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Last Updated: Apr 2024

Best Parental Control Apps for 2024
Give your children a safe online experience

The internet isn't always safe. The right parental controls will ensure that your kids are protected from cyber-bullying, online predators, and dangerous websites.

Top Parental Control Apps:
Our Best Value
Aura
Aura
excellent
9.5
Free 14-day trial
Get Started
bark
bark
excellent
9.2
Save up to 42% on annual plans
Get Started
Qustodio
Qustodio
very good
8.8
4 Million families protected
Get Started
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We find the 10 best options, so you can make informed decisions on tons of products and services.

Parental Control

What is parental control?

Parental control software is software that is designed to protect minors from age-inappropriate content. Examples of types of website content that parental control software typically has the ability to block include pornography, websites containing violece, and websites promoting the sale of alcoholic beverages.

What does parental control software do?

Parental control software typically contains a number of functionalities.

  • At its most basic level, parental control products contain tools to block inappropriate website content. Typically this is category based. But most products also contain the ability to configure whitelists and blacklists. Whitelists are lists of websites that the administrator (parent) has deemed to be okay—a whitelisted website will not be blocked even if it is classified as belonging to a blocked category. Conversely, a blacklisted website will not be allowed to display even when the category is not blocked.

Additionally, most parental control tools contain functions to control or limit the amount of time children spend at the computer:

  • These functions commonly allow the administrator to restrict access to the internet to certain hours per day. For instance, a parent could set up the control settings so that the internet, or certain programs, will be prevented from running after 10pm—when children should be preparing for bed rather than sitting at the PC.

  • Many programs also allow users to set an upper limit on the number of hours per day during which the internet, certain programs, or the computer itself can be accessed. If the daily hour limit is exceeded the child will be prevented from being able to access the website in question.

What other features should I look out for?

  • App blocking: This allows the parent the ability to entirely block specific programs, irrespective of the time or day or usage volume.

  • Invisible installation: Many parental control tools can install themselves completely invisibly on the system. This can make it difficult for even tech-savvy teenagers to devise ways to remove the program and circumvent the filtering.

Our Top 3 Picks

  • 1
    Aura

    Aura

    • FeaturesFull-featured protection
    • Support24/7
    • Guarantee60 days money-back

    Aura offers a suite of user-friendly cybersecurity tools, along with powerful parental control features that let you control every aspect of your child’s digital activity. It’s also an affordable option, and it continues to grow and release new updates regularly. 

    What’s more, Aura is very easy to use, and parental controls enable you to carefully manage your child’s digital activity. There’s also a 14-day free trial and a 60-day money-back guarantee, and we’d suggest taking advantage of these by giving Aura a try. 

    Pros
    • A full cybersecurity package
    • Super easy to use
    • Dark Web monitoring included
    Cons
    • Full virus scans are time-consuming
    • Not all features are useful for everyone
  • 2
    bark

    bark

    • FeaturesMonitors texts, emails, and 30+ social media platforms
    • SupportOnline help center, live chat
    • GuaranteeNo

    bark is the optimal choice of a parental control app for parents that want a tool that will do more than simply make nice marketing claims. bark is a product that has been extensively tested and trusted by parents and schools to protect over 5.9 million kids—and it has an outstanding track record for alerting parents to potential acts of self-harm, online predation, and more. 

    Pros
    • Proven real world ability
    • Works on both Apple and Android
    • Monitors more than 30 apps
    Cons
    • Not for the desktop
    • No free tier
Editorial ReviewsRead all reviews
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Highlights, pros & cons
Aura
Aura
Aura
Read Review
bark
bark
bark
Read Review
Qustodio
Qustodio
Qustodio
Read Review
Read all reviews