The world of technology is changing rapidly, and young people are increasingly exposed to virtual environments. Besides having adverse effects on your child’s physical or mental health, technology also presents children with various safety risks. That’s why it’s no surprise that more and more parents are looking for ways to control their children’s screen time starting at an earlier age. 

Parental control apps are the right tool for this task, as they allow parents to monitor what their children do with their devices to prevent them from getting in trouble online. This article explores the best parental control apps and neatly presents their features and recommendations for their best use.

Best Parental Control Apps: Top 10 for 2022

As a parent, it’s natural to feel the urge to keep your children safe from harm. And with the ubiquity of modern-day platforms and apps, it’s more important than ever to be able to monitor and control your child’s online activity. 

Thankfully, many great parental control apps are available that can help you do just that, but how can you be sure which one is right for you? After reviewing a wide range of parental control apps, we’ve picked ten that offer a complete package for child protection on the internet. Here’s a rundown of the best parental control apps currently available:

  1. mSpyBest parental control app on the market
  2. EyeZy — Top-notch parental control app for Instagram monitoring
  3. uMobix — Parental control app for iPhones and iPads
  4. Cocospy — Paid plans for different pocket sizes
  5. XNSpy — Outstanding recording features
  6. Net Nanny — Best for parental control on YouTube
  7. Mobicip — Budget parental control for laptops and PCs
  8. Screen Time — Best time clock app with parental control
  9. Qustodio — All-inclusive parental control app
  10. Bark — Works wonders on numerous apps and platforms

Top Parental Control Apps for 2022 Reviewed

Parental control apps are helpful tools for keeping children safe online, thanks to the variety of features they offer. We’ve created a dynamic review protocol and considered several factors, such as device compatibility, price, available features, number of users, location tracking, and more. Read on, and you’ll most likely find a suitable mobile, desktop, and even a

parental control iPad app.

1. mSpy — Best Parental Control App on the Market

mSpy is best overall

mSpy is a parental control app and one of the best Facebook spy apps that have been on the market for over a decade now. Since 2010, the company behind this app has been helping parents monitor their children’s actions on the web and protecting them from cyber threats.

From the moment you install mSpy on your child’s mobile device, you’ll be able to monitor whatever they do on their gadget through your own mobile phone or computer. This top spy app will work on any device that can connect to the internet, so don’t forget to do that before you start using mSpy.

mSpy allows you to track many popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, while it also grants you access to communication that runs through platforms like Tinder and Snapchat. You’ll be able to read the texts your child sends and receives and get insight into the call log and duration of each call.

The app’s GPS tracker will let you know your child’s exact location at all times and even set virtual zones for school, home, and other places. Once the child leaves any of the zones it should be in; you’ll receive a notification on your device. 

Other features you’ll get with mSpy include access to the photo gallery of your child’s device, browsing history, bookmarked websites, and more. The app offers several paid plans, but you can test it for free seven days before purchasing.

Supported operating systems iOS, Android
Price Free trial: 7 days

1 month: $48.99 per month

3 months: $27.99 per month

12 months: $11.66 per month

Pros:

  • Gives insight into texts on social media platforms
  • Has a GPS tracker
  • Allows access to internet browsing history

Cons:

  • One subscription covers only one device
  • You must have access to the phone you’d like to monitor for installation

2. EyeZy — Top-Notch iOS and Android Parental Control App For Instagram Monitoring

EyeZy is perfect for Instagram monitoring

EyeZy is a relatively new mobile surveillance and tracking app that helps parents stay in control of their children’s communication and web-based activities. Starting with the basics, EyeZy offers a Pinpoint feature that will show you the exact location of your child via GPS tracking and geolocation.

The app’s Social Spotlight feature will assist you in other sorts of things, such as supervising all activities related to popular social networks like Viber, WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. Even if a child uses the secret chat option, you’ll be able to read the texts sent and received through their account.

You’ll always be able to check what kind of things your child looks up on the internet with the EyeZy application. Moreover, EyeZy won’t only let you see what your child searches for on the web, but it’ll also help you block the content or websites you don’t want them to visit. 

Finally, EyeZy has one cool feature, Invisibility Shield, that allows you to hide the EyeZy app on your child’s phone, so they can’t find it and discover that you’re following their every move. This way, you’ll have complete control over your child’s phone without them knowing about it. Moreover, it’s also one of the best Geofencing apps on the market.

Supported operating systems iOS, Android
Price 1 month: $47 per month

3 months: $27.99 per month

12 months: $9.99 per month

Pros:

  • Dashboards give an excellent overview of data
  • Great for Instagram control
  • Invisible Shield will hide the app on your child’s phone

Cons:

  • No free trial
  • You must create an account to see the pricing

3. uMobix — Best Parental Control iPhone App

uMobix is excelent for iPhones and iphones and ipads

If you’re looking for the best parental control apps for iPhone and iPad devices, uMobix is one of the highly recommended options. The iOS operating system is very important in this case, as you won’t need physical access to the target device to download the app. If you know your child’s iCloud credentials and can verify the 2FA code, you’ll quickly install uMobix on your child’s iPhone or iPad.

If your child owns an Android device, you must have physical access to it to install uMobix, but you’ll only need it for up to a minute. More importantly, aside from this tiny inconvenience, no other thing will ruin your surveillance of Android devices with uMobix. It’s also amongst the best WhatsApp spy apps in the industry.

You don’t need to worry about the app being visible on your child’s phone either, as it doesn’t even appear on iOS devices and is easily removable from the menu on Android phones and tablets.

The uMobix app logs everything in real-time and sends reports to your user account, where they take the form of a dashboard. The data you’ll have access to includes details of calls and texts (even deleted ones), photo and video content, accurate GPS location, and even streaming through the camera and speakers. You can even access the key settings on your child’s phone and restrict certain apps, content, or functions.

Supported operating systems iOS, Android
Price 1 month: $49.99 per month

3 months: $27.99 per month

12 months: $11.66 per month

Pros:

  • Monitors more than 30 apps and platforms
  • Automatic updates on the target phone
  • Simple and quick setup

Cons:

  • Physical access required for Android target phones
  • No free plan

4. Cocospy — Paid Plans for Different Pocket Sizes

Cocospy has affordable plans

Cocospy is a parental control app that leaves you with plenty of options regarding pricing plans. You can move the switch depending on the operating system you use and get offers for different types of pricing plans as well as different payment periods. 

Android users can take advantage of Basic, Premium, and Family plans; the last one will work on up to three devices. The situation is even better for spy app iOS users — they can get Premium Plan for a single device, Family Plan for up to five gadgets, or Business Plan that can track up to 25 different iPhones and iPads. 

With a well-developed Stealth Mode, Cocospy will give you a sneak peek at your child’s social media activity, including chat messages, sent and received media, and more. Best of all, you’ll be invisible as if wearing an invisibility cloak. You’ll be well aware of the timings of all communication and also get a chance to track the exact location of your child’s phone.

Unlike competitors, Cocospy won’t ask you to jailbreak a target device if it’s iOS-powered. Also, you won’t have to root a target device if it’s an Android phone or tablet, which makes installing the app on the target phone much more straightforward.

Supported operating systems iOS, Android
Price Android
1 month: From $49.993 months: From $149.9912 months: From $599.99iOS1 month: $199.993 months: $599.9912 months: From $2.399.99

Pros:

  • Several pricing plans
  • Users can get 60-day money-back guarantee
  • No target device jailbreak or rooting

Cons:

  • Different pricing for Android and iOS
  • iOS plans are a bit pricey

5. XNSPY — Outstanding Recording Features

XN Spy ahs great recording features

XNSpy is a next-generation spy app with special solutions for schools and businesses for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. Therefore, aside from being helpful to worried parents, XNSPY is one of the best parental control apps that can also serve as an excellent tool for monitoring students at schools or employees of any company.

The app has unlimited storage on your XNSPY Control Panel, so you won’t have to worry about missing important information. Moreover, the team behind XNSPY regularly works on software updates, meaning that you’ll be able to keep track of any new apps or features added to the existing ones.

In addition to classic features like call logs and duration, texts, social media monitoring, location tracking, and more, XNSPY brings one creative and handy spying accessory — a call, screen, and surroundings recorder.

With this feature, you’ll be able to record and watch everything happening on the target device’s screen and listen to all the conversations around it. You’ll receive notifications about important activity on the target phone and reports about the top callers, call durations, frequently visited websites, essential emails, and more.

Supported operating systems iOS, Android
Price Monthly: From $74.99 per month

Quarterly: From $41.65 per month

Yearly: From $16.65 per month

Pros:

  • Screen and call recordings
  • Suitable for schools and businesses
  • No storage limits

Cons:

  • Ten-day refund policy on all purchases
  • Several complaints about customer support

6. Net Nanny — Best for Parental Control on YouTube

Net Nanny is best for YouTube

NetNanny is a parental control program that can protect both mobile devices and desktop computers. Aside from classic parental control on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, you’ll also get a chance to have complete parental control on MacBook and Windows devices, as well as on your child’s Kindle and Chromebook.

NetNanny’s features for helping parents monitor their children’s devices are truly impressive. The app incorporates protection and monitoring tools nicely by allowing parents to limit screen time and monitor what their children watch and search for on their devices.

The app has proved to be exceptionally functional for monitoring and limiting videos and channels children watch and follow on YouTube. Using NetNanny, you can now stay in touch with the names and duration of YouTube videos watched and searched by your child and their view dates.

Aside from the ultimate protection on YouTube, NetNanny offers other standard features, such as social media protection, website and app blockers, location tracking, reports and alerts, and even the option to block adult websites and prevent children from watching pornography. You can select a plan for a single macOS device or choose between those covering either five or 20 tech tools powered by almost any operating system.

Supported operating systems iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Kindle, Chromebook
Price 1 desktop: $49.99 per year

5 devices: $79.99 per year

20 devices: $129.99 per year

Pros:

  • YouTube protection and reporting
  • Geofencing with arrival and departure notifications
  • Works on both mobile devices and desktop computers

Cons:

  • Plan for a single target device only available for macOS
  • No free version

7. Mobicip — Best Budget Laptop Parental Control

Mobicip is best for laptops and PCs

Mobicip is the best solution for parents who want to monitor their kids without spending too much money on popular and often overhyped apps. Yet, being affordable isn’t the only advantage of this parental control app. The key reason to use Mobicip is that it doesn’t only protect and monitor your child’s mobile devices but also their laptops and desktop computers.

As much as we think it’s only necessary to see what our child does on the smartphone or tablet, experts say that parental control on PC is equally essential. All the popular apps like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and others are available as desktop platforms, meaning that children can access them from any Windows and macOS laptop or computer.

Mobicip will help you limit your child’s screen time and make a personalized schedule related to the usage of certain apps and platforms. It’ll also let you block the child’s access to unwanted websites and apps entirely and give you insights into the child’s overall online activity.

The geolocation feature is also a part of Mobicip’s interface, granting you instant information about your child’s whereabouts. You can personally create virtual geofences around your home, school, sports practice hall, or any location you want, and the app will notify you every time the child enters or leaves any of those locations.

Supported operating systems iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Chromebook & Kindle
Price Lite: $4.98 per month

Standard: $7.14 per month

Premium: $9.99 per month

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable
  • Offers excellent protection for both laptops and mobile devices
  • Great knowledge base

Cons:

  • Social media monitoring should include more platforms
  • No 24/7 support

8. Screen Time — Best Time Clock App With Parental Control

Screentime is a great clock app with parental control

If you’re worried that your child spends too much time on their phone or tablet, it’s time to do something about it, and Screen Time will assist you in accomplishing your goal. This easy-to-use app has collected various trophies for online parental control, such as the Mom’s Choice Award and the 2019 National Parenting Product Award. It also has a free plan, so it’s often named the best free parental control app for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Kindle.

The first thing you’ll love about Screen Time is self-explanatory — the app will let you set daily time limits related to using certain apps and websites on your child’s gadget. Screen Time also offers an option called Instant Pause that lets you halt your child’s device usage, regardless of the time limits you previously set. This will help you gather the family for dinner or prevent the child from isolating during social events.

Furthermore, you also have an option called Free Play that works the other way around. If you find yourself in a situation where the child needs a distraction, the Free Play feature will let you temporarily override the initial settings until the critical moment passes.

The app also has features designed to motivate your child and not only ban device usage. This is done through an option reserved for setting tasks that can award the child extra screen time after completing homework.

Supported operating systems iOS, Android, Kindle
Price Free: Basic features for one device

Premium: $6.99 per month for up to five devices

Pros:

  • Free plan available
  • Instant Pause and Free Play features
  • Includes all the vital monitoring and limit setting features

Cons:

  • Free plan offers limited features
  • Doesn’t work on Windows and macOS

9. Qustodio — All-Inclusive Parental Control App

Quostodio is an all-inclusive app

Qustodio has proved its worth through numerous features vital for your kids’ online protection. Although it’s considered one of the best parental control apps for Android and iOS gadgets, Qustodio can also be used on desktop computers and laptops using Windows or macOS. The app also works on Kindle and Chromebook, which is why it’s highly praised by more than 4 million parents worldwide.

For starters, Qustodio will help you filter apps and content on the web and ensure that your child only sees appropriate content for their age group. You’ll get to follow your child’s actions online, including social media use, browsing history, YouTube views, location, screen time, and other essential things.

Setting time limits on gadgets will now be as easy as ABC, and it’ll indirectly help your child spend some screen-free time and prevent bad habits, such as staying up late on the phone or developing a screen addiction. Another safety benefit Qustodio offers is a Panic Button kids can use to send an alert and share their location to trusted contacts when in trouble.

The app will present all the info you’re interested in through user-friendly dashboards and will do so in real time. You’ll get regular updates on your child’s web-based activities, and the app will also send reports on their daily, weekly, and monthly activities via email. 

Supported operating systems iOS, Android, Kindle, Windows, macOS, Chromebook
Price Small: $54.95 annually for 5 devices

Medium: $96.95 annually for 10 devices

Large: $137.95 annually for 15 devices

Pros:

  • Available for different operating systems
  • Each paid plan can track more than one device
  • Real-time dashboard updates

Cons:

  • Very short trial (3 days)
  • Panic Button exclusive for Android

10. Bark — Great for Parental Control on Amazon Fire and Apple TV

Bark works well on various apps and platofrms

Bark is one of the most popular apps for monitoring email, texts, YouTube, and over 30 social media platforms and apps. Among those platforms and apps, you can find everything from Instagram and Snapchat to Amazon Fire and Apple TV, which isn’t something many other parental control apps can deliver.

A week-long free trial is available, after which you can choose between two plans, depending on your needs. The basic plan, Bark JR, will enable you to follow your child’s location and check-ins, manage screen time, and filter the websites your child can visit. 

If you choose Bark Premium, the options for monitoring your kid increase dramatically, allowing you to read texts and emails, receive alerts for concerning actions and content, and get expert advice on how to handle situations when you notice something inappropriate.

Among other features, Bark specializes in Discord parental control and enables parents of young gamers to maintain a safe gaming environment online. Moreover, Bark has created a special program for schools and offered its services for free to more than 3,200 districts across the US to prevent cyberbullying and other virtual crimes and protect as many students as possible.

Supported operating systems iOS, Android, Kindle, Windows, macOS, Chromebook
Price Free trial

Bark Jr: $5 monthly or $49 per year

Bark Premium: $14 monthly or $99 per year

Pros:

  • Supports more than 30 popular platforms and apps
  • Both pricing plans include unlimited devices
  • Around-the-clock monitoring

Cons:

  • Basic plan only features essential functions
  • Not all features work on all operating systems

Best Parental Control Apps Compared

There are a variety of parental control apps for Android, iOS, and other systems available on the market, each with its own set of features and benefits. Here is a comparison of some of the most popular options:

Supported operating systems Price
mSpy iOS, Android Free trial: 7 days

1 month: $48.99 per month

3 months: $27.99 per month

12 months: $11.66 per month

EyeZy iOS, Android 1 month: $47 per month

3 months: $27.99 per month

12 months: $9.99 per month

uMobix iOS, Android 1 month: $49.99 per month

3 months: $27.99 per month

12 months: $11.66 per month

Cocospy iOS, Android Android
1 month: From $49.993 months: From $149.9912 months: From $599.99iOS1 month: $199.993 months: $599.9912 months: From $2.399.99
XNSPY iOS, Android Monthly: From $74.99 per month

Quarterly: From $41.65 per month

Yearly: From $16.65 per month

NetNanny iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Kindle, Chromebook 1 desktop: $49.99 per year

5 devices: $79.99 per year

20 devices: $129.99 per year

Mobicip iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Chromebook & Kindle Lite: $4.98 per month

Standard: $7.14 per month

Premium: $9.99 per month

Screen Time iOS, Android, Kindle Free: Basic features for one device

Premium: $6.99 per month for up to five devices

Qustodio iOS, Android, Kindle, Windows, macOS, Chromebook Small: $54.95 annually for 5 devices

Medium: $96.95 annually for 10 devices

Large: $137.95 annually for 15 devices

Bark iOS, Android, Kindle, Windows, macOS, Chromebook Free trial

Bark Jr: $5 monthly or $49 per year

Bark Premium: $14 monthly or $99 per year

How Do Parental Control Apps Work?

Parental control apps are designed to give parents a way to monitor and control their child’s activity on their mobile devices. Apps like these offer a variety of features, but most will allow parents to track their child’s location, set restrictions on app usage, and view their child’s text messages and call history. 

The apps can also enable parents to check their kids’ social media accounts and see everything that happens on those platforms. Additionally, the best parental control app will send notifications to the parent if the child attempts to access a restricted app or website, crosses geofencing limits, receives inappropriate text messages, and more.

What Can You Do With a Parental Control App?

Parent control apps can do many things, from blocking certain websites to tracking your child’s location. We picked the most common and unique features of the best parental control Android apps, as well as those focusing on iOS, macOS, Windows, and other devices. Read on to learn how to take full advantage of this online tool and keep your child safe.

Track the Time Your Child Spends Online

If you think your child spends too much time online in your presence, rest assured it’s even worse, as children nowadays use these gadgets almost constantly. A good parent control app will give you insight into the amount of time your child spends on the internet and allow you to limit it according to your preferences.

Get Insight Into Calls and Text Messages

With no parental control app, your kids can text or call anyone and hide it from you simply by deleting the message or clearing the call log. However, once you install the best parental control app on their phone, you’ll know who they’re talking to and what they’re talking about, even if the messages have been deleted.

Monitor Social Media

Social media offers some great things but also carries a great deal of risk for children. Regardless of your kid’s age, social media platforms and apps can negatively affect their well-being and safety. But you can stop anything harmful that might happen to your kids by monitoring their social media accounts and checking the content they watch, send, and receive.

Block Apps and Websites

If there’s no way for you to control the amount of time your child spends on certain apps or websites or even the content found there, you can always use one of the best parental control apps to block everything. Whether it’s Instagram or an adult entertainment site, you can limit your kid’s access to it entirely by blocking it using your own device.

Check Browsing History

Do you think your kid is hiding something from you? If you notice that your kid quickly switches pages or turns windows and tabs off completely when you enter the room, know that there’s something they don’t want you to see. Instead of yelling and starting a fight, install a parental control app and get access to your kid’s browsing history without even getting close to the target device.

Track Location

Almost all parental control apps now have a real-time GPS tracker that allows you to know where your child is at all times. Some apps allow you to set virtual zones on the map and know exactly when the child has left home, entered school, visited someone, or been to a place listed as off-limits.

Free Parental Control Apps

Modern parents have numerous parental control apps at their disposal for monitoring what their children do online, and many of these apps are free. These free options offer helpful features, such as tracking internet usage, setting time limits, and blocking certain websites. 

The biggest advantage of these applications is that you can get decent parental control without spending a dime. Nevertheless, even the best parental control app with a free plan will usually be limited in terms of the tools it offers compared to apps you have to pay for. 

Therefore, if you’re interested in safeguarding and monitoring your kid’s online activities, the best choice would be one of the above-mentioned apps. They are well-equipped with features for location tracking, social media monitoring, access to text messages and call logs, screen time tracking, and everything else you need to keep your children’s online world safe.

How to Use a Parental Control App

Although parental apps that offer many features may look and feel a bit intimidating, they are very easy to use. We’ll use mSpy as an example and show you how to get started with it in a few simple steps:

1. Visit the official mSpy website.

2. Click the green Try Now button to create an account.

create an account

3. Provide your email and tick the box to accept mSpy’s terms and conditions.

4. Select the target device you’d like to monitor. You can choose between an iOS or Android device or pick the option to decide later.

Choose a device for tracking

5. Select the plan you’d like to purchase.

Select a plan

6. Type in the necessary details and authorize the payment.

Complete the payment

7. You’ll then get access to your mSpy account and get ready to monitor the target phone of your choice.

You’ll have to install the app on the target device if you want to monitor an Android phone. For monitoring an iPhone, you will need the phone’s Apple ID and password to get started. You might also need the phone for a couple of minutes, as you must enable the iCloud backup and get the code for verification. Once all this is set, the monitoring can start.

Conclusion

As we believe parents have a right and responsibility to protect their children online, we wanted to equip you with the best parental control apps on the market. We hope this article has helped you understand the available options for monitoring and controlling your child’s online activities. 

Ultimately, any of these parental control apps can be an excellent way to keep your children safe while on their devices. We do have our favorite, though, and it’s mSpy, an app that can monitor Android and iOS devices. After installing this parental control software, you’ll know your child’s whereabouts, access their conversations and calls, monitor social media activity, and many other things, all of which can help you stay calm in the long run.

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