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10 Best Phones Monitoring Apps Parents Can't-Miss
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How We Tested Cell Phone Monitoring Software
Financial Resources for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. For starters, find out whether your family qualifies for your state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families TANF program, which may include cash assistance, food stamps and free or low-cost daycare. Or, if your household income is too high to qualify as a family, ask about the "child-only grant" for just the grandchild's support alone.
In the Apps window you can limit what kind of software your child will have access to, as well as controls like whether or not they can turn on the camera, join multiplayer games through Game Center, or are limited to a select number of contacts through the Mail app. Pretty standard web surfing restrictions here, nothing of note to mention beyond what you should expect in similar parental control applications.
The Stores tab can disable access to iTunes, iTunes U, and the iBooks Store, and will also restrict the types of games, apps, and movies that your child can get access to through the iTunes store. Time works in the same way as other time restricters on this list do, allowing you the ability to strictly control exactly how long your child is allowed to use the Mac, and what time of day it automatically shuts off.
The Privacy tab is interesting in that it lets you control what kind of data is gathered on your child by third-party apps, and lets you better control what type of information their favorite applications and games are gathering on them while they browse and play. Next, once you have the kids added to your iCloud account, open up the Settings app and scroll down to Screen Time :. To create a Downtime block, start by tapping on the Downtime option from the main Family Sharing screen:.
Next is Allowed Apps , which generally controls which official Apple apps your child is allowed to use. Google manages its parental control systems through an app known as Family Safe , and although we would normally recommend going the official route in these cases, thousands of user reviews say otherwise. According to the reviews posted on the Google Play page, the app will often let kids go well beyond the limits that the app places on their downtime, and struggles to keep them from downloading other apps that can simply get around the Family Safe limitations.
This is why we recommend choosing one of the parental control suites mentioned above. Why should I pay for extra for anything else? The main problem that many parents face with that approach is that for every platform your child uses, a new set of rules and regulations need to be set up and enforced. Parental control software can be a lot of things for a family.
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Parental control software works simultaneously across all devices at once, and centralizes the activity of all your kids into one easy-to-manage dashboard. No in-OS parental control settings will offer that.
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- These parental control apps will help keep your kids' device habits in check!
For example, while some suites may have all the bells and whistles with a price point to match , you may not need so many different options and could even end up just as satisfied with a lower cost option instead. This setting can encompass everything from simply monitoring their activity to directly blocking websites or categories of websites from being displayed in the first place. It should be a primary concern for anyone who signs up for a new account with one of the services listed below. Some will even cut access to the internet entirely depending on the device, disabling all activity past a certain time.
This can save you money while also helping you keep a close eye on your child when they leave the house. Of all the software we tested, this feature appears to only be available on Android due to the way that iOS handles app permissions on its own platform aside from uKnowKids, more on that later. That said, if any of your kids do use an Android device, having the option to control which contacts they can talk to — as well as read the record of those discussions with certain parental control suites — can give parents the peace of mind they need.
But what is it about some parental control software options that make them more viable than others? Unfortunately, this app doesn't do a whole lot else on iOS devices.
And it has baffling upcharges for location tracking and web filters, both of which come standard with other parental-control apps. You get both features in the day premium trial. We liked how this service doles out additional screen time for chores or good deeds. But you can't block apps on iOS, and there's no call or text monitoring at all, although geofencing and location history were recently added. Read our full Screen Time review.
12222’s Top 10 Apps to Monitor Child’s Phone
ESET Parental Control for Android sticks to one platform, but it doesn't shine even there, lacking text-message- and call-monitoring features. The free app management and time management do work well, as do the paid location tracking and geofencing. MMGuardian has nearly every parental-control feature you might want, especially on Android, but the user interfaces are outdated and frustrating.
Both the iOS and Android smartphone apps offer location tracking and excellent web filtering, and have recently added an artificial-intelligence component to spot nudity in saved images. App management is strong on Android but primitive on iOS.
On Android, the parent can read every text and block any number. Time management and screen-time scheduling are also Android-only.
How We Tested Cell Phone Monitoring Software
Read our full MMGuardian review. Evaluation Criteria We focused on apps that emphasize proactively setting up filters and limits before your child uses the phone rather than merely tracking activities after the fact. We took the following criteria into account:. We tested each app on every platform it supported twice, from installation to testing to uninstall. We typically monitored activity from the MacBook Pro, but if apps offered control from a smartphone app, we tested those features as well.
Calls and texts for monitoring purposes were made from a secondary Android device. Android parental-control apps remain more robust than their iOS counterparts in most cases, especially with regard to call and text monitoring. But new additions to iOS have closed the gap somewhat. We will note areas in which there are discrepancies in the functionality offered on each platform, but we are not providing distinct ratings and reviews for the iOS versus the Android version of each app.
Parental-control apps for mobile devices work best when they're part of a comprehensive approach to teaching your kids about behaving responsibly online. For that reason, we avoided testing apps that can run in stealth mode on a child's phone.
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