It is 2016 and technology has advanced at a pace that not many had expected. In the world that we live in today, nothing is too far-fetched. Almost everything you want to see or find can be reached with a few clicks or touches, all thanks to the Internet. While it has made life a lot easier and considerably changed the way we do things now, it also has its downfalls.
With so much of apps and content, things can really go out of hands. As an adult, you may have some self-restraint, but the same cannot be said for your young ones. A few years back parental control on internet browsing was a major concern and it still is. But now along with internet browsing, cell phone addiction due to games and social apps has also become a major problem.
Parents have a hard time keeping their young ones off their phones and more often than not they can’t find a proper way to protect their kids from these emerging threats. So today for all those concerned parents we have compiled a conclusive list of some of the best parental control apps available on the market that will help you keep an eye on your kid and also direct their energy towards something more resourceful.
1. Kids Place
Kids place is an app that acts as a launcher and an app lock. It is a very handy app that has to be installed only on your child’s phone. You can use this app to protect sensitive data and restrict app use to only those that have been pre-approved by you. It can also be used to prevent kids from downloading new apps, making calls, sending texts or making purchases on the market.
Other useful features include- custom home screen, a timer to prevent excess usage, blocking incoming calls, auto app restart etc. This app can be used for small children or teenagers depending on the level of control you want to establish.
2. Screen Time
The name should give you an insight into what this app is all about. Screen time is an app that lets you monitor and control your kid’s activity on their phone. To use this app you have to install it on both your own and your child’s phone. The setup process is fairly simple, it begins with you selecting whether the device in use is your child’s phone or your own. We recommend you to first install this app on your own phone and then just follow the simple on-screen instructions.
You can keep an eye on your child no matter where they are, you can see their browsing statistics, usage statistics, time spent on each app etc. You can limit the usage of any app and restrict access to various websites, plus set timings like bed time, school time etc. to limit or completely prevent usage of any apps. Reward your kids with extra usage time when they are on their best behavior or restrict usage when they are acting like brats, all through your own phone; it’s that simple.
3. Secure Teen
Secure Teen is basically like every other parental control app in the market and needs to be installed on your child’s phone. It allows you to restrict usage of apps, set device rules, monitor usage etc. What sets it apart is that you can keep a 24×7 check on your child from anywhere using your Secure Teen account. You can discreetly monitor app usage statistics, browsing history, Facebook activity, Instagram activity, track your child’s location and many other things.
You can manage Secure Teen anytime by logging into your online dashboard at http://www.secureteen.com/login. This app may be considered a little invasive, so if you do intend on using it we recommend you to use this in a healthy manner especially with teens. There is a fine line between being protective and invasive, be careful which side you tread on.
4. Kids Zone
Kids Zone is a parental control app that ensures that your kids use their cell phone within a safe environment designed by you. This app creates a child-friendly UI wherein your child can access only those apps that have been approved by you. Other things you can do on this app are – block phone calls or texts, restrict internet access, prevent installation of apps or in-app purchases, block ad clicks, prevent access to settings and personal data etc.
Basically, you are putting your child in a playground that you have designed, you decide how long your child plays and what they play with. The only downside is that the free version of this app supports only up to 8 apps per profile so your child’s playground might end up a little too small.
5. Kids Place – Parental Control
Kids Place – Parental Control works like a Kids Launcher that prevents your child from exploring anything other than what you have allowed them to. The UI of this app is a little different than most others. You can sort apps into four heads- Games, Growth, Education and Other.
Restricting usage, preventing access to undesirable content, setting up time limits and tracking location are just a few of the many things you can do on this app. Downloading apps, changing settings, making in-app purchases etc. can also be blocked easily. It’s a decent app to monitor as well as to control activity.
6. F-Secure Mobile Security
F-Secure Mobile Security is traditionally a multi-purpose protection app. It provides browsing and banking protection and also works as an antivirus, anti-theft, call blocking and parental control app. Focusing on the parental control features this app offers, it allows you to restrict the use of apps, protect sensitive data, control browsing etc.
This app is perfect for you if you don’t want to install a separate app just for parental control purposes, plus the name itself won’t give anything away so you can very discreetly keep an eye on your kids.
Apart from all the above-mentioned apps, if you are a Nexus user you have one additional option. On any Nexus device running Android 4.3 or higher you can activate a restricted profile. You can use this profile to prevent kids from viewing any mature content on your phone. It’s easy to set up and manage and it can all be done without any downloads. You can do it from your phone’s settings directly.
As you can see from the above list, most of these apps offer similar features like restricting apps, protecting sensitive data, browsing control, usage monitoring etc. and these are exactly what you would want in a parental control app. Almost all of these apps require a PIN to be set up in the beginning which can later be used to manage settings, exit the app or even uninstall the app in some cases. Some of these apps will require administrator privileges to prevent your children from uninstalling or turning off the app. Install one of these apps to control your child’s smartphone usage, you may seem like a controlling parent to some but remember, this is far better than having to send your child to Candy Crush Rehab.