Every parent laments the inordinate amounts of time their kids spend in front of their screens. From scrolling through social media posts and pictures, to sharing YouTube and TikTok videos, to seemingly endless threads of chat, text and email messages, it can feel like there’s a never-ending flurry of online activity.
Given the swaths of apps and digital content easily accessed by your children, what, if anything, can parents do to monitor their kids’ online activity? How effective are remote monitoring software programs and apps at keeping them safe? And are they easy to use?
Thankfully, technological advancements let parents better observe and keep tabs on their children’s online activity and help protect kids, too, even when parents can’t hover over their children’s shoulders as they text away.
At CoastConnect, safety and security are our top priority, whether we’re in the field installing and maintaining our advanced fiber technology or when we’re working online.
Below we explore four of the most popular and well-reviewed apps and software programs that can help you monitor and better control your kids’ online activity, whether they’re on their phones, laptops or tablets.
Part of the Norton line of outstanding digital security products, Norton Family offers a wide variety of features and options for monitoring and controlling your child’s online activity. Norton Family’s web content filter is noteworthy for its strong security (which parents can adjust and customize) and for a setting that enables your kid to request access from you to a blocked site or app in real time, making it more engaging as well as protective. We’re also impressed with the quality of its time-tracking and supervision feature, which can help you enforce homework time. Norton Family does not work on Macs, however.
Bark is one of the most popular and overall highest-rated parental online monitoring apps. Adept at monitoring social media content instead of simply blocking it, Bark helps hone responsible online use through its powerful algorithm, which detects concerning or questionable content. One of the more expensive options on this list, Bark’s unique features and advanced technology may provide additional peace of mind.
Customizable and loaded with features from strong app-blocking to displaying in-depth search term and browsing history information, Qustodio is consistently ranked one of the best overall parental online monitoring programs. Its sleek dashboard provides detailed overviews on your child’s online history and habits. Qustodio’s family tracker feature lets you keep tabs on your kids’ current locations, and even shows you where they were earlier in the day.
FamilyTime earned a place on this list because it is an especially solid option for iOS products (e.g., iPad, iPhone), which can be more persnickety about monitoring apps and software. It offers more features on iOS than most other similar apps, although per Apple’s rules, text messages cannot be monitored. FamilyTime also provides excellent GPS tracking to keep tabs on your kids’ location.
Your neighbors at CoastConnect take pride in helping to keep our community better connected and safer for children and families — and we hope we can help make parenting in today’s online interconnected world just a bit easier, too!
For more helpful tips on navigating the web more securely and keeping your family safe online, follow CoastConnect’s social pages.