parental control apps, iphone, android

Most of America’s youth are now constantly using smartphones, prompting the need for better parental controls and legislation to protect them.

A little more than half of children in the US or 53% are now owners of smartphones by their 11th birthday and up to 83% of teens have their own phones, giving them access to a wide array of apps and methods of communication. Such unbridled access to the Internet can be detrimental to their mental and physical wellness, which is why there has been a growing need for parental control apps and other related guidance on smartphone use for the youth.

Common Sense Media has been tracking media use among children aged eight to 18 and they are finding that the youth are increasingly becoming more avid users of smartphones, NPR reported. Similarly, a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2019 has also found that up to 95% of teens in America have access to a smartphone, while 45% say they are “almost constantly” on the Internet.

Such an increased amount of screen time has parents, educators, policymakers, and family experts concerned over their safety. One way to protect children and teens from online predators and other negative effects of screen time, however, is through parental control apps. Such applications have grown in prominence throughout the years as a response to the increased accessibility of the youth to the Internet.

1. Best Free Parental Control App: Qustodio

For parents who are beginning to try their hand in parental control apps, Qustodio offers a robust free app that can be used on the iPhone and a number of other devices. TechRadar recommends this parental control app because it offers excellent content filtering, customizable time limits, and works across several platforms.

While a number of parental control apps are designed for Windows users, Qustodio works for iOS, Mac, Android, Kindle, and Nook. That’s a range of devices that the youth often use from day to day for both school and leisure.

Qustodio enables parents to oversee their children’s online activities through an intuitive interface and helps them block inappropriate websites, games, and other content. It can also monitor the child’s location and track their calls and messages, with a separate version for schools to ensure student safety.

2. Best Reliable Parental Control App: Net Nanny

Featuring a modern, intuitive design and top notch web-filtering technology with analysis capabilities, Net Nanny is the top choice when it comes to functionality and flexibility. Tom’s Guide recommends Net Nanny because it enables parents to create their own filters.

Net Nanny is also highly recommended because it has the best feature parity between its iOS and Android versions. This parental control app can track a child’s location, display their location history, and set schedules and time allowances for smartphone use.

Net Nanny also lets iOS users block over 100 apps on a child’s smartphone, while its built-in App Advisor informs parents about new apps they should watch out for. It also features content screening that works great with social media apps such as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, making them still usable but safe for kids.

3. Best Parental Control App for Location Tracking

To help parents keep track of what kids are using their smartphones for and where they are, there’s Locategy, a parental control app that offers geofencing capabilities, app blocking, activity reports, and effortless setup. It has free and premium paid versions so parents can choose which one can address their needs best.

PC Mag recommends Locategy for its child location and activity capabilities, as well as its clean and minimalist interface that is easy to navigate. It also commends its emailed activity report, which informs parents about the apps their child is using on their device, as well as their usage compared to other Locategy users. Its excellent iOS design, accurate location tracking, and reliable app blocking and usage schedules make for a competitive parental control app.

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