Bark vs Qustodio: A Deep Dive

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Qustudio-vs-bark

Keeping track of your kids’ location and internet usage is a must for any parent. There are dozens of apps out there that can be used for this (which I’ve written extensively about)

However, when something as important as your child’s safety is at stake, it is crucial to make the right decision about the app to use. As a parent, I understand his feeling very well.

Today, I will cover two of the best monitoring apps for parents: Bark and Qustodio. Many people are often confused about which one is better. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. When they are compared head-to-head, you will easily notice the difference between the two.

From this info, I hope you can make an informed choice to keep your kids safe.

An Overview of Bark

Bark, by Bark Technologies, Inc. is a parental monitoring and control app. It was launched in 2015 by Brian Bason, who is a father of two. Today, it is used by parents and schools to keep 6 million children safe and sound throughout the US.

Bark has been given awards by parenting and education groups like the Mom’s Choice Awards and National Parenting Product Awards (NAPPA).

Originally, it was aimed at parents and guardians. Bark is now also used by nearly 3,000 schools across the country now. As you can see, it is a very reliable and widely trusted app.

 

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An Overview of Qustodio

Qustodio is a parental control app that was originally launched in Spain. It is now widely used across both Europe and the US. Over 4 million parents use Qustodio to keep track of their children.

However, Qustodio is not just for parents. It is for schools and businesses as well. It is a feature-complete app that has everything you need to track your child’s location, browsing habits, and online content.

To compare Qustodio and Bark, the first step is to break down their different features. Then each feature can be compared to each other directly.

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Bark vs Qustodio: Screen Time Management and Web Filtering

Screen Time Management is simply about limiting how long your child stares at a screen. Getting addicted to digital media is a big problem for many children. This feature helps prevent that.

Bark has plenty of screen management functions. It lets you schedule different times such as School Time, Homework Time, Free Time, etc. During each time period, different types of websites can be allowed or blocked. 

For instance, during Homework time you might want to block off social media, streaming and gaming websites. During free time, you can unlock them all. During Bed Time, you can turn off the internet entirely.

Bark Home covers your entire home Wi-Fi network. It will ensure that all devices, not just your child’s phone or laptop, are covered under these rules.

Qustodio has all the basic screen time options as well. It is quite flexible and offers a higher degree of control than Bark. 

Winner: Qustodio

 

Bark vs Qustodio: Web Filtering

Web filtering also allows you to block individual websites or categories of websites. You may want to keep mature websites blocked at all times. If you decide to ground them for a few days, then you could block streaming and gaming websites completely.

Both Bark and Qustodio have web filtering. Smart filtering automatically adds suspicious or mature websites to the list as your child stumbles across them, recognizing and blocking the content before it can be seen.

Winner: Tied

 

Bark vs Qustodio: Location Tracking

In Bark, the location tracking feature is surprisingly useless. Bark will not track your child’s location in real time and provide you with the data. Instead, Bark only acts as a platform for your child to check in. If you want to know their location, you have to send an alert to the app and ask them to check in.

This is not particularly useful, especially if your kid wants to hide their location from you. They might decide it's better to hide their location and get an earful from you when they get home.

Qustodio has a full array of location-tracking functions, including giving you a continuous real-time update on their location. It also keeps history, so you can follow in your kids’ footsteps at any time. This is one factor where Qustodio is far ahead of Bark.

Winner: Qustodio

 

Bark vs Qustodio: Geofencing

Geofencing is used to define an area where your kids are safe. It could be the area of your house. If you live in a good neighbourhood and know other families well, then you could extend this area further out. As soon as your child crosses this boundary, you will be alerted.

However, Bark doesn’t have geofencing. It’s a major oversight considering almost all other parental control management apps do.

Fortunately, Qustodio also does have Geofencing. If you have Qustodio, you will be automatically alerted if your child leaves a ‘safe area’.

Winner: Qustodio

 

Bark vs Qustodio: App Usage Limits

Sometimes, you may want to limit an app’s usage rather than websites. It could be a game or a social media app that you don’t want your child using so much.

Both Bark and Qustodio have basic app usage limiting functions. You can set a daily limit on an app.

Modern social media apps are designed to keep you scrolling. You may scroll for hours and hours without realizing. This is particularly dangerous to children, so App usage limits come in handy.

Winner: Tied

 

Bark vs Qustodio: Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring is one of the biggest uses of parental control apps.

Both Bark and Qustodio have this functionality. However, Bark supports a wider range of social media platforms. 

The typical social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, etc are monitored by Bark. But there are also sites you have likely never heard of before, such as VSCO, Lipsi, LiveMe, etc.

On the other hand, Qustodio only covers the most popular apps – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on. If your child and their friends use an uncommon or niche app to communicate, they could slip under the radar. However, Qustodio does go more in-depth into this. You could log into your child’s Facebook account directly and see any private posts or pictures.

Winner: Bark

 

Bark vs Qustodio: Call and Text Monitoring and Filtering

Monitoring incoming phone calls and text messages is also extremely important. It isn’t as dangerous as letting them use the internet and social media freely. But a lot of the dangers can come through phone calls and texts.

On both Android and iOS, Bark can monitor contacts, texts, and saved photos on the phone. However, it cannot block any incoming phone calls or text messages. 

Qustodio provides alerts each time your child makes a phone call. It also records contacts and full text messages. On Android phones, it can be used to block phone calls as well. Incoming calls can be intercepted and redirected to the parent’s phone. Outgoing calls to a blocked number will be restricted.

Winner: Qustodio

 

Bark vs Qustodio: Detecting Dangerous Content

As parents, we are often busy with work. We don’t have time to go through every single text message kids send. It’s practically impossible to keep up with their lightning-fast fingers when they’re typing away to their friends. Fortunately, part of this can be automated.

Bark uses an artificial intelligence program to detect problematic content. This includes mature and violent messages, age-inappropriate pictures, cyberbullying, grooming, drug usage, etc. None of these are things you want your child exposed to, so Bark will automatically detect them and alert you. It stays active 24/7.

While Qustodio gives you a lot more detail about who contacts your child and what content your child is viewing, unfortunately, automated detection is lacking. With Qustodio, you will have to spend some time going through them to find out the problems.

Winner: Bark

 

Bark vs Qustodio: Remote Controlling

Remote controlling refers to remotely issuing commands to a phone. Remote commands can be used to shut down, restart, lock up, or take photos stealthily. Each of them comes in handy in different ways.

Neither Bark nor Qustodio has any remote-control features. It may be for the best since these features require some technical expertise on the parents’ part!

Winner: Tied

 

Bark vs Qustodio: Ease of Use

Not all parents are technologically inclined. In some cases, the kids may be far ahead of the curve. But that doesn’t mean it’s useless to monitor them. So, I have decided to compare how easy each app is to use.

Some monitoring apps require you to jailbreak or root your child’s phone. This opens up advanced features, but the process can be risky. It can also void the warranty on the phone. Neither Bark nor Qustodio requires you to jailbreak them.

Both Bark and Qustodio are easy to set up. The monitoring dashboard is user-friendly. The initial setup of Bark involves installing the ‘Parents’ App on your phone and the ‘Kids’ App on your child’s device. When setting up the Kids app, you can choose which apps will be connected to Bark and restrict it.

There is one main difference between Bark and Qustodio. Qustodio is an app that relies on secrecy. You should install Qustodio without your child ever knowing about it.

But Bark prioritizes openness and communication between parent and child. The Bark Kids app will be visible on your child’s phone, so you should sit down and explain to them what the app does and why it is important. Most kids will understand that it is for their safety, even if they might not like it.

Winner: Bark

 

Bark vs Qustodio: Let’s Talk about Pricing

The last major difference between the two left to discuss is pricing. For some people, this could make or break it.

Bark features two plans: Premium and Jr. The Jr plan costs only $49 annually, which is very affordable. It only has screen time monitoring, web filtering, and location check-in features. The Premium version costs $99 annually and includes the full suite of monitoring and alerts. 

I recommend getting the Premium edition, as the Jr version is too limited. There is a 7-day free trial if you wish to test-drive it.

Qustodio actually has a fully free version. It’s not very useful though, as it is very limited. It supports only one device and basic screen time, web filtering, and monitoring features.

The paid plans start off a little bit more expensive. It costs about $55 annually for a small family with 5 devices. If you have 10 devices to keep track of, the cost increases to about $97 annually. 

Winner: Tied

 

Bark vs Qustodio: Overall Pros and Cons

For parents who are having a hard time deciding, here is a summary of both apps.

 

Bark

Pros –

  • Automatically detects and alerts dangerous content on your kids’ devices.
  • Monitors a wider range of social media websites and messaging apps.
  • Bark Home ensures that all devices at home are covered. No need to set up individual settings for each device.
  • Monitoring is known and acknowledged by the kids – improves relationship, according to child psychologists

Cons

  • No Geofencing. Location tracking feature is not very useful.
  • Does not give in-depth social media account details or reveal contacts.
  • No way to block or intercept phone calls and text messages.

Try Bark For Free!

 

Qustodio

Pros – 

  • In-depth monitoring with access to your child’s Facebook and contacts info.
  • Has location tracking and geofencing
  • Has a fully free version
  • Cheaper than Bark while having the full range of features.

Cons

  • Many niche social media and messaging apps are not covered.
  • No automatic detection of harmful content. Parents must go through their child’s messages manually.
  • App is hidden from kids. Kids may feel like there is a lack of trust.

Try Qustodio For Free!

 

Bark vs Qustodio: Wrapping Up

Both Bark and Qustodio are excellent options for monitoring your child. They each appear to have a different target.

Qustodio positions itself as the in-depth monitoring app. It lets you read your child’s messages and contacts thoroughly, so you always know exactly what kind of content or messages your child is viewing.

By contrast, Bark is more respectful of the child’s privacy. It encourages parents to build up a positive relationship through monitoring. 

It is designed as a way for parents to protect their children from excessive use of the internet or social media. It doesn’t make a mess of the child’s privacy, but at the same time makes sure parents know when to intervene.

I have used both of these apps personally and found them quite good. It is up to you to decide between them.

 

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With Qustodio you don’t have to inform your children that you installed the app and are monitoring them through it. The app is discreet and has no way of showing up to alert your children about its usage. However, with Bark, your child will be aware of its usage and installation, which can be good for keeping things transparent with your children.

Both Qustodio and Bark can be used to block any content that could be dangerous or harmful to your child. These apps can detect the content automatically by scanning it and then hiding it from your children. Some parental control apps also send notifications to the parent when their child comes across explicit content.

Location tracking is available for both of these apps. With Qustodio you can get Panic Alerts from your child in case of an emergency. As for Bark, the app will send you detailed information about your child’s location. Both of these apps will show you the geolocation of your child at all times.

There is no limitation on the number of devices and accounts you can connect Bark with. You can easily add a new account or a device that you want to supervise with just a few simple clicks. Keep in mind that you may need to opt for a paid plan with Bark to get all the features but there is also a free trial in case you want to test out the app first.

With Qustodio you can block websites that you think are harmful for your child. You can easily do this by adding the website to the Block list in the Qustodio’s Rules tab. However, with Bark you cannot block websites. But the app will send you a notification when your child tries to enter a harmful website.

Top 5 Parental Control Apps

Product
Features
Our Score
Deal
1
Bark
  • 30+ apps and social media monitoring 
  • Keyword alerts available
  • Unlimited device monitoring
9.8
Outstanding
2
Mspy
  • Completely undetected and 100% discrete
  • Location tracking and geofencing available 
  • Monitor calls, SMS and some social apps

 

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9.7
Excellent
3
EyeZy
  • Affordable, fully featured and with a focus on social media monitoring
9.6
Very Good
4
Qustodio
  • Free version available 
  • Social media and SMS monitoring 
  • Monitor up to 5 devices
9.4
Excellent
5
uMobix
  • 30+ popular apps monitored
  • Check your child’s browsing history
  • Set to receive automatic or real-time updates
9.5
Excellent

What was covered on this page?

Mark Harris

Mark Harris

A concerned 46 year old father of 3, ages 16, 12 & 9, Computer scientist "As part of my parenting quest to keep my children safe in the online world, I've researched and tested many parental control apps. I take great pride in contributing to other parents quests by sharing my reviews on Parental Control Now".

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