Keep your kids safe with the best software for blocking explicit, disturbing, and illegal websites and apps.
We all have the best intentions when it comes to entertaining the kids, but it doesn’t always work out like we hoped.
Everyone starts out with bold plans for outdoor activities, craft exercises, board games, and maybe even a dance routine, but this doesn’t last long. This sort of schedule requires superhuman levels of focus, energy, and patience, and nobody has all three.
You might have the best intentions, but it’s only a matter of time before you’ll turn to technology to save the day. Nothing captures the attention of a child like a desktop, tablet, laptop, or mobile, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s time to just accept it.
Modern kids have never known a world without the Internet and constant access to videos, games, movies, and shows. They probably spend more time online than you, and this presents a problem. There are explicit and potentially disturbing sites and apps out there on the web, and you can’t always be physically present to stop your child from encountering this sort of content.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem. Parental control software helps you to manage all the devices your kids use by blocking unwanted content, limiting screen time, restricting the use of certain apps, and much more. It’s all about making sure the online world is a safe space for your kids to explore (but you should always chat with them about the importance of online safety before making any of these changes).
There are plenty of parental control software options out there for you to consider, with something for every family. We have researched everything on offer and lined up a selection of the very best services, including software from big names like Kaspersky, McAfee, and Norton. Basically, we’ve done all the hard work for you.
These are the best parental control software options for 2020.
Relatively cheap • No device or profile limit • Strong web filtering • Resists uninstallation
Filtering limited to certain browsers • Interface isn’t the best
Affordable and comprehensive parental control software that can protect all your devices.
It’s a simple system to use, with an app for your child and an app for you connected through a single account. The app on your kid’s device helps you to regulate their activity, and your app lets you see reports and customise settings.
You can manage your child’s app settings and block access to adult websites and content. This extends to harmful YouTube search requests and access to games and inappropriate apps. You can even manage their screen time by device.
Kaspersky Safe Kids also uses a GPS tracker so you can locate their whereabouts on a real-time online map. This function lets you define a safe area for them to stay in and alerts you if they step outside it. You’ll also get a notification when they’re running low on battery so you can warn them to plug in and charge.
This comprehensive service costs £14.99 for a one-year subscription, or comes free with Kaspersky Total Security. This complete security package will set you back £39.99 per year.
No device number limits • Simple configuration • Attractive dashboard
Does not work on Apple Macs • Time restrictions
Norton Family lets you track and manage your children’s activity with plenty of features and easy installation.
Norton FamilyNorton Family is easy to install and configure, and makes the web safer for your kids to explore.
It works by keeping you informed of which sites your kids are visiting, and letting you block harmful or inappropriate content. It also helps your children balance time spent online by scheduling screen time limits for their devices.
Norton Family provides useful insights into the search terms and videos that interest your kids, and flags unsafe behaviour. You’ll also get detailed reports on what your kids are doing online.
Until May 31, you can get six months of Norton Family for free. You can also get this parental control software as part of an annual subscription to Norton 360 Deluxe (£79.99) or Norton 360 Premium (£89.99). We wouldn’t recommend ever paying full price because these services regularly go on sale.
Unlimited number of devices • Time-management features • Geofencing
Pricey • Not for Apple Macs
Offers plenty of parental control tools and can monitor an unlimited number of devices.
McAfee Safe FamilyMcAfee Safe Family allows you to easily limit your childrens’ screen time.
McAfee Safe Family does all of the above and more, and lets you view your kid’s device activity, website access, current location, and checked-in places. You can set rules and time limits for apps and websites, starting from pre-defined age based rules that you can customise.
McAfee is another provider that lets you locate their devices on a live map. You’ll get automated notifications the moment they enter or leave familiar places like a school or the library.
This popular service costs £5.99 per month, or £39.99 for an annual subscription. It also comes free with a subscription to a McAfee Total Protection family plan.
Attractive and intuitive interface • Straightforward time restrictions • App blocking • Cross-platform support
Relatively expensive • Social media tracking limited to Facebook
Pricey parental control software is well designed, intuitive, and comprehensive.
QustodioQustodio is a straightforward and highly configurable tool for managing your child’s online activity.
With the Qustodio online dashboard and app you’ll be able to see how your kid uses devices, apps, and the web. You can easily set healthy limits to manage your child’s online experience, and the powerful filtering technology is automatically enabled to protect your child from potentially harmful content.
Qustodio provides all the information you need to help protect your children against the growing number of serious online threats like inappropriate content, cyberbullying, cyberpredators, and screen addiction.
A Small Plan protect up to five devices with all premium features and costs £39.95 per year. A Medium Plan costs £64.95 per year and protects up to 10 devices, and a Large Plan costs £92.95 per year and protects up to 15 devices. It’s all about finding a plan that works for you and your family.
Mobile apps • Organised interface • App blocking
Possible to bypass browsing restrictions • No geofencing
Mobicip provides all the tools you need to monitor your children’s web and app activity.
MobicipMobicip’s lets you easily block screen time and establish rules for mobile apps.
Its dynamic internet filter scans sites in real-time to ensure web safety and allow only age-appropriate content for each user. It also manages screen time by setting practical schedules, and locks or restricts family devices, apps, and games when it’s time to go offline.
The location tracker lets you keep tabs on your children’s whereabouts, showing their last known location. This feature gives you valuable peace of mind and ensures that your little ones are safe.
There are three plans to consider: Small, Medium and Large. These options protect up to five, 10, and 15 devices, and cost £3.34, £6.04, and £8.38 per month respectfully. All of these plans are billed annually.