Parental controls are the software that restricts viewing or accessing certain websites. It is a tool that helps parents to set controls on their children’s computer usage or the Internet. Monitoring computers, mobile phones, tablets, or laptops, filtering out adult content, and imposing restrictions on those sites are some parental control activities. Children these days, without a doubt, have more access to digital technology than any generation in human history. Many children are exposed to technology, whether computers, tablets, and smartphones, from a very early age, with an average sitting around six and a half hours a day.
As a working or a busy parent, it’s not always possible for you to spend 24/7 with your children while they are online. In such a situation, the free parental control software can be beneficial for you. It helps you
- by providing the feature to block the access of the particular sites that may have concerning the content,
- and only access permit to sites you consider suitable,
- by keeping track of your children’s apps usage,
- by letting you set time limits for different applications.
Although parents walk a fine line between trusting their children to make the right decisions, they are also equally concerned about their children’s online activities. They need some help to defend their children from the bad things happening globally and on the Internet. In such a case, parental controls software works as a live-saver.
How does parental control work?
As you already know, parental controls are the tools that allow parents to filter out adult content, track and monitor children’s online activity and protect your kids from online threats and predators. But if you have no idea about how it works and are willing to know about it, then here it is.
To start monitoring your child’s activity online, all you will need is to download a mobile application to the device (child) you would like to monitor and control. Regardless of the device, whether Android, iOS, or powered by any other software, you have various options for free parental control apps in the market.
Once the apps are installed, first of all, you will need to create an account to get yourself registered. After creating an account, you will need to download the parental control app of your choice to your (parent) personal device and also on the device (child) that you are willing to control. After you sign in to the app, you can now enjoy different functions given by the parental control app, such as blocking inappropriate sites, web filtering, tracking location, and limiting screen time.
There are many parental apps available in the market that may work differently from each other on different devices, so research carefully. More about parental apps will be discussed in this article that might be helpful for you to choose parental control apps as per your need.
What are the reasons to use Parental Controls?
In the digital world, the Internet would be a safe space for kids to explore new things and learn various topics. Unfortunately, that is far from reality, and sometimes it may work just as opposite as you thought. And your child may get indulged in the things you never wanted them to get involved in.
The parental control software makes it simple and easy to manage your family and children’s access to the Internet. This tool can help protect your kids. Besides this, the following are the reasons behind using parental control software:
- Content Filtering: This feature allows the app to filter and restrict users from accessing the contents and apps. It filters inappropriate content for kids, such as those with sites or videos related to pornography, crime, and violence, among others.
- Time Limitations: This feature helps you impose restrictions on when your child can access a specific app. Once the limited time gets exceeded, the app automatically gets locked and can not access for a certain period until you turn it back on.
- Location Tracking: This feature will help you to track the geographic location of your children’s smartphone, tablet, or any other electronic gadget and know where exactly they are.
- Payment Blocking: This feature makes it possible to prevent children from spending money online or restricts them from buying items online in the games they are playing.
- Text and Call Monitoring: This feature allows the app to monitor texts, contacts or calls from your child’s phone.
Best Free Parental Control Apps For Android
There are many parental control apps (free and paid) both available in the market. However, all of them have paid subscription tiers, but for most, the free tier offers only the basic core features of parental control apps. Much good parental control software is available online that charges a monthly fee, but we will only focus on free available parental control software in this article.
Without a doubt, Fenced.ai is one of the most potent and best parental control apps available in the market. The free version it provides is also remarkable. Fenced.ai enables you to keep track of your child’s online activity and allows you to restrict access to specific sites.
It helps you to develop a digitally friendly home environment. You can enjoy it simply by installing it on your devices and registering the device you want to control. It also offers a demo so that you can have a glimpse of its working mechanisms.
Note: It offers only basic features in premium, and additional advanced features need a subscription.
- Calls, SMS, and contacts monitoring
- Image and video monitoring features
- Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Viber, Skype, WhatsApp, Snapchat) monitoring
- Monitor and sets a screen time limit
- Location tracking
- Keystroke recording
- Alert system
- Available in the free version with basic feature
- Simple and easy to use interface
- Quick and easy installation
- Offers a wide range of features for monitoring online activities
- Reasonably priced for the range of the solution it offers
- A basic plan offers fewer features
- Some advanced features required root access
- Limits on the number of devices monitored
Fenced.ai offers three flexible pricing plans.
- Free plan
- The basic plan for $9.99 per month
- A premium plan for $19.99 per month
Kaspersky Safe Kids
Kaspersky Safe Kids is another good option for parental control. This powerful app provides you with all the features you will require to keep your child safe in real-time and while browsing through the Internet.
The free version of Kaspersky safe kids provides an option of the blocklist that prevents your child from viewing inappropriate content online and allows you to set the screen time limit on your child’s devices. Besides this, you can also enjoy other advanced features such as the battery tracker of your child’s devices, GPS tracking, and many more, but you need to buy its subscription.
- App and screen time management
- Available for multiple platforms
- Extensive alert system
- Robust web filtering
- Monitor call and text
- Low battery alert
- Block contacts
- Simple and easy to set up
- Offers a wide range of features
- Free basic plan available
- Seven days free trial
- No limit on device or child profiles
- Some limitations exist on iOS platforms
- Content filtering is limited to specific browsers
- Confusing user interface
- Web portal slow at times
- May slow Windows PCs
It provides two pricing plans.
- Premium version for $14.99 per year
Net Nanny is one of the oldest names in a parental control business and popular parental control software. It provides a complete range of powerful internet management features that a responsible parent needs.
It has an excellent web filtering feature and AI to restrict questionable or inappropriate content/ videos before your child sees it. It allows creating different profiles for each of your children and automatically filters out the content according to your child’s profile.
- Automatic block inappropriate content online
- App and screen time management
- Control the device remotely
- Complete internet filter
- Excellent customizable web filtering
- Intelligent content filtering
- Sends alerts of online activity
- Time scheduling
- Track location and keep location history
- Several geofencing limits
- Not supported by Windows XP
- Need to purchase a separate product to work on iOS devices.
- Web filters defeated by tor
Net Nanny offers freemium with a basic version of the mobile app available free of cost. The freemium model gives you only the parent apps, not the child ones. Moreover, the paid subscription has the following pricing plans.
- Starting tier offers at $39.99 per year (allows only monitor one desktop device, either Mac or Windows)
- Five device plan offers a $54.99 per year
- 20 device plan offers an $89.99 per year
Kidlogger is in our list of parental control software, designed to oversee children’s online activities through different electronic devices. It works perfectly on multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and blackberry devices.
The goal behind producing this software is to protect your children against the harmful effects of new technology and social media. It allows you to monitor, filter, and block the unnecessary content from viewing it. Moreover, it is open-source. Since it is open-source, the code could be checked as well as analyzed by anybody.
- Keystrokes recording
- Skype chat recording
- Gallery insights
- Determine apps usage
- Set time limits
- Simple and easy to install
- Offers essential monitoring features
- Surfing history
- Not so user-friendly interface
- Does not offer an application blocking option
- Limited to Android devices
Kids logger is not only available for free but also open-source. However, it also offers two premium subscriptions (standard and professional).
Standard subscription cost
- $9 for 3 months
- $17 for 6 months
- $29 for one year
Professional subscription const
- $29 for 3 months
- $49 for 6 months
- $89 for one years
Spyrix keylogger is free software that allows you to record and monitor every single keystroke. It also has the feature of taking a screenshot of the active programs at a certain interval and monitoring all the active ongoing activities on your PC.
It also allows you to view all the recorded data locally on your PC or remotely via a secure web account. It is a free keylogging software available in the market.
- Captures screenshot at a certain interval
- Records all the keystrokes
- Monitor application activities
- Undetected by antivirus software
- Easy to install
- Remote monitoring
- Allows you to check online activities
- Monitors clipboards and printers
- Offers free trial period
- Track location
- No content blocking
- App upgrade is required constantly to get any alerts
- Spyrix personal monitor costs $65 to monitor 3 PCs
- Spyrix personal monitor pro costs $89 to monitor 3 PCs
- Spyrix employee monitor costs $239 to monitor 10 PCs
As responsible parents, it’s up to you to make sure that your children use their devices safely. It would be best if you confirmed that they’re not abusing their freedom to access the Internet and are not viewing or interacting with a stranger online, which is not suitable for their age. And if you have doubts about your child’s online activity, then get your hands on some parental control apps making yourself less stressed about it and making a safe and sound online environment for your children.
However, strict supervision or imposing strict parental controls may lead your children to be delinquent. Installing parental control software on children’s computers leads to misunderstandings in their relationships, and children may believe that their parents do not have faith and trust in them. So as parents, you must educate them about why you are using parental control apps and show more positive aspects of it rather than negative.