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Keep Children Safe Online With Parental Controls Apps

Last Updated on May 22, 2023

There are many parental controls apps on the market, and parental controls space is changing all the time.

Parental controls is a game of Whack-a-Mole:

  • New devices (like Internet of Things) invade our homes and present new threats to our kids
  • New services (any new gaming, video, and social media apps) are developed and parental controls need to catch up
  • New features are introduced by the existing platforms that are not covered by previous parental controls
  • Big tech companies are modifying their platforms, causing software bugs and problems with third-party parental control settings
  • Kids keep discovering new loopholes!

That’s why it is so hard – if not impossible – to claim which parental control app is “the best”. They might be doing great today, but broken by the changes in the tech landscape tomorrow. Or the other way around – they might be performing poorly, but get fixed, upgraded, and become stellar. The best strategy when making a choice is probably to read MOST RECENT reviews from the actual customers – they will reflect the current situation.

TIP: If you see hundreds of 1-star reviews from teenagers starting with words “I hate my parents”, the app definitely works!

We have studied the reviews from actual users: parents who downloaded and used these apps, and confirmed that they do what parents expect them to do: limit screen time, filter content, and develop good digital habits.  

Since Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft all have their own integrated parental controls systems, they can – and often do – limit the functionality of third-party parental controls apps. Which means that the developers of these apps have to work extra hard to stay in business. The advantage of using screen time apps is that they aim to cover all platforms and devices – whereas built-in screen time settings are limited to one platform. 


  • This app has a combination of 1-star reviews from outraged teens and 5-star reviews from triumphant parents, a great testimony to its effectiveness!
  • I use this app to monitor my children’s online activity: it warns me of any issues, so I don’t have to perform spot-checks on my kids’ devices
  • Cost:
    • Bark Jr (younger kids) $5 per month or $49 annually
    • Bark (comprehensive) $14 per month or $99 annually
  • Platforms: iOS, Android
  • Monitors: phones, computers, tablets and other Internet-enabled devices
  • Proactively monitors text messages, YouTube, emails, and 30+ different social networks for potential safety concerns
  • Get alerts for issues like cyberbullying, online predators, suicidal ideation, violence, weapons 
  • Set screen time limits and create schedules
  • Filter content, decide which websites kids can visit
  • Track location of kid’s device

Get a 7-Day Free Trial + 20% Off Bark Membership* with discount code TECHDETOX20

*Discount applies for the life of your account as long as it remains active

Gryphon Homebound

  • What is unique about Gryphon Homebound is that it’s an extension of the Gryphon WiFi System. Superior parental controls of Gryphon WiFi Router can follow your kid’s phone everywhere – even when using cellular data or public WiFi.
  • Pricing: $49.00 per year for up to 5 mobile devices
  • With Homebound App installed on your child’s smartphone, you can now manage them as if they never left the house.
  • Homebound automatically and securely routes all traffic from the phone back through Gryphon Mesh Router for filtering.
  • For our readers we negotiated an exclusive promo code TECHDETOX for 15% off Gryphon Guardian Advanced Parental Controls router.


  • EyeZy is a “spy” app, undetectable on a child’s device, that allows you to monitor all their activity from your browser
  • Platforms: iOS, Android – marketed as phone monitoring software
  • Monitor social media, chats, texts, pictures, videos, emails, browser history
  • Get notified if dangerous content is detected
  • Cost:
    • 1 month – $47.99 
    • 3 months – $23.99
    • 12 months – $9.99 per month
  • Depending on how worried you are about your child’s online activity, a spy app is an option to keep kids safe without their knowledge
  • 40% off with promo code TECHDETOX40 


  • Platforms: iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android (chromebooks), Microsoft (Windows), Amazon (kindle)
  • Cost:
    • $54.95 a year (5 devices)
    • $96.95 a year (10 devices)
    • $137.95 a year (15 devices)
  • Block inappropriate apps, games and websites
  • Monitor your child’s digital activity 
  • Set screen time limits
  • Track location
  • Read child’s text messages (Android & iOS), block contacts 
  • A multiparent option allows both parents to control the account
  • The Care Plus program gives personal assistance to parents by phone 

20% off with code TECHDETOX*, limited time – up to 50% off

*Includes premium membership assistance by phone to set up all devices


Family Time

  • Platforms: iOS , Android, Amazon
  • Cost:
    • $27-$69 annually depending on the plan
    • 3-day free trial
  • Covers 1-5 devices depending on the plan
  • Blacklist apps across devices
  • Limit screen time, set schedule for app usage
  • Add suspicious contacts to watchlist
  • Filter Internet content, block unwanted websites, restrict negative searches on Google, Bing, or YouTube
  • Lock Phones Remotely
  • SOS (panic button) to alert parents in emergency situations
  • Get speeding alerts when your teen is driving
  • Track location, create virtual geo-fences and be informed when kids cross them
  • Remotely monitor text messages
  • Track Web browsing history and app usage
  • 40% discount with code TECHDETOX40
Net Nanny
  • Platforms: Windows, iOS, Android, Amazon
  • Cost:
    • $39.99/Year (1 device)
    • $54.99/Year (5 devices)
    • $89.99/Year (20 devices)
  •  Filter out harmful content
  • Set screen time limits
  • Monitor web and app activity
  • Get Real-time Alerts on Porn, Suicide, Weapons and Drug-related Content
  • Block apps and websites


  • Cost:
    • $3.99 per month (5 devices)
    • $4.99 per month (10 devices)
    • $9.99 per month (20 devices)
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS
  • Supervise videos and set age-appropriate filters for YouTube
  • Set daily screen time limits and schedules
  • Instantly lock all family devices
  • Filter content by age and by category
  • Enforce safe internet search
  • Allow or block websites, restrict keywords
  • Block individual apps, prevent the child from installing new apps
  • Track browsing history
  • Track location in real time

Get a 7-Day Free Trial


  • Cost:
    • Basic $39.99 annual, $3.99 monthly, $79.99 lifetime
    • Premium $59.99 annual, $5.99 monthly, $99.99 lifetime
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows (does not block content).
  • Control iOS devices from Android devices, and vice-versa. Can be managed from a PC as well. 
  • Disable apps individually 
  • Set daily screen time limits and schedules 
  • Track location
  • Differentiate between parent and child modes
  • Filter inappropriate content
  • Block internet access  

ScreenTime Labs

  • Cost:
    • Free version for basic monitoring
    • $6.99 per month to use all features
  • Platforms: Apple, Android and Amazon, some features are Android only
  • Set time limits and schedules
  • Reward kids with screen time for completed tasks
  • Instantly pause kids’ devices
  • Block or restrict specific apps and websites
  • Filter inappropriate content
  • Track location
  • View activity reports

Kaspersky Safe Kids

  • Cost: affordable $14.99 per year
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, PC, Mac. Some features are limited in iOS due to Apple’s restrictions.
  • Set screen time limits and schedules by device
  • Filter inappropriate content
  • Manage access to apps
  • Enforce safe search, including YouTube
  • Manage apps by time, age restrictions or category
  • Track location
  • Track Facebook activity and YouTube search history


  • Cost:
    • Free basic version (usage monitoring only) 
    • Premium $5/month (annual subscription) 
    • $6.99/month (monthly subscription)  
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, tablets, laptops, Smart TVs
  • Set daily screen time limits and schedules
  • Block individual apps
  • Remotely pause the internet 
  • Reward your kids with more screen time for doing chores
  • Reward your kids with more screen time for being physically active
  • Filter inappropriate content 
  • Assign multiple devices per kid & designate shared family devices
  • Activity reports
  • Control devices anywhere with VPN technology, regardless of WiFi or data they use

Whichever software you end up choosing, we recommend to supplement it by layering several parental controls solutions to achieve optimal results and prevent things slipping through the cracks:

Parental controls layers
Take Back Control
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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. ...

    I feel that the best way to restrict online activity is to separate kids from screens.

  2. Nicole H

    Thank you for this complication of apps & services.
    Parents are already busy enough and still need to figure out the “counter-intelligence moves” pulled out by kids.
    I have Kaspersky safe kids, and used to subscribe to “Freedom” and “blocksite” but my kids figured out a way to circumvent all these on their laptops.
    I will definitely try out the different services and methods this article had laid out.
    I also agree that the ultimate way for parental control is to take back the device(s) physically, whenever it’s possible ….

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