Back in my days the only thing I knew or considered as “technology” was the Television that we had. But now, Now it’s a totally different game for kids of this generation.
As technology progressed and had a boom in availability, many amazing things have been invented or improved.
And kids nowadays have access to pretty much all of them. Whether it’s a smartphone, smart TV or a computer, this generation has everything at their disposal.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Technology can be a great blessing for the kids for both educational and moral compass.
However, without proper guidance from the parents, we simply cannot expect our children to not get “spoiled” by the ugly side of the technology. Especially the internet.
This is where the concept and implementation of a parental control app comes in. Why deny your kid from the blessing of technology when you can guide them?
That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 8 best free parental control apps for Android that will surely serve all your needs. At the end of this post, I’ll also reveal the one I personally use. So, stick together.
What are Parental control apps and what do they do?
Before we dive into the parental control app reviews, let’s go through a little crash course about parental control apps for Android. In this section we will exclusively talk about the nature and capability of a parental control app.
A parental control application (app for short), in its purest and simplest form, is just another application you can install on your kid’s device. That’s it. It’s just another app but with added functionality that has very specific use cases.
These specific functionalities are usually geared towards the safety and digital well-being of your kid’s.
What you get with a parental control app may vary from app to app. However, the most common feature of any parental control app is remote access.
This allows you to control the device of your kid from anywhere you want. It lets you monitor their daily activity on the internet, the apps they use, what they spent their most times on and many other things of that sort.
However, there are some apps that will allow you more advanced control over your kid’s smart device.
For instance, some apps will let you set timers for usage time to limit the user from overusing, others will let you block certain applications and websites altogether.
Real-time GPS location tracking and Geo-Fencing are few of the cool and useful feature parental control app usually provides. Geo-fencing allows you to set a limit to the area your kid can go or take the device with.
8 of the Top Android Parental Control Apps out There
For this review, I’ve considered the following 8 applications based on the use cases and functionality they provide. Let’s dive straight into the review.
N.B. Please keep in mind the following reviews are not in a chronological order. If you want to know my top picks, skip to the Summing up section of this article.
Spyzie Parental Control App: Everything and All
Spyzie is probably one of the top 3 if not the Best Parental Control application that is available now. Don’t get the wrong idea. They certainly had a very tough competition to reach to the top.
One of the main reasons I love this app (And yes! This is my go-to App for monitoring my kid) is the clean UI and easy to use nature of the app.
Don’t get me wrong. There was certainly a learning curve at first. But this one had the flattest learning curve of all the apps in this list.
Features it comes with:
Call and text message tracking: It comes with the built-in functionality of tracking all the calls and text messages the comes in or goes out of the device you are monitoring. Where some other apps may require some sort of plugin or activation system it does not require them.
Screen time restriction: You can set and monitor the amount of usage time via the app. It will let you set a custom timer for how long the screen is allowed to stay awake. In other words, how long can your kid use the device.
Monitor Social Media Profile: Spyzie lets you take full control over the social media profile and activity of your kid. It allows you to monitor what your child sees and posts on his/her social media profile.
Real-time GPS Tracking: This is perhaps one of the most basic features of any parental control app. Like all other apps, Spyzie parental control app lets you know the exact location of the device in real time.
Automatic Blocking of Inappropriate Websites: The reason why I think Spyzie is the best parental control app for android. With a decent list of websites that are inappropriate for underage kids, I no longer have to manually block certain websites. Trust me! You will definitely fall in love with this feature.
Multi OS Platform Support: If you’re thinking that it comes with only Android support, you’re mistaken. Spyzie is supported across multiple OS. Android/IOS/ Windows/ Mac OS are all supported.
Kaspersky Safe Kids: Protect your kid
Next in the line is Safe kids by the pioneer of cybersecurity “Kaspersky”. I honestly don’t think the word “Kaspersky” as a company needs any description. We all know how good they are at their job. And not so surprisingly their parental control is also great.
It comes with all the bells and whistles you’d need in a parental control app. Safe kids pack a bunch of powerful features that will ensure your kid’s safety and security while they are using the device. Without any further ado let’s take a look at all the important features Safe kids provides you with.
Features It Comes With
Real-time Location Tracking: This is a feature that is a must-have for any parental control app. This has kind of become a defacto. And Kaspersky Safe Kids is no exception either.
But they’ve added a twist to the norm to make it more beneficial (very typical of Kaspersky). With Real-time location tracking, they’ve also included a Geo-fencing technology to restrict your kids from leaving a certain range of an area.
I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty useful for me.
Text Message and Call Recording: Safe Kids from Kasperski keeps a record of every call and text messages that were received or sent from the device. It also generates a report based on the frequency you prefer.
Usage Time Control and Custom Device Block: This feature is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to see or set usage time and block certain devices from having any sort of communication with your kid’s device.
Automatic and Custom Websites Blocking: Although this app has the ability of automatic blocking of inappropriate internet material blocking, it also provides you with complete control over the blocking mechanism.
Application Blocking: This is perhaps the most important feature of them all. With this, you can easily monitor and restrict apps that your kid installs from the play store. This feature certainly helps to keep him/her in check.
Multi-OS Support: Kaspersky Safe Kids supports all Windows, Mac OS, Android, and IOS devices as my previous app on the list does.
Norton Family Parental Control: Give your kids the freedom to explore
Norton is also very famous for being the main competitor of Kaspersky. And you can bet they’ve come up with something amazing to compete with Kaspersky when it comes to handing you the control of your kids’ online lives.
This multi-device app provides you with all the tools necessary to keep your children safe while they are using the device. The most amazing feature of Norton Family Parental Control is the location tracking system.
Although I didn’t get the chance to have a thorough comparison with other apps on this regard, the tech community certainly has. And it’s true. Their location tracking is superior to any other parental control app now.
Features it comes with:
GPS Location Tracking: Let’s talk about the most impressive feature of this parental control app. It comes with the best Geo-location tracking system you can think of. They have kinda set a benchmark for parental control when it comes to real-time and accurate GPS location tracking.
Search and Web Supervision: You can now monitor both search and web content that your children perform on the web via the help of built-in Norton browser.
It lets you block both search query and websites from the device. Trust men you’d never know how useful the search supervision until you used it.
Parent Alerts: It’s an alarm system that lets you know if your kid has broken any ground rule. If anything fishy occurs, the app will let you know immediately so that you can prevent your kid from doing inappropriate stuff online.
App Supervision: With this, you can see which apps your kid has installed on the device and set a rule for which ones they can use. Blocking app from being installed is not present yet.
Calls and Text Message Monitoring: Like all other parental control apps, it also features call and SMS supervision. It keeps a record of everything and also generates a neat little report.
Google Family Links for Parents: Stay in the Loop
We all know how impressive Google apps are. Their design, UI, and usefulness need no formal recognition.
With those design philosophies in mind, Google has made their own parental control app. And boy oh boy. Is it fantastic?
As the people at Google themselves are an avid believer of free software and opensource industry, they’ve made the app available to everyone for 0 dimes.
For an app that is completely free (even free of annoying ads), it is beefed up with almost all the premium features you can think of. Trust me! This brings a whole new level of competition to the parental control app, as it is free.
Features it Comes With
View their Activities: We all know the good side of technology. If used properly it can be of great help. Especially, the internet side of things.
However, kids are suited to make which apps or activity is good for them. That’s why Google lets you monitor your kids’ activity and give them suggestions accordingly.
If they are using too much of their time on a certain app, this app will notify you and suggest you an appropriate time frame to manage their app.
App Recommendations: This is perhaps the most unique feature of this app. As the main philosophy of Google is to feed curiosity, this app will show you, teach, and recommend apps on the Family links app. You can then easily install the ones you like from there.
Setting Time Limits: As a medium of digital well-being, Family links allows you to set time limits for certain apps on your kid’s device. It also suggests you different time limits you can set. So, now you can find a good balance between both worlds.
Device Lock: Whether your kid broke a rule or it’s to for the bed or it’s time for playing outside, you can easily lock the phone with remote access.
This not only helps you lock your kid’s device but also brings a whole new slew of use cases.
Location Tracking: With the help of Google map and real-time GPS tracking, you can easily pinpoint the location of your kid’s device. Whether they are out or inside playing, you can always know of their whereabouts.
I’ve tried other free parental control app for the purpose of this review. With full confidence I can say that Google Family links is the best free parental control app for Android.
Sentry Parental control: Monitor and Control
Sentry is another great parental control app for Android. With more than 50k+ downloads and an average rating of 4.4 stars on play store, Sentry is easily among the top 5 best parental control software.
The guys at Sentry have developed a bunch a bunch of proprietary tools for helping parents.
This app is a great way to supervise your kids when it comes to unfiltered usage of smartphones and the internet. They certainly know what they are doing, as they got featured on the FOX10 news.
Their sophisticated algorithm helps you monitor, access and restrict your kids’ device remotely. The most amazing feature of this app is the robust notification system.
Features it comes with
Social media and chatting app supervision: Sentry analyses all sorts of text messages that come to or go out from your child’s device from different sources. Sources such as messenger, WhatsApp, Kiki, Viber etc. are always monitored.
Based on certain rule sets and keywords Sentry flags inappropriate content and notifies the parents (more on this later).
GPS Location tracking: A parental control app wouldn’t be so without a GPS location tracking system. And Sentry is no different. They use APIs (Application Program Interface) to track the location of the device.
App usage: Sentry records the usage time of each app and then send a detailed report to the parent app. The report contains information like usage time, at what hour of the day it was used, and stuff like that on a per-app basis.
This is a great way of knowing whether your child is breaking any rules or abusing the freedom you gave. It also generates a call history report
Robust notification system: This is perhaps the most amazing feature of this parental control app. It tracks almost every activity that your child is performing on the device. Text messages, call history, photos taken and so on.
From these data, they flag content based on a very sophisticated algorithm. And then the flagged content is sent directly to the parents.
It only sends a notification to the parents when a suspicious action has been performed. So, you don’t need to worry about your notification tray getting flooded with notifications at all (unless your kid keeps violating the rules).
Family time parental controls: Safe Kids Happy Parents
Although this is a bit off topic, I must say the UI of the Family time parental controls app is amazing. The developer tried their best to follow the material design guidelines and use material components. Props to them for doing that.
Okay, Back to the main topic. Family time is basically attempting to help the parent control and monitor every aspect of their kids offline and online activity on the fly. And they are certainly doing a great job at doing that.
This app is packed with useful features (some gimmicky ones are also present though). Let’s take a look at all the useful features this app comes with.
Features It Comes With
Co-Parenting: This is a very unique feature of this app that none other comes with. Co-parenting allows you to add as many children as you want on the app dashboard and allows you to authorize others the parenting right. This makes your life a lot easier by dividing responsibilities with others.
I’m not gonna lie. At first, I thought this was a gimmick. But all my suspicions went away at the speed of light after I started using this feature. For this feature alone, I gave them a 5-star rating.
Location Tracking and PickMeUp: This app can tell you the real-time location of your child via GPS tracking technology.
They have repurposed this basic feature into something great. They call it the “PickMeUp”. Basically, with this, your child can send you a notification about their whereabouts and you can pick them up.
SOS and Panic Alert: The built-in SOS and panic alert helps you protect your child from any unwanted situation.
Daily App limit and Time Scheduler: You can set daily usage time for every app with this. After the limit is up your child can no longer use that app. This most useful for limiting the amount of time your kid spends playing video games. You can also schedule daily screen time. This will allow you to restrict your kid from using the device all night.
Other cool features: There are some additional features that are not unique to this app. They are –
- Safe search and internet filer.
- App Blocker,
- Phone usage, and
- SMS tracker.
- Contact and Call history tracker.
SecureTeen Parental Control : Screen time manager
SecureTeen is one of the most downloaded parental control apps available on the play store with a whopping 1M+ downloads. This app is more geared towards teenagers rather than children. The main goal of this app is to protect your child/teenager from mature internet content.
Keeping this goal in mind, they have also made all other basic parental control features available to the app.
This app aims to minimize phone screen time of your child so that he/she can engage in social and other healthier activities more.
Let’s have a look at all important feature this free parental control app comes with.
Features it comes with
SecureTeen Web Control: While other apps send you a report of your child’s internet activity ever once in a while, this app keeps on eye on their internet activity 24X7.
This also keeps a tab open with all the download and watch history. With this, you can easily ensure your child has supervised internet access.
App Scheduler and App Blocker: You can schedule very specific times and usages limits for each app on your child’s device. If you feel like some particular app is being abused too much by your child, you can block that app altogether. It gives you control over every aspect of the device (we all know how teenagers are).
Contacts Importer, Call History and SMS Tracker: Every contact that is present on your child’s device gets uploaded straight to your main account. You can then check and verify if they are trying to trick you in any way.
Also, this app comes with call and SMS Tracker (very typical of an app of this kind).
Remote access: This is by far the best feature of this app. This gives you complete control over the device. You can do everything that are mentioned above and then some remotely with the help of an online control panel.
The control panel is dynamic and customized for each user differently based on their usage and other details.
Other Typical Features: Other additional features include –
- Facebook activity tracker
- Location tracker
- Web and download history log
Kids Place – Parental Control
Last but not least we’ll have a deeper look at Kids place parental control app. This app was specifically designed for monitoring the daily activity of your child. With more than 1m+ download it is safe to say this app is trusted by many.
The kids mode feature gives the parents a bunch of configurable options for ensuring their children’s safety.
From app lock, screen time control, ad blocker to blocking inappropriate/ mature content almost everything is there. Rest assured that your kid will have a safe and healthy internet experience with this app.
Why block your kid from enjoying the blessing of technology while you can control all unwanted variables, right?
Features it comes with
Limit app usage time and block certain apps: with the borderline feature enabled, you can either block certain apps altogether or limit app usages time (those addicting video games) or do both simultaneously.
Google Play purchase blocking: Does your kid accidentally purchase paid apps or other forms of paid stuff from Google play store? Trust me! You are absolutely not alone. Well, with Kids place, you can now enable Google play purchase blocking feature to stop unintentional purchases.
A smart solution for smart kids: Do you think your kids are even smarter than you and they might find a way to bypass all settings and uninstall the app? Well, sure they are! They are the kids of this generation. They are supposed to be smarter than you and me (evolution, duh..?).
Kids place has made sure that your kids can’t outsmart you. Children can neither delete the app nor change your settings as these actions a secure pin that only you know.
- Internet blocking.
- WiFi blocking.
- 24X7 customer support.
- Calls and SMS history.
Read this Section Before you choose
The apps mentioned above are all decent enough for any type of user. You will do fine if you pick any of them (that’s a very safe bet to place in my opinion).
However, if you wish to choose one on your own, or you just didn’t like any of my favorite picks, you can do that as well. Just make sure the one you choose has the following features (I’m not even joking. The following features are a must have for any parental control app).
- Remote access.
- Internet and web content filter.
- Location tracker.
- App blocking ability.
- And last but not least Call and SMS history logger.
Lets End it Here
A fairly recent study shows kids spent about six and a half hours daily with their phone. That is interesting and nerve-racking at the same time. Without our supervision, things can go south pretty easily. Especially considering how easy it is to get access to the internet these days. That’s why a parental control app is a must-have for us parents.
As promised, now I’ll reveal the one that I believe is the best parental control app for Android.
Winner and the one I use daily: Spyzie Parental Control App
2nd place: Kaspersky Safe kids
Honorable mention: Google family link.
There you go. That’s all for now folks. So, what are your thoughts on this post? Did you find the information useful? Do you have any suggestion or feedback? As always feel free to let them known in the comment section below.
Stay safe and wear seatbelts.