The Best Antiviruses with Parental Control Tools Reviewed for 2024

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The best antivirus with parental control tools will keep your devices protected from viruses, malware, ransomware, and other cyber threats while also giving you full oversight over the content your children can access and interact with online.

In this guide, we’ve reviewed and compared the best parental control antivirus solutions so you can make an informed decision and choose the best one for you.

Best Antivirus Software with Parental Control

Norton – PC antivirus with a virus protection promise

Norton – PC antivirus with a virus protection promise

  • Starting From $29.99/year
9.3
4.5 Stars
VISIT SITE

Bitdefender – Best firewall protection

Bitdefender – Best firewall protection

  • Starting From $29.99/year
8.4
4 Stars
VISIT SITE

ESET – Leading antivirus for businesses and servers

ESET – Leading antivirus for businesses and servers

  • Starting From $39.99/year
8.7
4.5 Stars
VISIT SITE

Intego – Beginner friendly antivirus solution for macOS users

Intego – Beginner friendly antivirus solution for macOS users

  • Starting From $39.99/year
8.6
4.5 Stars
VISIT SITE

McAfee – Reliable antivirus software for Windows 10 users

McAfee – Reliable antivirus software for Windows 10 users

  • Starting From $39.99/year (2-year plan)
8.5
4.5 Stars
VISIT SITE

The Best Parental Control Antivirus Tools at a Glance

  1. Norton — Best antivirus parental control software for activity tracking
  2. Bitdefender — Best parental control app for firewall and device-level controls
  3. ESET — Best parental control software with antivirus for activity logs
  4. Intego — Best security software with parental controls for Mac
  5. McAfee — Best antivirus program with parental control services and advanced security features

The Best Antivirus Parental Control Suites Reviewed

In this section, we’ll cover our detailed reviews of the best antivirus solutions with parental control features so you can see exactly what different providers offer and how much value you’re getting for your money. We’ve quoted lab tests from AV-Tests, which conducts regular, in-depth testing of cybersecurity services.

1. Norton — Best Antivirus with Parental Control Tracking Tools

Norton Antivirus logo

Starting Price $49.99/year
Antivirus Testing Results Top marks for performance, excellent malware protection
Max Devices 10
Free Version 30-day trial
Compatibility Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Money-Back Guarantee 60 days
Why We Picked It

Norton is one of the most powerful, comprehensive antivirus solutions on the market. It also offers excellent parental control tools and is a great package for tracking the online activity of your children.

Features

Norton offers in-depth device protection from malware, viruses, ransomware, and hacking and includes webcam protection, Dark Web monitoring, and more.

The antivirus provider even offers a virus protection promise, giving users a full refund if the antivirus isn’t able to detect and remove viruses from the device. This goes to show you just how powerful of a solution Norton truly is.

When it comes to parental controls, Norton offers a dedicated parental control suite. You can get it as a standalone product without the antivirus or as part of the Norton 360 Deluxe package, which includes the antivirus, a password manager, a VPN (Virtual Private Network), and lots of other advanced features.

The parental controls enable you to see what your children are searching for online and what videos they’re watching, set screen time limits, and prevent them from accessing sensitive or inappropriate content online.

You can also see and limit what apps they’re using, manage their learning environment with School Time, and even leverage location tracking so you’ll know exactly where your child is at any given time by tracking their Android or iPhone devices.

Who It's Best For

Norton provides an excellent parental control package and contends with McAfee as a leading provider for both antivirus and parental control tools. It’s a first-class solution for tracking activity across apps and devices.

Pros

  • Complete protection for all your devices
  • Complete oversight over your children’s online activity
  • Virus protection promise guarantee
  • VPN and password manager included
  • Lots of additional cyber security features

Cons

  • Some false positives in lab test results
Norton
9.3
Review

2. Bitdefender — Best Antivirus Parental Control Software for Firewall Capabilities

Bitdefender Logo

Starting Price $39.99/year
Antivirus Testing Results Top marks across all categories
Max Devices 10
Free Version Limited free plan for Windows
Compatibility Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Why We Picked It

Bitdefender is among the best-performing antivirus solutions on the market, both in terms of malware detection rates and for its robust firewall and limited impact on device performance.

Features

Bitdefender offers complete protection against various forms of cyber threats, ensures complete privacy with a VPN, webcam shield, and a secure firewall, and provides parents with robust parental controls across all devices.

Bitdefender offers application and website-level parental controls, which give you authority over what programs your children can use and what content they can consume and interact with online.

You can also track their screen time, see their full list of mobile contacts, and monitor your child’s location. What’s more, you’ll receive weekly emails with a comprehensive summary of your child’s online activity, so you’ll have more insight into what they use the internet for.

Who It's Best For

Our Bitdefender parental control review found it to be an excellent toolset, and it’s the cheapest option on this list while also having among the best-rated antiviruses. It also offers impressive firewall capabilities.

For additional information, see our Bitdefender vs Kaspersky and Bitdefender vs Norton guides.

Pros

  • Top marks across all categories on independent tests
  • Multi-layered malware and ransomware protection
  • Easy-to-use parental controls
  • Weekly reports on your child’s online activity

Cons

  • Confusing pricing
  • Free plan doesn’t include parental controls
Bitdefender
8.4
Review

3. ESET — Best Antivirus Parental Control App for Activity Logging

ESET Antivirus Logo

Starting Price $49.99/year
Antivirus Testing Results Superb malware protection, excellent performance
Max Devices 10
Free Version 30-day trial
Compatibility Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Why We Picked It

ESET is a robust antivirus solution that relies on advanced machine learning to keep you protected from cyber threats 24/7. It’s particularly strong when it comes to activity logging for its parental controls.

Features

In addition to the typical antivirus, malware, and spyware detection and removal features, ESET offers an additional layer of protection in the form of a ransomware shield.

Additional advanced security features you get with ESET include an exploit blocker, advanced memory scanning, cloud-based scanning, and script-based attack protection. Notably, Dark Web monitoring is missing, so Norton beats ESET in this regard.

In terms of parental controls, ESET allows you to set up age-based restrictions for the entire Windows account. This means you need to set it up once and can simply switch between users before letting your child use the computer.

Additionally, you can limit their access to specific websites or even entire categories based on subject, such as adult content. You’ll also be able to password-protect your parental controls, so even if your child is tech-savvy, they won’t be able to circumvent the parental controls in place.

There’s also a separate parental control product for Android, if you just want to place parental controls on an Android phone.

Who It's Best For

ESET is a great option if you want a comprehensive antivirus tool as well as parental controls with detailed activity logs.

Pros

  • Robust protection against cyber threats
  • Multiple layers of protection
  • Password-protected parental controls
  • Minimal system impact

Cons

  • Convoluted pricing structure
  • Fewer features than competitors
Eset
8.7
Review

4. Intego — Best Parental Control Antivirus App for Mac

Intego antivirus logo

Starting Price $69.99/year
Antivirus Testing Results Excellent usability, high levels of protection
Max Devices 5
Free Version
Compatibility Mac
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Why We Picked It

Intego is a superb antivirus for Macs. It’s specifically designed to combat macOS viruses and threats, protect your network, and help clean your device and optimize its performance.

Features

In addition to the real-time antivirus, Intego provides a fast and secure VPN, NetBarrier, a firewall against network attacks, and automated personal backups to protect and recover key files.

If you opt for Intego, you’ll also have access to ContentBarrier, a set of tools that helps you boost your family’s online safety and gives you valuable insights into your children’s online habits.

The parental controls let you put age-specific boundaries in place, customize profiles for each family member, and set time limits on internet use. The software also automatically monitors all of their online chats and can be set up to notify you of inappropriate content, terms, or phrases that are entered.

Who It's Best For

Intego is an ideal pick for the macOS ecosystem and comes with an impressive range of features.

The parental controls aren’t available for iOS or Windows, unfortunately, so if you want a more inclusive product, it would be better to opt for Norton, McAfee, or Bitdefender.

Pros

  • Excellent virus protection for macOS devices
  • Built-in VPN and firewall
  • File cleanup and system optimization features
  • Fully customizable profiles for every family member
  • Real-time notifications of inappropriate content in online chats

Cons

  • No parental controls on iPhones
  • Relatively expensive
Intego
8.6
Review

5. McAfee — Best Antivirus App with Parental Controls and Advanced Security Features

McAfee antivirus logo

Starting Price $69.99/year
Antivirus Testing Results Superb real-time protection, minimal performance impact
Max Devices Unlimited
Free Version 30-day trial
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Why We Picked It

McAfee excels when it comes to security features. It offers total protection for an unlimited number of devices, a VPN that will automatically protect you from unsafe networks, and actionable insights on how to improve your security with its Protection Score.

Features

With McAfee antivirus, you also get proactive web protection, a firewall, a password manager, identity monitoring, and personal data cleanup scans. Coupled with multi-platform compatibility, this makes McAfee a great choice for protecting every device in your household.

The parental controls are available with the McAfee+ Premium Family package, and they offer you complete control over your children’s internet activities.

In addition to limiting what content your children can access and setting screen time for each internet session, you’ll be able to monitor the location of their phone and will receive real-time alerts when they arrive or leave specified areas.

Who It's Best For

The McAfee parental control toolset is a relatively expensive package, but you do get an excellent degree of protection with a huge range of antivirus features.

In addition, the ability to protect an unlimited number of devices is unmatched.

Pros

  • Complete protection from cyber threats
  • Firewall, VPN, and password manager included
  • Proactive identity breach monitoring
  • Parental controls with location tracking

Cons

  • Some features aren’t available on iOS
  • Relatively expensive
McAfee
8.5
Review

The Best Antiviruses with Parental Controls Compared

Here’s a quick reference table of the top antivirus solutions that offer parental controls so you can see how they performed in independent tests and how different solutions compare head-to-head:

Antivirus Software Starting Price Antivirus Testing Results Max Devices Supported Free Version Compatibility Money-Back Guarantee
Norton $49.99/year Top marks for performance, excellent malware protection 10 30-day trial Windows, Mac, iOS, Android 60 days
Bitdefender $39.99/year Top marks across all categories 10 Limited free plan for Windows Windows, Mac, iOS, Android 30 days
ESET $49.99/year Superb malware protection, excellent performance 10 30-day trial Windows, Mac, Android, iOS 30 days
Intego $69.99/year Excellent usability, high levels of protection 5 Mac 30 days
McAfee $69.99/year Superb real-time protection, minimal performance impact Unlimited 30-day trial Windows, Mac, iOS, Android 30 days
Methodology

How We Review And Test Antivirus Software

15 Antiviruses Tested

20 Datapoints Measured

300+ Hours Testing

500+ User Reviews Read

We base our recommendations on first-hand experience and in-depth testing. All the Antivirus products we suggest, have been tested based on the following criteria:

  • Core Security Features: We make sure that the antivirus software is fully equipped with features like real-time protection, scanning, a firewall, web protection, and more.
  • Malware Detection Rates: We test malware detection rates ourselves by running both in-depth and quick scans on our devices. Additionally, we check independent lab tests.
  • Compatibility: We check which devices and operating systems the antivirus software is compatible with. Often, different-looking dashboards and slightly different packages of features may be available.
  • Performance Impact: A reliable and functional antivirus should not slow down your device significantly. So, we examine our device performance with and without the antivirus running.
  • Customer Experience: Alongside our own experience, we are curious to know what real users have to say regarding the services. So, we’ve scoured the web for feedback on each of our tested antiviruses.
  • Value for Money: We always consider value for money and how much each product is offering for the set price point.

How to Choose the Best Antivirus Parental Control Apps

Given the dangers of unsupervised access to the internet and social media for children, an antivirus with parental controls is a long-term investment in your family’s online safety.

There are multiple levels of online security, though, and a range of antivirus tools, and not every antivirus package that includes parental control features is on the same level.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the key features to consider when picking the best family antivirus solutions:

Antivirus malware detection ratesParental controlsPerformance impactCompatibility Additional featuresPrice

Antivirus malware detection rates

When it comes to an antivirus, the most important metric for basic protection is how effective it is in combating cyber threats. Ideally, you want an antivirus with a 99.99% malware detection rate to ensure your device and data are kept safe.

Parental controls

Parental controls often include content logs and content restriction capabilities, while additional features like age-based restrictions, web filtering, real-time notifications, monitoring of social media apps, and location tracking can offer added security.

Do you want an antivirus with parental time controls, or is location tracking more important?

Performance impact

Antivirus solutions can be demanding on device resources, reducing response times to user input. The lower the impact on the device’s performance, the better, but you shouldn’t sacrifice safety for the sake of performance.

Compatibility

Not every product is compatible with every device and operating system.

Make sure your chosen antivirus can run on the devices you want to protect, and that you’re getting all the features you need across desktop and mobile and protecting every iOS and Android device in your household.

Additional security features

In addition to malware protection and parental controls, you should consider security features and tools such as VPNs, password managers, online payment protection, and firewalls.

These all enhance your family’s online safety, security, and anonymity. For more focus on specific features, you might also consider researching the best password managers for families.

Value for money

When comparing the prices for the monthly and annual subscriptions of different antivirus solutions, be mindful of what you’re getting for your money. The cheapest solution may be a bad buy if it doesn’t include the features you need.

How Good is the Best Free Antivirus with Parental Control Tools?

There are many antivirus solutions that offer free plans, but these usually have a limited range of features, and you’ll typically need to upgrade for parental controls. Indeed, you’ll be very hard-pressed to find a free antivirus solution that lets you monitor and control your kids’ internet activity.

In addition to parental controls, you’ll be missing out on other key features with free antivirus solutions, such as firewalls, VPNs, data breach monitoring, and payment protection.

Put simply, it’s far more worthwhile to set some money aside for a premium antivirus solution with parental controls since you get complete protection for all your devices, whereas a free antivirus will typically only offer malware and virus protection at most.

How to Get Started with an Antivirus with Parental Control

Here’s a step-by-step guide for getting started with Norton Antivirus and setting up parental controls so you can ensure your children are safe online:

  1. Sign Up for Norton Antivirus

    Visit Norton and scroll down until you reach the pricing plans. Note that parental controls are only available with the Norton 360 Deluxe and Select packages.

    Click the “Buy now” button on the appropriate plan, enter your email address, and provide your payment information to finalize the purchase.

  2. Install Norton on Your Device

    After completing your purchase, you’ll receive a purchase confirmation on the email address you’ve provided, together with your login credentials and an installation file.

    Download the Norton installation file and follow the simple prompts on your screen to install the antivirus on your device. Note that you’ll also have to install Norton on your child’s device to apply parental controls from your PC, laptop, or phone.

  3. Set Up Parental Controls

    Log into your Norton account, navigate to the “Family” tab, and add each of your children’s devices to your account. Select the type of device and the operating system.

    <strong>Set Up Parental Controls</strong>
  4. Edit the Settings

    After adding their accounts, go through each of the individual settings and apply the level of control you want. These include:

    • Web — Choose which topics you want to block from being accessible and how you want to be notified of web activity
    • Search — Restrict the searches and see what your kids are searching for
    • Time — Set time restrictions and schedules for device/internet use
    • Video — See what your children watch on YouTube
    • App — See what apps your kids have downloaded on their Android devices (not available on iOS) and restrict access to specific apps if necessary
    • Location — Monitor the location of your child’s Android or iOS device in real-time and review their 30-day location history

    With this done, you’re good to go. You’ll always be able to further configure, update, or change these restrictions from your device, as well as being able to monitor online activity.

FAQs

What’s the benefit of using an antivirus with parental controls?

Do I need to use parental controls?

How good are the Norton parental control tools?

Are the McAfee parental controls good?

Can you get parental spyware with an antivirus?

Is there a free antivirus with parental control functionality?

References

  1. Lab Tests of Leading Antivirus Solutions (AV-Comparatives)
  2. Social Media and Youth Mental Health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Surgeon General)
Aleksandar Stevanovic
Software Reviews Expert
Aleksandar Stevanovic
Software Reviews Expert

Aleksandar Stevanovic spent 10 years honing his craft as a freelance content writer. He has a degree in Economics, and extensive experience in software, crypto, and cybersecurity industries. He covers a multitude of topics, writing factual and informative articles, helping individuals better understand the intricacies of the online world. Over the last two years, his research focus shifted more towards tech and software content, as evidenced by his publications on CEX.IO, Business2Community, and Techopedia. He believes in simplifying complex topics and bringing them closer to like-minded individuals. His work is as detail-oriented as it is creative, and is designed to…