] Top 10 Free Parental Control Apps for Android
  1. AirDroid Parental Control App.
  2. Qustodio Parental Control Software.
  3. Norton Family Parental Monitoring App.
  4. Google Family Link.
  5. KidLogger Phone Monitoring App for Parents.
  6. IvyMobile AppLock Cell Phone Parental Controls.
  7. Kaspersky Safe Kids Cell Phone Monitoring for Parents.

Can I read text messages with bark? ›

Monitoring Text Messages

Monitoring a child's text messages is included in the Bark Premium subscription plan. For more information on how Bark monitors text messages, check out our Text Message FAQ.

What apps can parents track you on? ›

Here are some of the family locator apps for the parents to keep tabs on your family's whereabouts.
  • Life360: Find Family & Friends. (Android, iPhone, iPad) ...
  • Ok Away: Find Family & Friends. ...
  • Eyezy. ...
  • Kidslox - Parental Control App. ...
  • FamiSafe - Parental Control. ...
  • Qustodio Parental Control. ...
  • Verizon Smart Family. ...
  • Google Family Link.

How can I monitor what my child is doing on the computer? ›

There is 10 best computer monitoring software for parents to control their kid's activities, such as:
  1. FamiSafe computer monitoring software. ...
  2. K9 Web Protection. ...
  3. Family Time. ...
  4. Window Live Family Safety. ...
  5. Norton Online Family. ...
  6. Net Nanny. ...
  7. Kidlogger. ...
  8. Kaspersky Safe Kids.

Can parental controls see everything? ›

These parental controls can only keep track of accounts that they know your kid is using, and for some apps, you'll need your kid's password in order to monitor activity.

Does bark monitor Snapchat? ›

Snapchat: On Android, Bark monitors Snapchat private messages (text chat only). To get this platform monitored for worrisome content, you will need to download the Bark for Kids app onto your child's Android.

Can I see my kids text messages on my phone? ›

Unlike iOS, Android doesn't enable you to view your child's text messages and doesn't forward them to you either. However, you can monitor your child's text messages and social media texts using Google Family Link. Here's how you can do that: Install Google Family Link's parent version on your own device.

How do I connect my child's phone to mine? ›

If you're a parent, you can find your child's Android device location in the Family Link app.
  1. Open the Family Link app .
  2. Tap Location.
  3. Tap Set up.
  4. If you have multiple children, select which ones you want to turn on location sharing for.
  5. Tap Turn on.

Can I shut off my child's phone remotely? ›

Turn off Android phones

Google's Family Link app allows you to schedule a span of time for the phone to be off, such as bedtime. But you can also completely lock the device so kids can't even get into it. Family Link requires two downloads, one for your phone and one for your kid's.

Can you have hidden text messages on iPhone? ›

Step 1: Navigate to Settings. Step 2: Go to Messages. Step 3: Select Notifications. Step 4: Tap Show Previews and then select Never.

Can someone hide text messages on iPhone? ›

You can hide messages on your iPhone by using message filtering. You can also hide a specific message chain by hiding alerts in the Messages app. Another way to hide messages is by disabling notifications on your iPhone.

How to recover deleted text messages? ›

Tap the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner and open the Recycle bin. Check your deleted text messages. Long tap the message you want to retrieve. Select Restore at the bottom and check the same in your primary inbox.

How do you get around parental blocks on cell phones? ›

On your Android device, open the Family Link app and tap on the child's account in question. 2. Tap "Manage settings," then tap "Controls on Google Play." This menu will let you edit your parental controls, even if your child is younger than 13.

What words trigger the bark app? ›

Bark is the app that raises a red flag when your kid is texting about sex, drugs or suicide
  • 53X = sneaky way to type "sex"
  • KMS = kill myself.
  • LH6 = let's have sex.
  • KYS = kill yourself.
  • MOS = mom over the shoulder.
  • POS = parent over shoulder.
  • CD9 = code 9, parents around.
  • GNOC = get naked on camera.
May 21, 2017

Can Bark see your camera? ›

Does Bark monitor photos and videos? On the Bark Premium subscription plan, Bark analyzes images and videos saved on your child's iOS, Android, Amazon, or Chromebook device. It can also analyze images and videos associated with text messages, emails, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and some social media!

What is the safest family tracking app? ›

Our first choice recommendation is Famisafe. It is one of the best family tracker app free for android and iphone. Also, it was named's most reliable parental control app, with lots of features and functions that can help you track your family.

What apps do kids hide from parents? ›

Some of these commonly used apps by teenagers and even adults are Vault, Locker, Hide It Pro, and Calculator Vault. However, you can have your kids open up about what they have hidden in their phones by conversing with them.

What is the best app for tracking someone? ›

10 Best Tracking Apps for Android
AirDroidTrack real-time location Remotely monitor phone surroundings
FamiSafeTrack current location Track kids' location history Create a safe zone and get alerts
mSpyTracks multiple devices at once
Google Find My DeviceBest phone finding app on android
6 more rows

What are some examples of monitoring devices? ›

Many of the devices that patients will use may be familiar to them, including:
  • Weight scales.
  • Pulse oximeters.
  • Blood glucose meters.
  • Blood pressure monitors.
Nov 23, 2022

What are three types of electronic monitoring devices? ›

Electronic monitoring devices typically use active or passive GPS tracking, radio frequency monitoring, secure continuous remote alcohol monitoring, or breathalyzer monitoring.

What are the tools used in monitoring? ›

Tools for monitoring a project
  • Network Diagrams. ...
  • Critical Path Method or CPM. ...
  • Gantt Chart. ...
  • PERT Chart. ...
  • Project Management Software for Calendar. ...
  • Project Management Software for Timeline. ...
  • Project Management Software for WBS Diagram or Work Breakdown Structure. ...
  • Project Management Software for Mind Map.

Can parental controls see secret mode? ›

If you're browsing in Chrome Incognito mode, you are, by default, not signed into any accounts or sites. Your school, Internet Service Provider, or any parental tracking software may be able to see your activity.

Can parental controls see private mode? ›

Parental Control

Enabling web content filtering can block adult sites and keep web history even with private browsing enabled. Disabling the main web browser on a mobile device and switching to a kid-safe browser is another option. These types of browsers often come with a report of all browsing history.

How do I outsmart parental controls? ›

How Kids Get Around Parental Controls
  1. Deleting an App. Deleting an app is one of the simplest and most effective ways your kid can bypass a parental filter. ...
  2. Factory Control Resetting. ...
  3. Accessing a Non-Network Hotspot. ...
  4. Accessing Your Network Settings. ...
  5. Browsing in Private (Incognito) Mode.

Can a child delete the bark app? ›

Bark does not have any sort of anti-tampering capabilities other than requiring a password to log in, so children can easily uninstall or disable it. However, it will alert you if the app is uninstalled by the child.

Can bark read Instagram messages? ›

Bark monitors the images, videos, and comments your child posts. Additionally, we can monitor Instagram direct messages and searches on connected Android and Amazon devices.

Is there an app to mirror your child's phone? ›

AirDroid Parental Monitoring App is the best all-in-one parental control program for families. It enables parents to remotely monitor and manage their children's Android mobile devices. Some excellent monitoring features make it stand out in the market, like sync app notifications, screen mirroring, remote camera, etc.

How do I control my child's phone from mine? ›

To put true parental controls on a child's phone, download the free Google Family Link app onto your own phone from the Google Play store. The app will walk you through the process for creating a Google account—linked to your own—for your child to use.

How can I monitor my child's phone from mine? ›

The most legitimate way to monitor kid's phone remotely is by using professional parental control app. You install a parental control app on your kid's phone and parents can check everything that their kid does on his phone remotely from parent's device. This is the best option for both Android and iOS users.

Can you mirror someones phone to your phone? ›

AirDroid Cast is a screen mirroring app that will support mirroring someone's phone screen to your phone. No matter why you need to see someone else's phone screen on your phone, you can make it within a few steps after getting permission.

How can I monitor other mobile activity for free? ›

Apps like Kid logger, CellTracker, iKeyMonitor, Mobile tracker free, and FamiSafe Phone Monitoring are free. You can use them to monitor most phone activity on Android and tablets.

Can a parent disable a phone? ›

Turn off Android phones

Google's Family Link app allows you to schedule a span of time for the phone to be off, such as bedtime. But you can also completely lock the device so kids can't even get into it. Family Link requires two downloads, one for your phone and one for your kid's.

Is there an app to control Internet access? ›

With the Circle app, you have a Wi-Fi parental control app in the palm of your hands and can quickly set time limits, block sites and apps, and even block devices from Internet access.

How to receive text messages on two iphones with different Apple ID? ›

If you're not the person using both devices, the best thing to do is create a new Apple ID for the other person. If you are using both devices, you can go to Settings>Messages>Send & Receive on each phone and uncheck your Apple ID under "You can receive messages to and reply from...".

How do I view text messages in iCloud? ›

How to sync messages to iCloud on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch
  1. Open the Settings app on your device.
  2. At the top of the Settings menu, tap your name to get to your Apple ID page.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Toggle the Messages switch to the on position – this will turn it green.
  5. Open the Messages app on your Mac.
Sep 8, 2022

How do I automatically forward text messages to another iPhone? ›

Automatically forward texts to your other devices
  1. Make sure that you're signed in to iMessage with the same Apple ID on each device: ...
  2. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding. ...
  3. Choose which devices can send and receive text messages from your iPhone:
Dec 12, 2022

How can I see my child deleted texts? ›

Parents can also use iTunes Backup to see their kids deleted messages. You can install an extractor app from the app store and Install the app on your kid's phone. This allows you to recover the deleted iMessages of your kid's phone.

Is there an app to track a phone without them knowing? ›

Hoverwatch is one of the most widely used solutions to track Android devices, Windows PC, and Mac systems. Using Hoverwatch as an app to track phone without them knowing is pretty easy.

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