The best Android parental control apps and other ways

Best Android parental control apps and other ways.

Parental controls on phones evolved a lot over the years. Back in the day, devices had kid modes that turned off the UI basically entirely, trapping the child in a specific app. Unfortunately, kid mode is easy to work around and it doesn’t work really well. There are better alternatives out there anyway. These new options give your children more freedom to do what they want while still keeping you in control. Here are the best parental control apps for Android and some other methods in case you need further control. There are no kid mode apps on this list because that is a seriously outdated method and kids could easily get around it anyway.

Best parental control apps for Android and other methods

There are no Kid modes apps in this list because this is a seriously older method and children can easily get around it anyway. This offer gives your child more freedom to choose the things they want, while still having control over their behavior. So far there have been better alternative options. Below are most suitable apps for parental monitoring iOS and Android for controlling kids and providing some ways to get more control of them. Back in the day devices actually had kid modes which basically turned off the UI completely trapping the child in another app which doesn’t run very well but it’s easy to work around. There can be other opportunities as well.

Best free parental control app for Android 2021

Parental control app for Android is the best Android parental control app for monitoring children’s devices. It is up to us to make sure that our children are using these devices wisely making sure that they don’t misuse their access and that the content they viewed is suitable for their age. How do I set up a child-free parental control app on our android? On this site we’ll also share best free Android apps to help parents find the best android devices to track their child’s internet use as well as monitoring their mobile device.

A photo of Google Family for the best parental apps list

The best parental control apps for Android


Price: From $9.99 per month


EyeZy is a parental control app that’s jam-packed with numerous monitoring features that allow adults to check on every step their kids take online. It’s specifically designed for those parents hoping to keep an eye on smartphone activities like text messages, chats, and emails.

Parents can also browse through photos and videos their kids send and receive with help from eyeZy. Even if you don’t need to see what they’re up to, the advanced GPS tracking lets you know their exact whereabouts and sends notifications if they enter geofenced areas.

EyeZy also offers a screen recording feature in case you need to remotely capture what your kids are seeing. No matter your parental needs, eyeZy has you and your kids covered.

AppLock by IvyMobile

Price: Free

Ivymobile - best applock apps for android

An app lock is an excellent way to keep kids out of apps on your phone. This is mostly for parents with younger kids who use the parent’s phone to watch YouTube Kids or play kids games. An app lock puts a password on your other apps. Thus, if your kids get back to the home screen and start clicking on sensitive stuff like your Facebook app or your banking app, they can’t get any further. We have a whole list of these, but IvyMobile’s is free and relatively simple to use. This should keep kids away from the sensitive stuff until they’re old enough to know better.

See also: The best applocks and privacy lock apps for Android

Find My Kids

Price: Free / $2.99 per month / $16.99 per year / $25.99 once

Find My Kids screenshot 2021

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Find My Kids is a lighter touch on parental control apps. This one keeps track of your child’s location at all times. You can see where they are, where they go, and where they’ve been. We like how simple this app is. You open it and can immediately see where all of your kids are. Some other features include notifications if your child’s phone is having trouble sending a location and you can see what apps they use. There are also some security controls, a battery monitor for your child’s device, and a family chat so you can ask them where they are. It’s surprisingly inexpensive compared to most of its competitors like Life360. Plus, we appreciate that you can buy it once for $25.99, even if that license only works on three devices at once.

See also: The best child safety apps for Android and other ways too

Google Family Link

Price: Free

Google Family - best spy apps for android

Google Family is our first choice for parental control. Your kids get the freedom of using their phones and you get the satisfaction of seeing everything. We recommend Family first because it has so many features and it also integrates directly into the Android OS itself, a feature none of these other apps have. Some of the features include the ability to see all the apps your kids use, see their location, see their usage habits, and you can lock the device if you want them to chill out on the phone for a while. The only downside is the setup process. That one is a bit of a pain, but we have a tutorial on how to do it here if you need it.

Safe Lagoon

Price: Free

Safe Lagoon is kind of a lighter version of Google Family Link, but can do some different stuff. You can view things like apps and games your kids use. Additionally, you can find their location, control time limits in certain apps and games, and lock the phone if need be. However, you can also do things like monitor instant messages, set up locations they can’t go, and do some other neat stuff. The app says it’s for cyberbullying, but you can use it for other stuff as well. It’s relatively simple to set up and it’s a good alternative to Google Family Link.

See also: How to use the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app

Parental control apps from antivirus companies

Price: Free / Varies

Some antivirus suites come with parental controls. Those who use antivirus apps can sometimes just use the parental control extensions for an all-in-one punch. Some examples of antivirus apps with parental control extensions include ESET (linked at the button below) and Norton. These types of apps usually let you do things like check out your child’s web activity, what apps they download and use, share the child’s location, and can even sometimes support wearables. They tend to work okay but usually require you to get a license to use the whole antivirus product first.

Talk to your kids

Sometimes kids just need some advice and nothing compares to the involvement of a parent. Teach your kids about the dangers of the Internet, what to do if they encounter cyberbullying, and where to go and where not to go. One day your kids will be old enough to where you can’t monitor what they do anymore. They need to be prepared for that day. Monitoring is great for younger kids especially, but consider relaxing the monitoring as they get older and you trust them more. Don’t underestimate the value of an involved parent. School can only teach kids so much about the world.

Use apps for other platforms too

Microsoft Family Safety screenshot

There are actually parental control apps that support platforms other than Android. You usually need parental control apps specifically for that platform, but companies are doing better about releasing mobile apps for non-mobile platforms.

Some examples include Microsoft Family Safety and Nintendo Switch’s parental control app. Both apps serve mostly the same function. Microsoft’s solution lets you monitor your child’s Xbox and Windows PC usage and limit various things. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s solution lets you monitor screen time and what games your kids play. There aren’t a ton of these types of apps, but if you can find one, we recommend it for use on other platforms besides Android.

Set up parental controls on Google Play

Google Play Parental Controls Ratings

Google Play has a fairly robust set of parental controls. For starters, you can add a password lock to purchases so your kids can’t go wild with your debit card and buy in-app purchases from the games they play. That’s usually the use case for this kind of thing, but you can go deeper. Once you add your kids to your family account, you can actually restrict access to apps and games as well.

For instance, you can tell Google Play to only show your kids stuff rated T for Teen or lower and the Play Store will automatically filter out stuff with Mature 17+ or Adults only 18+ content. This also ties into Google Family to an extent so we recommend using this information alongside that app for maximum results. We have a whole tutorial on Google Play parental controls here.

Use carrier parental control solutions

T Mobile logo on phone stock photo

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Many mobile carriers such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T have parental control functions. They usually cost a monthly fee and vary in features, but they all do more or less the same thing. You can track the location of your child and see the web searches and apps your kids use. You can also keep track of (or completely deny) third-party charges, block videos and images from text messages, and even give your kids an allowance for buying apps or ringtones.

It would take way too long to list every feature for every carrier, but you can find parental control stuff for the carriers linked below for more information:

Native Android features that may help as well

Android App Pinning 1

Android is fairly customizable and there are a bunch of privacy and security features that come with it. You can set a data limit for your kids by going to Settings, Networks, and finally, Mobile Data. The location may vary based on which phone you have. From there you can see what apps use the most data and set a data limit for your kids so they know when they’ve run out.

Those with younger kids can use the super handy Screen Pinning feature. This feature pins an app or game to your screen and prevents kids from leaving it. I’ve seen parents use this with YouTube Kids so kids can watch videos but can’t access Facebook or other apps on accident.

The method for Screen Pinning may differ slightly on devices, but it should be something close to this:

  1. Open your Settings menu and search for Screen pin.
  2. Enable the feature if it is not already enabled.
  3. Open your Recent apps menu via the soft key or by a gesture.
  4. Tap the icon of the app you want to screen pin.
  5. Tap the Pin app option (wording may be different on different phones)

This pins an app to your screen and disables things like calls, messages, and other functions. To remove the pinned app, do the following:

  1. Hold the back and recent apps (overview) buttons simultaneously to unpin the app and return to the recent apps screen.
  2. On devices with gesture navigation, swipe up and hold there to unpin the app.

Older kids may be able to get around a screen pin, but younger kids (especially toddlers) generally can’t do it on purpose. Still, be vigilant and check to make sure your kids didn’t get out of it somehow.

How to limit web browsing for young eyes

Google Chrome Incognito Mode with background

This is, by far, the most difficult thing to actually do. Most Android phones come with Google Chrome and the mobile version doesn’t have the functionality to deal with this that your kids can’t easily undo with a Google Search. There is a range of safety browsers that you can set as default and that might help, but again, older kids can get around it.

You have two options to solve this problem. One is quite easy and the other is quite difficult. The difficult method involves setting a DNS. Here is a tutorial from OpenDNS to show you how. However, that doesn’t work all the time.

Your better bet is the second option. Use an app like Google Family Link, Microsoft Family Safety, or Safe Lagoon to keep an eye on your child’s web activity and simply confront them if they go somewhere they shouldn’t go. It may even be a valuable teaching opportunity.

If we missed any great parental control apps or other methods, we’d be happy to hear more about it in the comment section. You can also click here to check out all of our Android app and game lists.

What screen time parents love most?

Set a daily limit if you have kids with limited time and energy to use them more than once to prevent over use. Show us how many apps a child uses. Track activity on apps. See how many buttons a toddler can push. Count their distance from them. Get an alert whenever your infant arrives or leaves a certain address. Block certain types of websites and certain URLs. Blocking inappropriate website. Block blocked days such as bedtimes and homework for less distraction. Can’t stop device off at a certain time. The free play feature allows you to change settings temporarily. Get notifications about location change. Geo location alert and real-time monitoring of the locations. Look up your child’s time at school… or in somewhere else.

Best for location tracking

Life360 has provided GPS services in 140 countries in seven worlds. It’s free plan which includes locations tracking, battery monitoring and messaging functionality in app. The driver security plan, starting from $72.92 per month, includes all driver security, roadside assistance, safety equipment and emergency management. In November 2019, Life360 has acquired ZenScreen, a time-management Parenting Control App that works for Android, iOS and Chrome. Life360 offers a 7-day free trial for $9.99 for its Plus plan. You can specify maximum limits for the category of entertainment while the educational and productivity apps remain active.

Best for social media monitoring

Bark’s specialty is social media management that addresses a major concern for parents today. The app also allows users to monitor messages, images uploaded to Twitter and other social media sites. Bark will also tell you when your kid’s trying to sign into another site on another tablet. With Bark, e-mail will show you whether the situation is serious depression or a lot more so a specific lapse in self-esteem. Subscriptions start at $6.99 the corresponding month for a unlimited number of children and gadgets. If you need more control options like time limitation or Internet filters for your PC.

Best for Combining with Antivirus Software

Windows 8 XP, Vista and XP are support only. The app offers a place where you can set house rules which will remind children of what activities are allowed while not allowed on your property. You can check on your son’s activities on this website or elect to receive emails if house rules go wrong. Norton offers three versions of its 360 protection plans: Standard, Deluxe and Premium. All plans include antivirus protection, VPN security, SafeCam (alarms people or blocks them from accessing your cameras from your PC), and 75 GB cloud backup with backup storage. The annual subscription costs $39.99 but if you bought Norton 360 Deluxe.

Fix possible parental control issues

If you’re resetting a password by updating the device information or seeing an wrong rating on the device you’ll use this information to find the solution. If you forgot the corresponding PIN when you configured the parental control you can do it again by using the instruction below. For children with more rating than parental control levels this is unlikely to prevent updating. However you and your baby may continue to see your downloading apps before the parental controls get enabled. If your child’s email is logged out as an administrator of Family then you can block the app that your child uses in their phone. If an app is not updated you must enable parental control settings for that child.

How do parental controls work?

The way parental controls work differs depending on the app & game, music, movies, Parental limits for some content types don’t exist in all parts of the world. You sometimes have access not on your filter if you are searching a particular app or game on a list containing a list of games in the app. For this reason you must look. You can choose the highest rating you want to allow for download and purchase. See the sections below to learn more about how to use the controls for each country and how to set up your own filters for each app or game.

Web filtering

Many apps bundle a proprietary browser which enables services to easily control, monitor and manage their browsing activity. These Apps typically tell you to block all other web browsers or restrict your child from installing other apps. Some utilities use VPN technology to run Internet connections with local applications to provide content filtering. Some apps – such as Net Nanny – permit you to create custom web filtering categories and they most frequently provide specific rules for custom domains. This data can differ dramatically when reporting in web history. Some examples take no trouble tracing SSL encrypted traffic or granting permission to anonymizing proxies.

App monitoring, messaging and time restrictions

More sophisticated parental controls make it impossible for kids to avoid specific apps. Boomerang and Qustodio are the only options we tested allowing us to remotely monitor your calls on / offline. Some services like Norton Family or Locategy allow you to specify when your child can spend hours of time every day with your child’s smartphone and whether it’s possible to share those. You can block all System Apps e.g. Safari, Camera and Siri. Deactivations of the Apple iTunes Store and App Store also ban in-App purchases. Some parental monitoring apps remove app icons entirely from their own home screen.

Which is the best parental control app?

The Net Nanny works with the Kindle Fire tablet, Windows PCs Macs and Chromebooks supported by Google Play. Norton Family provides SMS logging to users – but only on Android. Kaspersky Safe kids is designed for kids only and is compatible with Windows and Mac computers. All these parental controls apps can do more on Android than on iPhone because of strict app restrictions from Apple. Be careful of any Android parental control apps you need to side load. There’s usually a valid reason you can’t download it from the Official Google Play Store. Do not download it for keeping tabs on what kids do online.

How do I monitor my kids’ mobile devices?

Examples of typical surveillance include web content filtering in apps, time management and location tracking. Let’s talk more detailed details about this top feature. Keep in mind that some of the products we highlight are mobile – only solutions. This website provides some great software and tools to protect the privacy of your children. We appreciate the services that offer flexible phone management like those that offer flexibility when it comes to monitoring your child’s phone activity on a Mac or PC. In addition to these features we list the key parental control apps.

What do parents say about screen time?

With Screen Time I can choose for what time and for what purpose any apps I choose be permitted on a computer. One of the things I like about this app is I can create tasks which allow them to get more time when things have been done. It’s simple and helps reduce screen time! I NEVER buy applications but it’s all worth it. I can easily control my sons’ phone AND device. For example we let our daughter choose screens time yesterday based on the values we stayed the norm as families. And last night she relaxedly reached daily limits. No shouting, no reminder – no blame.

Location Reporting

In such scenarios the app is supposed to maintain some current location data as well as an historical location. Some services such as Locategy and Boomerang allow you create geofences around a location. Kaspersky Safe Kids can even make geofences dimensional, so that they can stay in their place while it is still on. Microsoft Family Safety customers of any Microsoft 365 Family membership will able to analyze their teenager’s driving habits with Drive Safety feature and Drive History reports. IOS and Android app apps also enable tracking of kids’ activities.

Reasons to avoid

Kaspersky Safe Kids will monitor the activity of your kids when using computers or Mac computers and on your phone. Its paid tier is not $16 per year and its free plan let you set time limits, filter websites and manage other apps. ‘ Location tracking and location-sensitive software works with iOS and Android as does the software e-readers and monitoring. But iPhone apps are limited. They can’t monitor calls, tweeters or emails. In March this month Kaspersy Lab filed its Antitrust lawsuit with Apple over its use of certain apps. Apple’s stock changed hands once the Moscow authorities demanded a change on August 20 2020.

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