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We are living in a digital era in which kids spend most of their time in front of smartphones and laptops. They play online games, send texts, or view videos, most of the time, without adult supervision. With this, it is not enough that you just limit their screen time. It is also crucial to have a parental control app. Luckily, you don’t have to spend on much on it as there are plenty of free parental control apps out there. They are sometimes limited with features compared to the full version but definitely a good start in protecting your kids.
The best free parental control app can provide you with peace of mind although limited but still a good start. Such app can restrict wrong online access of kids. It can block them from certain websites and applications, specifically those that are age-inappropriate. The apps track usage and limit screen time and can be a good way to be in control of what kids are doing using their gadgets.
It is a mobile application that you will have to download to the device you would like to monitor and control. Whether it is Android, iOS, or powered by any other software, you have various options for free parental control apps.
After downloading the app, you will need to register an account. You will also download it on your device, not just your kid’s gadget. Once you have downloaded the app, you can now perform different functions, such as blocking payments, web filtering, and limiting screen time. More about this will be discussed in the next section of this article. These apps may work differently from each other, so research carefully.
Below are some of the features and functions that you can expect from a free parental control app:
There are many choices for top-rated free parental control apps, and below are our favorites.
With Bark you need to look no further. One of the best apps out there, cheap and does a superb job in monitoring your kids activity over social networks. Bark sees itself as the helmet of your kids phone, just like you provide your kid a helmet when n they start riding their bike, you also need to provide your kids the right protection when they start using their phone. Bark’s kid friendly solution provides parents with alerts.
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While this software comes with a free version, to unlock its full features, you have to avail one of their paid plans. The cheapest costs of $4.98 monthly, which already covers five devices. The Qustodio app aims to provide a safe and productive digital environment. It monitors social media activities, limits games, blocks inappropriate content, limits screen time, and monitors calls, among others. It is also popular for being user-friendly, so it won’t be a struggle for parents to use the app.
The brand name itself can already be enough reason to consider this parental control software. You have 30 days to try it for free. After the initial trial period, you can choose one from their paid subscriptions. You can supervise their web activity, screen time, and mobile app use. The app also supports location supervision and video supervision.
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|Tracks the activity and set alerts for various devices that you monitor||
MMGuardian is a great option for parents who want to be on top of what their kids are doing online. The app is only available for android and ios mobile devices. The app allows parents to monitor text messages and some social media messages, and receive alerts when inappropriate content (text or image) appears in these text messages. The app will send you detailed reports on the usage activities of your kids. In addition you can of course block adult content sites and set up shut down times to limit usage. If you have one iOS device that you want to monitor this is probably one of the best and most affordable options for you.
This internet security app is not only for homes but also for small businesses. OpenDNS Family Shield is free, but there are premium versions for more features. For instance, the OpenDNS Home VIP package is available for only $19.95 per year. You can use it to control routers, computers, smart devices, and servers. It can control the router itself and not just the specific device that your kids may have. The program is already pre-configured to block all adult contents, so there is no need to set it yourself. It also comes with free email support. Beyond such, the features are quite limited.
Created for Mac, Windows, and Android, this is another option for the best free parental control app that should be on your radar. It allows parents to know where their kids have been, what photos were taken, who they communicated with, what websites were accessed, and how long they have been using their respective gadgets. It also allows scheduling of email reports for a more detailed snapshot of the usage or online behavior of kids. The basic version of this free parental control app monitors five devices with a disk space of 9mb. You can also choose the standard plan at $29 per year and the professional plan for $89 per year.
Designed by parents, made for kids – this is what the company claims. It has a Kid Mode, which creates a safe digital playground. Parents have complete control of the online usage of their kids. There is a dashboard that does not only provide a snapshot of the performance of kids but also allows parents to set limits, block websites, and customize curriculum, among others.
OurPact: Whether your kids have iOS or Android-powered phones, this is another parental control app worth considering. Some of its notable features include app blocking, geo-fencing, screen time allowance, family locator, and porn blocking. One of the best free apps for parental control, it also has a seamless interface. There are Plus and Premium paid versions, which will unlock more features and benefits.
Google Family Link: The mere fact that this is from Google can already be a compelling reason to choose this app over others. It claims to help families in creating healthy digital habits. You can set limits and lock devices to manage the screen time of the users. Google family can also be used for restricting online purchases in the Google Play Store.
If you have an Android device this is one of the best options for you. ESET has over 30 years of experience in cyber protection and it is one of the most recognized security brands in the world. They have many different products for small and big businesses so you need to make sure you check that the software you chose is good for parental control. The free version allows parents to set time limits, web monitoring and apps guard and basic reports which is a pretty good offer from such a strong brand.
Safe Lagoon is another good option for parents to monitor what their kids are doing online. The app is available both for Android and iOS devices as well as for windows. Safe Lagoon is doing a great job (Android Only) in monitoring your kids Instant Messaging communication and see who calls and texts them. If you pay the extra $ you will be able review and download photos and videos from your child’s device,which on one hand can be seen as an act of infiltrating their privacy but on the other hand can protect them from sharing nudity or other inappropriate content. We liked the instant notification and daily email reports that the parents can receive and see the exact behavior of their kids, what sites they try to access and what apps they play. The free version is very limited with features but if you have one device and looking for web filtering this is a good option for you.
The ZenScreen app takes a different approach to parental control focusing mainly on screen time monitoring. The people behind the app are promoting the Digital Diet trend which in simple words means, that just like in food once we consume too much we need to go on a diet, same happens with our kids who use the phone too much and need to go on a digital diet and loose some “screen time”. Once installed the app is making our kids take mini Zen brakes from social media or other apps. Good app for screen time management but not much more than that. App is available both for Android and iPhone.
Some of you might think that free parental control app is not as good as their premium counterparts. Yes, this can be true but not in all cases. Most of the time, these free apps are a good first aid solution. You just have to know where to look and which one to download.
We highly recommend that before you decide on the app you want to commit to, try to find a free version of the parental control app. In some cases the trial period is limited, yet it can deliver some great functionality and an option to test the service before the long term monthly/yearly commitment. However, in some cases, the free version might be limited, for example it will only show you how it monitors Facebook but not sms etc. The scope of premium parental control apps is usually much wider and will present a broader solution. The full versions usually allow you to track more than one device and gives the parents a better visibility to the online activities and whereabouts of their children.
Free parental apps on mobile and smart devices will work like their counterparts on desktop computers and laptops. The best free parental control apps have mobile-friendly versions. This means that they are automatically optimized to adjust based on the screen of the device that you are using to ensure a seamless and intuitive user experience. Make sure to read our detailed reviews to make sure that the apps support the operating system that you wish to monitor.
Just like you would take a car for a test drive, the best way to decide what parental control app suits your needs is to first use its free version. In most of the apps you will be able to follow the online activities of your children. You can also help prevent cyberbullying to some extent.
Free parental control software can also help in limiting kids’ use of popular gaming consoles and platforms, such as PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. Most platforms allow you to set up some kind of parental control inside the console. The best way is to create different profiles for each user but you can also look for Family Mode and set a pin or password. Some of the app might also provide a feature to control and limit time spent online and in-game purchases.
The best parental control app free is an excellent way to manage the device usage of your kids. It is useful in monitoring the websites they visit, blocking payments, and limiting their screen time, among other things. The free apps listed above are some of the most effective in monitoring and controlling the behavior and activities of kids.
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|Best for social networks monitoring||
|Tracks the activity and set alerts for various devices that you monitor||
|Tracks the activity on Websites and social activity but not emails||