Best Parental Control Apps to Supervise Your Child’s Online Activity in 2024

Why Trust Techopedia
Why Trust Techopedia

The best parental control app can help put your mind at rest when it comes to monitoring and supervising your children’s use of the internet. After all, the internet is a minefield, with a huge range of unsuitable adult content available and the ever-present issue of strangers reaching out to contact youngsters.

With these parental control apps, you can protect your kids from online bullying, strangers on social media, and inappropriate contact and monitor their location to ensure they are in a safe environment. Considering factors like safety, usability, device support, and value for money, we compare the top parental control software.

Techopedia’s Top 3 Parental Control Apps

mSpy — Best Parental Control App for Monitoring Any Device

Free Demo
Visit Site

Eyezy -Trusted Mobile Monitoring App With Keyword Alerts & Remote Control

Free Demo
Visit Site

uMobix — Best Android Parental Control App With Remote Capabilities

Free Demo
Visit Site

The Best Parental Control Apps Ranked

Below is a quick look at the top parental control apps and their key features.

  1. mSpy — Powerful tools for cell phone monitoring
  2. EyeZy — A full phone monitoring package with reasonable pricing
  3. uMobix — Superb Android parental control app with remote control capabilities
  4. Cocospy — Best for social media tracking
  5. Qustodio — Best for multi-device monitoring
  6. PhonseeBest for GPS location tracking and geofencing
  7. ClevGuard — Excellent for screen and call recording
  8. Norton Family — Complete online protection with bundled anti-virus tools
  9. FamiSafe — Best for blocking inappropriate content and sites

The Best Parental Control Apps Reviewed

Here’s a quick breakdown of the top parental control software providers’ key features, pricing, and pros and cons.

1. mSpy — Powerful Tool for Cell Phone Monitoring

mSpy logo

Annual Price Devices Tracked Compatibility Free Version Guarantee
$11.67/month 1 Android, iOS, tablets Demo 14-day refund policy

mSpy is a fantastic parental control app for iPhone and Android users. After a five-minute install, you’ll be kept informed about your child’s contacts, browsing habits, and chats via the app’s comprehensive phone monitoring system.

All the data is kept safe on encrypted servers that only you can access. You’ll see a range of data from your dashboard, like call logs. This gives you access to your child’s call activity, such as when the call was made, the duration, whether the call was incoming or outgoing, and more.

You’ll also get access to all the text messages on the device. This includes SMS messages and files, as well as social media DMs. mSpy covers many social media apps, including WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Instagram, and it is extremely painless and easy to use.

mSpy also lets you know where your kid is at all times. The real-time GPS tracking system built into mSpy constantly updates you on where the monitored device is, giving you peace of mind that your child isn’t somewhere unsafe.

In fact, mSpy makes monitoring your children even easier with a geofencing option. You can set exclusion zones using a Google Maps interface, and you’ll be alerted immediately via email whenever your child’s device enters the exclusion zone.

The app is intuitive and simple to use, provides excellent parental controls for iPhone, and is one of the best parental phone apps overall.

Pricing

mSpy has one feature plan that comes in three different subscription formats depending on how long you need it for. A long-term annual subscription brings its price down to just $11.67/month. There’s no free trial, but you can check out a demo. mSpy also offers a 14-day refund policy.

Pros

  • Easy-access dashboard keeps you informed
  • Best parental control app for iPhone and Android
  • Location tracking made easy
  • Wide set of monitoring features

Cons

  • Limited remote activation settings
  • Requires physical access to target device on Android

2. Eyezy — A Full Phone Monitoring Package at a Reasonable Price

Eyezy logo

Annual Price Devices Tracked Compatibility Free Version Guarantee
$7.99/month 1 Android, iOS, tablets 3-day trial + demo 14-day refund policy

Eyezy has some unique features and offers a full phone monitoring suite, making it easy to keep your kids safe while they browse online. There’s an app for Android devices with root options and iOS with jailbreak and iCloud data sync – and it’s among the best parental control apps for Android and iPhone.

The Eyezy Connection Blocker keeps content you disapprove of off your child’s phone. With a custom block list, you can set which sites you want to keep blocked from the Eyezy dashboard. Each site is recorded in the database so you can review the sites you’ve blocked.

With Eyezy’s Web Magnifier, you can review your child’s browsing habits. You’ll be alerted to their last visited site and which sites they visit frequently, and you can also access a detailed list of their browsing history on the phone.

Plans Breaker is Eyezy’s breakdown of all the events in your child’s social calendar. It’s another way to monitor your child’s plans, giving you calendar information like the event name, description, location, and time.

You’ll always know their intentions when they’re going out without asking. Beyond this, it’s also great for checking in on your child’s academic schedule. Overall, with Eyezy, you’ll know what your kids are saying across apps, where they’re going, their plans, and their web activity.

Pricing

Some providers offer confusing plans, but EyeZy simplifies the buying process with a single plan. The annual plan has the biggest discount—at $7.99/month, Eyezy is one of the cheapest parental control apps. They also offer a free demo and a 14-day refund window.

Pros

  • UI is well-designed
  • GPS updates every five minutes
  • Useful insights into their social activity

Cons

  • Need to buy a longer subscription to save

3. uMobix — Superb Android Parental App With Remote Capabilities

uMobix logo

Annual Price Devices Tracked Compatibility Free Version Guarantee
$12.49/month 1 Android, iOS, tablets Demo 14-day refund policy

uMobix uses in-depth tracking software to keep your children safe. As such, it’s easy to recommend, especially if you’re looking for parental control on Android. It offers many features, including remote device disabling, photo and video logging, social media monitoring, keylogging, and screen recording.

Social media monitoring works across many apps, including Telegram, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Skype, Tinder, and TikTok. It’s not enough to track just SMS messages anymore, as teens communicate using a wide range of apps – and concerned parents will want a full picture of their child’s online activity.

With uMobix, you’ll always know what your children are up to. It’s a great device management tool and also great for location tracking. The Android version has a robust real-time location tracking system that uses multiple methods to keep track of the protected device.

You can track the phone via GPS or SMS, which is a great way to locate a stolen or lost device.

Pricing

uMobix is competitively priced, starting at $12.49/month with an annual subscription. Few monitoring suites are more powerful than uMobix, which justifies the comparatively higher price. You can test uMobix with its free demo and take advantage of a 14-day refund policy.

Pros

  • A fantastic feature set for Android
  • Full mobile phone tracking with GPS and SMS
  • Top-tier social media coverage

Cons

  • The iOS version lacks features

4. Cocospy — Best for Social Media Tracking

Annual Price Devices Tracked Compatibility Free Version Guarantee
$12.49/month 1 Android, iOS, tablets Demo 14-day refund policy

Cocospy is another excellent choice for parental monitoring software for mobile. Like our top 3, it doesn’t offer Windows or macOS tracking, so you may want to pair it up with another choice on our list, such as Qustodio or FamiSafe.

That said, contact logging is one of the top features available on Cocospy. Once installed, you’ll get a log of each call. This log doesn’t just tell you who your child is talking to but also when the call happened and how long it lasted.

It’s a great way to monitor your child’s contacts, and it’s augmented even further with social media monitoring across Facebook, Kik, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and more.

Cocospy is the best parental control app for Android tablets and phones, where full management tools tell you which apps are installed on these devices. You can block apps you don’t want appearing on your child’s phone remotely, so there’s no need to argue over too much Minecraft before bedtime.

What we love most is that it implements these remote features discreetly, using a stealth mode that hides all notifications and app pop-ups on the target device. If you know the websites you want to block, there’s URL filtering, too. That said, other providers do offer more in-depth content filtering tools.

Pricing

Cocospy offers three pricing options based on duration. The annual plan offers the biggest discount, bringing the price down to $12.49/month. Each plan gives you access to the same powerful monitoring features, so you only have to decide how long you want to use it.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use dashboard
  • Great bulk pricing plans
  • Location tracking is extremely quick

Cons

  • Can’t block contacts remotely
  • Data sync on iOS isn’t as powerful as on-app monitoring

5. Qustodio — Best for Multi-device Monitoring

Annual Price Devices Tracked Compatibility Free Version Guarantee
$4.58/month 5-15 Android, iOS, Windows, Mac Limited free version 30-day money-back guarantee

Qustodio is a comprehensive monitoring solution that works across all PC and mobile devices. It’s a great all-in-one solution for a family that uses many devices. Whether you want an app to monitor your kid’s phone or PC, you can download Qustodio for free to take it for a test drive.

All the devices you monitor are accessible from the Qustodio dashboard, with detailed breakdowns per device. On phones, you’ll access monitoring features like text messages across SMS and social media, call logging with contact information, and app usage frequency.

In fact, Qustodio is a strong choice if you’re concerned about monitoring app usage in general. There’s a detailed log of each app run on the device and analytics such as how long it’s been used. Beyond this, you can remotely decide which apps are allowed to run.

If you’re more concerned with your child’s total screen time, you can set screen time limits on the device for each day to put barriers in place on unlimited use. It’s possible to schedule this by week in the Qustodio app, so you can set it up once without having to worry about micromanaging their device use.

Pricing

Qustodio has a single tier of subscriptions, with the only difference in plans being the number of devices you want to cover. Even its cheapest plan, priced at $4.58/month for the annual subscription, lets you monitor up to five devices.

You can try the free version of Qustodio before you buy, but you can only monitor one device with reduced monitoring power. Still, many other providers don’t let you use a free version, so this is refreshing.

Pros

  • Screen-time management tools
  • Works across PC and mobile
  • Free trial option
  • Family purchase options

Cons

  • The free version has minimal features

6. Phonsee — Best for GPS Location Tracking and Geofencing

Phonsee logo

Annual Price Devices Tracked Compatibility Free Version Guarantee
$8.85/month 1 Android, iOS, tablets Demo 14-day refund policy

Phonsee, as the name implies, is a phone monitoring app that gives parents an easy window into their child’s online world. It’s popular because it offers a quick setup and all the features you need to worry less about your child’s safety.

This includes all the usual capabilities, like viewing texts, calls, all social media activity, and web searches. However, Phonsee has some nifty extras that give you live insight into what your child is up to.

For example, unlike many, Phonsee takes automated screenshots of the device’s screen, letting you see exactly what they’re up to across apps. Plus, there’s also a keylogger. Both combined will let you see what your child types in messages, app logins, and search bars. That said, it is a pity it lacks keyword alerts, but no jailbreaking or rooting is required.

However, you may not need alerts at all, as Phonsee also lets parents block apps and websites they don’t deem suitable for their children to be on, and you can view all saved multimedia files.

In terms of offline safety, Phonsee does a great job here, too. It offers live location tracking, and you won’t have to always monitor your child’s movements, as you can create virtual boundaries to receive alerts.

Overall, despite lacking some features like keyword alerts and call recording, Phonsee offers the necessities for peace of mind. Plus, it’s a solid hidden parental control app for Android and iPhone users and is simple to set up and use.

Pricing

Similar to mSpy, Phonsee offers different pricing options depending on the duration of the subscription:

  • Monthly — $42.51/month
  • Quarterly — $24.79/month
  • Annual — $8.85/month

The only free version of Phonsee is a live demo, which is incredibly handy for seeing the interface. In addition, there’s a 14-day refund policy if you sign up and find that it isn’t your cup of tea.

Pros

  • You can block apps and websites
  • You don’t need to fiddle with device settings
  • Automated screenshots are built-in
  • The live location tracking has geofencing capabilities

Cons

  • Higher pricing compared to rivals with similar features
  • Pricing is only displayed when signing up

7. ClevGuard — Excellent for Screen and Call Recording

Clevguard logo

Annual Price Devices Tracked Compatibility Free Version Guarantee
$4.17/month 1 Android, iOS Demo 30-day money-back guarantee

KidsGuard is ClevGuard’s cheapest subscription tier, but is still more than enough for most parental control needs. It offers some basic mobile device monitoring features in a discreet “Stealth Mode” app.

Social media monitoring is a key part of KidsGuard; it gives you call logs and messaging data from apps like Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Tinder. All this data is backed up to the KidsGuard dashboard, where you can browse at your leisure.

KidsGuard doesn’t cover PC and Mac, but the coverage for Android and iOS is fantastic. Most parental monitoring software tools don’t cover all aspects of iOS, often falling on keylogging and location monitoring features. KidsGuard doesn’t have these problems. It boasts full social media app coverage, GPS monitoring, and remote administration tools.

The location features are exactly what you’d expect, offering Wi-Fi tracking, Geo-fencing, and GPS location updates. Wi-Fi tracking will update you on which internet connection they’re using. GPS updates give you the location of the device on the go. Finally, Geo-fencing updates you when the device enters or leaves an area you decide.

Pricing

ClevGuard offers several different plans, the main difference between them being the use case. KidsGuard is the most basic and is priced at just $4.17/month with the annual plan. It still provides plenty of social media and location tracking tools, though.

Pros

  • One of the best parental control apps for iOS
  • Long-term plans have a great price point
  • One of the best GPS trackers
  • Can turn the microphone and camera on

Cons

  • Complex pricing

8. Norton Family — Complete Online Protection with Bundled Anti-Virus Tools

Annual Price Devices Tracked Compatibility Free Version Guarantee
$4.17/month Unlimited Android, iOS, Windows 30-day free trial 60-day money-back guarantee

Norton Family is a parental control app that allows you to block your child from accessing inappropriate content. It’s not as packed with monitoring features that would come as standard in other parental control apps, but the content-blocking features are pretty powerful.

Each app installed on the target device is logged in the Norton Family dashboard, which you can use to monitor app usage stats. If you need to enforce a child’s bedtime without getting out of bed, you can remotely block apps on the phone.

Content blocking is one of Norton Family’s main features, using advanced content lists to give you extensive control over which types of content your child can access, especially on social media platforms.

Real-world location tracking is another essential parental monitoring feature, and Norton Family doesn’t disappoint. You can use GPS tracking through the phone to get a constant update on where your child currently is.

Finally, it boasts many screen time Android and iOS features you can use to schedule study times when apps are locked down and off-school time when the full phone is unlocked.

Pricing

Norton Family has a single annual subscription plan priced at $49.99 per year. You can try the 30-day free trial to test the app before you commit to the year-long plan. We rate it as the best antivirus with parental control tools available today.

Pros

  • Fairly priced
  • Many features for managing attention and content
  • Built by a world-class antivirus provider

Cons

  • Other providers have better mobile device tracking
Norton Family

9. FamiSafe — Best for Blocking Inappropriate Content and Sites

Annual Price Devices Tracked Compatibility Free Version Guarantee
$5/month 5-10 Android, iOS, Windows, Mac Demo 7-day money-back guarantee

Famisafe is a great way to exercise parental control over YouTube to deal with your child’s online addiction without getting in the way of their device. You can block any videos that you think are inappropriate for your child. This works for channels, too.

Beyond this, it lets you monitor social media activity on other apps, such as TikTok. It produces a daily report of the videos your kid has watched on TikTok and how long they’ve spent on it.

This parental monitoring suite also lets you perform remote admin actions on the device. The app blocker can be used to turn off any apps you feel your child spends too much time on. The ability to monitor multiple devices from a single app is great as well, making this a great tool for parental control on a computer.

Content blocking lists range from violence, pornography, gambling, and other inappropriate content. It’s easy to block entire categories this way without having to worry about micromanaging your child’s internet usage.

Pricing

Famisafe offers three separate plans, all with the same features. But the duration also determines the number of devices you can monitor. While its monthly and quarterly plans are limited to 5 or 10 devices, respectively, the annual plan, priced at just $5/month, lets you track unlimited devices.

Pros

Cons

  • Fewer monitoring features than other providers

Top Parental Control Apps Compared

The table below lists the key features of the top parental control tools we selected for our shortlist. You can compare them across details such as price, compatibility, free trials, and refund windows.

Parental Control App Annual Price Devices Tracked Compatibility Free Version Guarantee
mSpy $11.67/month 1 Android, iOS, tablets Demo 14-day refund policy
Eyezy $7.99/month 1 Android, iOS, tablets 3-day trial + demo 14-day refund policy
uMobix $12.49/month 1 Android, iOS, tablets Demo 14-day refund policy
Cocospy $12.49/month 1 Android, iOS, tablets Demo 14-day refund policy
Qustodio $4.58/month 5-15 Android, iOS, Windows, Mac Limited free version 30-day money-back guarantee
Phonsee $8.85/month 1 Android, iOS, tablets Demo 14-day refund policy
ClevGuard $4.17/month 1 Android, iOS Demo 30-day money-back guarantee
Norton Family $4.17/month Unlimited Android, iOS, Windows 30-day free trial 60-day money-back guarantee
Famisafe $5/month Unlimited Android, iOS, Windows, Mac Demo 7-day money-back guarantee
Methodology

How We Review And Test Spyware Apps

Important Note: Spy software is not legal to use without the device owner’s permission in many countries and states. When we test spy software, we do so only with the explicit consent of the device owner and in compliance with local laws and regulations.

To provide our readers with accurate and well-informed recommendations, we test the most popular spy applications on the market to find the best options for you. Our methodology consists of the following criteria:

  • General Features: We evaluate the comprehensive feature set of each spy app, including but not limited to features such as App Management, Time Management, Call Monitoring, Device Control and GPS Tracking.
  • Ease of Use: We gauge the user-friendliness of each app, considering factors such as installation process complexity, the necessity of jailbreaking (for iOS) or rooting (for Android) the target device, and more.
  • Device Support and Compatibility: We thoroughly examine the compatibility of each spyware app with different devices and operating systems, including iOS and Android. We also assess whether the app offers a unified dashboard accessible from both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Customer Support: We test the responsiveness and effectiveness of customer support provided by each app developer. We evaluate the availability of support channels, such as live chat, email, or phone support, as well as the satisfaction ratings of customer assistance.
  • Price and Value for Money: We assess each spyware app’s pricing structure in relation to its features and functionalities, aiming to determine its overall value proposition. We analyze whether the app offers different subscription tiers, flexible payment options, and discounts for long-term commitments. Additionally, we check whether the app provides free trials or demos for users to test its capabilities before making a purchase.
  • Privacy and Security: We prioritize the privacy and security of user data in our evaluation. We scrutinize the app’s data encryption measures, adherence to privacy regulations, and commitment to regular security updates to safeguard user information from unauthorized access or breaches.

Why Do I Need a Parental Tracker App?

You can’t be on hand 24/7 to comprehensively monitor your child’s online activity – and that’s particularly true when they’re out of the home, at school, or with friends. And while things may appear to be fine, cyberbullying is a significant concern.

There’s also lots of inappropriate content, even on platforms that supposedly monitor what’s published. Letting your child have unlimited access is a recipe for disaster, but with careful management, the internet can be a fantastic tool for learning and personal development.

Parental monitoring apps help bridge this gap by allowing you to control the content your children can access. You also get helpful notifications when your child goes places you don’t want them to, so you have peace of mind while they’re out and about. And finally, screen-time controls let you dictate how much time your child spends on their phone or device.

What Will a Parental Control App Show Me?

There are several key benefits to using a parental control app to protect your child’s device.

Time ManagementTheft and Loss PreventionOnline SafetyOffline Monitoring

Parental control solutions offer many different technologies to manage your child’s time on their phone, such as time-of-day locks, screen timers, remote app management, website blocking, and device use notifications. These all allow you to tailor your child’s use of their phone.

Many solutions also come with the ability to locate and manage the phone remotely. If you’re really worried about your contacts list falling into the wrong hands, some even come with the ability to delete your phone’s contents remotely.

One of the biggest problems with letting your child have unfiltered and unsupervised access to the Internet is the sheer amount of unpleasant content available. In fact, 56% of children under 16 have seen inappropriate content online.

With real-time updates on their physical movements, you’ll always know where your child is, which will give you complete peace of mind.

Parental control suites allow you to adjust what your child sees, who they talk to, and where they go, alerting you to potential problems long before they become serious.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Parental Control App

There’s a lot to consider when choosing the best parental control app. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

FeaturesDevice CompatibilityResource UsageSafetyPriceUser Reviews

Not all parental control apps are built equally, nor are they all intended for the same situation. Some providers on our list, such as FamiSafe, offer features more closely focused on content protection and online filtering to block inappropriate web content.

Others, like mSpy, are built to be a complete mobile monitoring platform. Consider your needs and then pick the solution that’s closest to them.

While most apps work across platforms, finding a parental control app for Android is much easier than for iOS. Parental control on an iPhone is a lot more complicated, but there are apps, like mSpy and Phonsee, that are better suited for iOS devices. You’ll have to look to apps like Norton Family, Famisafe, and Qustodio to monitor activity on Windows and Mac computers.

Most mobile phone monitoring solutions we’ve reviewed here don’t significantly impact the device’s battery life or processing power, but be warned. Turning on location features for long periods or with short update rates is likely to drain battery life and make the app’s use more noticeable.

When using a parental control Android or iOS app, you’re entrusting sensitive data about your family to a third party. You want to be assured that whichever provider you use is taking appropriate security measures to protect your data.

Some tools are more expensive than others, with discounts for longer-term subscriptions. That said, take advantage of any demos, free trials, or money-back guarantees before making any long-term commitments.

Seeing what others say about an app can help you choose the one you prefer. To help with this, we’ve compiled our pros and cons lists from real user reviews to help.

    Some parental control apps out there claim to be free, but more often than not, they’re harvesting your data to fund hackers, thieves, and scam artists. When you monitor your child’s phone, you’re handling highly sensitive data, so you need to be confident it’s in good hands. With one of the paid apps on our list, you’ll be assured your data is safe.

    Some paid providers offer a free trial version of the app, allowing you to try it before you subscribe. However, these free trials are often reduced to basic monitoring features like call logging and address book monitoring.

    Overall, we recommend testing paid products with demos, trials, and guarantees and avoiding free parental control apps that advertise as completely free.

    How to Use a Parental Control App – A Guide

    Parental control apps can be overwhelming to use at first. We’ve chosen the top provider on our list, mSpy, for a step-by-step guide that’ll walk you through all you need to do to get set up and started with one of the best parental apps for Android on the market:

    1. Step 1Go to the mSpy website and purchase your desired plan.
    2. Step 2 — Get physical access to the target device to install mSpy.
    3. Step 3 — Head to the Play Store, click ‘Settings’ and choose ‘Play Protect’ to disable it.
    4. Step 4 — Next, go to the main screen to settings > apps > Google Play Store> notifications > show notifications. Turn this setting off.
    5. Step 5 — Open Google Chrome and enter the link from the mSpy email to download the app.
    6. Step 6 — Click open when the download is complete, allow all permissions, and click ‘Install.’
    7. Step 7 — Launch mSpy and enter the registration code you got via email from mSpy. Click ‘Complete installation.’

    Now, mSpy will monitor the target device. Simply access the mSpy dashboard from your own device to see the data it syncs. Note that all parental control apps on our list follow a similar installation process, and you’ll receive in-depth assistance on how to do it when you sign up.

    Limitations of Parent Control Software

    Naturally, parental control software has some limitations. To really benefit from monitoring, you need to be engaged with the process and able to review what is being accessed.

    Communicating with your child about the appropriate use of devices and permitted content should help foster positive family relationships and the healthy use of technology.

    If you choose to use a monitoring app without the child’s knowledge, though, there is a small chance that they will discover it—which, depending on their age and sense of personal independence, may result in feelings of distrust.

    Trying to limit your child’s autonomy may also backfire as they pursue forbidden activities in response to restrictions. Of course, if they move their activities to another device, with or without your knowledge, then they’ll likely become impossible to track.

    Given all this, it’s best to use a parental control app within a context of trust – otherwise, you’ll inevitably be working against each other.

    FAQs

    How do parental control apps work?

    What is the best monitoring app for parents?

    Are parental control apps safe?

    Which is the best free parental control app?

    Can I lock my child’s iPhone remotely?

    How to monitor your kid’s iPhones?

    How do I monitor my child’s text messages on an iPhone?

    Sam Dawson
    Technology Expert
    Sam Dawson
    Technology Expert

    Sam is a cybersecurity researcher working in the field of hardware security and AI-driven penetration testing. He has spent the last few years contemplating some of the ways in which computers have been built wrong, and how we can possibly detect those flaws. When not stressing out over arcane details of computer hardware, Sam can be found advocating for data privacy in his spare time.