Short on time? Here’s the best parental control app for Android:
- 🥇 Qustodio. Comes with outstanding web and app filtering features to block potentially concerning websites and Android apps, helps you easily manage how much time your child is spending on their device, and allows you to view your child’s location in real-time. It also includes extra features like YouTube monitoring, a panic button, and uninstall protection. Qustodio provides a great free plan, offers affordable paid plans, and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
I tested as many parental control apps as I could find in order to determine the best parental control apps for Android in 2023. But it wasn’t easy. Not all Android parental control apps are good — most are missing important features, are too complicated to use, or are easy to disable or bypass altogether.
All of the parental control apps I’ve listed here have industry-standard parental control features to monitor and limit what your child is exposed to online, have easy-to-use apps to help you keep up with how your children are using their Android devices, and offer affordable plans for families of all sizes.
Quick summary of the best parental control apps for Android:
- 1.🥇 Qustodio — Best overall parental control app for Android in 2023.
- 2.🥈 Net Nanny — Best for filtering apps and websites on Android.
- 3.🥉 Norton Family — Best for families with lots of Android devices to monitor.
- 4. Bark — Best for older children you trust (with excellent social media monitoring).
- 5. FamiSafe — Best for parents of teens who drive (with good location tracking).
- Comparison of the Best Parental Control Apps for Android in 2023.
🥇 1. Qustodio — Best Parental Control App for Android in 2023
Qustodio is the best parental control app for Android in 2023 — it has powerful monitoring features to keep track of how your child is using their Android device, incredibly easy-to-use Android apps for both kids and parents, and reasonably priced plans for families of all sizes.
Qustodio has all the parental control features you’ll need to ensure your child is safe online (and offline), including:
- Web & app filtering — choose which websites and apps your child can access.
- Screen time management — limit the amount of time your child is allowed to use their device each day.
- YouTube monitoring — view YouTube search and watch history.
- Location tracking — find out where your child is and where they’ve been.
- Call and SMS monitoring — monitor your child’s text messages and call history.
- Panic button — allows your child to send a distress signal to approved contacts.
- Activity reports — view what your child has been doing on their device, including search history, app usage, screen time, and more.
- And more…
Qustodio has outstanding content filtering — its app filter can block all Android apps, and its web filter works on all popular web browsers and is able to block any unsupported browsers so you can make sure the filtering always works. The web filtering is able to detect and block websites related to 25+ categories of content like porn, gambling, profanity, and more, and it also gives you the option to always allow or block any website you want.
I also like how flexible Qustodio’s screen time management feature is — it not only lets you set limits on how much time your child is allowed to use their Android device, but it also allows you to set limits on specific apps. For instance, you can set a total time limit of 8 hours per day — and at the same time also set a time limit for an app like YouTube so your kids aren’t using all of their daily screen time watching videos.
I’m also a huge fan of Qustodio’s location tracking. In addition to viewing your child’s location in real-time, you can also see where they’ve been. Plus, you can define geofence areas up to 0.12 miles or 200 meters in size and get alerted any time your child enters or leaves that area. That said, it would be nice to see Qustodio increase the range of its geofencing (Norton Family lets you create geofencing areas up to 2 miles or 3,200 meters) and increase the frequency of location updates (Net Nanny gives you location updates every 2-3 minutes).
Qustodio has incredibly easy-to-use Android apps for parents and children — its app for parents has an intuitive interface that makes it easy to manage all of your parental control features and view activity reports. Its app for children is also incredibly easy to use and allows your child to quickly send a distress signal to approved contacts via text and email by tapping the SOS button on the app.
Qustodio has a good but limited free plan and 3 premium annual plans starting at US$ 54,95 / anno. Its free plan only includes web filtering and screen time management for a single device, but its paid plans include all features and allow you to monitor 5-15 devices. All plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Qustodio is the best parental control app for Android in 2023. It has excellent web & app filtering, screen time limits, location tracking, YouTube monitoring, in-depth activity reports, and more. Qustodio has a pretty good but limited free plan, and it also offers 3 annual plans that allow 5-15 simultaneous connections. Qustodio backs all of its paid plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
🥈 2. Net Nanny — Best For Filtering Apps & Websites on Android
Net Nanny has one of the best website & app filters on the market — it automatically monitors websites your child visits for 10+ categories of potentially concerning content and even allows you to create your own categories and list any number of keywords to monitor for. Net Nanny can detect and block any app on Android, including the phone and camera apps.
Net Nanny is able to monitor websites your child visits with real-time text analysis and can determine the difference between a word like “breast” being used in a medical context or a more mature context. It also includes a feature that can censor profanity on any pages your child visits.
I like Net Nanny’s screen time management, but it could be better — Net Nanny lets you set strict limits on the amount of time your child is allowed to use their device, but it can’t set time limits on specific apps like games or YouTube (Qustodio can do this). When your child reaches the screen time limit, you can either disable the internet or pause the device. Choosing to pause the device will block all apps except the phone and messaging apps so your child can still contact you.
Net Nanny’s YouTube monitoring is also good, but it can’t monitor the YouTube app. It’s able to monitor your child’s search and watch history on YouTube, but only when they’re using a browser. While it would be easy enough to block the YouTube app and force your child to use it in a browser, Qustodio is able to monitor all YouTube activity whether your child is using a browser or the YouTube app.
You can choose from two Family Protection Pass plans that allow you to monitor 5 or 20 devices simultaneously, depending on the plan you opt for. Net Nanny only offers annual plans, which start at US$ 39,99 / anno, and all plans include a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Net Nanny has an incredibly flexible web & app filter that scans websites your child visits in real-time and is able to block all Android apps. It also has screen time management and YouTube monitoring features, but they’re not quite as functional as the same features offered by Qustodio. Net Nanny has 3 annual plans and offers a 14-day money-back guarantee.
🥉 3. Norton Family — Best for Families With Lots of Android Devices
Norton Family allows you to monitor an unlimited number of devices, so it’s great if you have a large family and all your kids have Android devices. Qustodio and Net Nanny can only monitor 15 or 20 devices, respectively, so I really like that Norton Family doesn’t put a limit on the number of devices you can monitor.
Norton Family is able to block all Android apps, and its web filter lets you block websites based on 45+ site categories. Both the app and web filters worked perfectly in all my tests, and I especially like how you can change the web filtering rules as you please.
I also really like how functional Norton Family’s location tracking feature is — it allows you to view your child’s location in real-time, choose a specific time to receive an alert about your child’s location, request a check-in, or set geofencing zones that cover up to 2 miles or 3,200 meters and be alerted when your child enters or leaves the zone.
Norton Family lets you set strict total screen time limits, but it doesn’t let you set time limits on specific Android apps. It does, however, include a feature that allows your child to request more screen time directly from the Android app. This is something that Qustodio and Net Nanny don’t offer.
Another drawback of Norton Family is that it can only monitor your child’s searches and watched videos in the Norton Family browser on Android devices. You can block other browsers and apps like YouTube to ensure you’re able to monitor your child’s activity, but it would be really nice to see Norton Family expand its monitoring capabilities to the browsers and apps most children use on their Android devices.
Norton Family has a really affordable plan that’s just US$ 49,99 / anno and you can even get it for free with Norton’s 360 Deluxe internet security package — this is the best antivirus in 2023, and it also comes with a virtual private network (VPN), a password manager, dark web monitoring, and lots more, for just US$ 49,99 / anno. All of Norton’s paid plans come with a 60-day money-back guarantee, which gives you plenty of time to decide if this parental control app is best for your family.
Norton Family allows you to monitor an unlimited number of devices, making it great for large families. It also has a great app and web filtering, provides excellent location tracking, and allows you to set total screen time limits. It can monitor your child’s YouTube search history and the videos they watch, but only in the Norton Family browser, which is somewhat inconvenient. Norton Family is available as a standalone purchase or as part of Norton 360 Deluxe. All plans include a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.
4. Bark — Great for Older Children With More Online Freedom
Bark encourages trust and discussion over invasive monitoring to keep your child safe online, and it’s great for parents of teenagers who don’t require close scrutiny. It arguably has a more powerful content monitoring feature than any other parental control app on this list, but it doesn’t allow parents to view any content on their child’s Android device that isn’t labeled a concern.
Bark can monitor texts, call history, emails, and 30+ apps and social media at the account level. It lets you easily connect your child’s accounts by either entering their login and password yourself or allowing them to keep their password private and log in themselves from their device. Once connected, Bark monitors all activity on that account and will alert you if it detects a potential concern.
Bark will only share activity from your child’s device if it triggers an alert — depending on what you’re looking for in a parental control app, this is either Bark’s biggest strength or biggest weakness. With text messages, for example, Bark will show you a potentially concerning text message, but it will not allow you to view all of your child’s SMS history the way Qustodio will.
While Bark allows you to block internet access to a wide range of Android apps and has a flexible scheduling feature, it can’t block offline apps. It also doesn’t track how long your child uses their device, so it doesn’t allow you to set time limits on how long they have access to their device or specific Android apps.
When it comes to location tracking, Bark lets you request a check-in from your child, but this requires your child to then open the child app and manually check in, meaning you’re not able to view your child’s location in real-time (Qustodio, Net Nanny, and Norton Family all let you do this).
Bark has two monthly and yearly plans, Bark Jr. and Bark Premium, with prices for the annual plans starting at US$ 49,00 / anno. All plans allow you to monitor an unlimited number of devices and accounts, but Bark Jr. doesn’t come with the content monitoring feature, and there’s no money-back guarantee.
Bark has a powerful content monitoring feature that can monitor your child’s social media accounts, texts, and emails and alert you of any potential concerns. It encourages trust over invasive monitoring, so most of its features aren’t as functional as top competitors. All of Bark’s paid plans allow you to monitor an unlimited number of devices, but none of them include a money-back guarantee.
5. FamiSafe — Great for Parents of Teens Who Drive
FamiSafe can monitor your child’s driving safety to help you make sure they’re developing healthy habits on the road. It can give you detailed driving reports including information about how often they suddenly brake, how often they speed, whether they follow traffic rules, and more. It will even let you receive an alert any time your child is driving dangerously.
FamiSafe also includes industry-standard parental control features like web and app filtering, screen time management, location tracking, and activity reports. Most of its features work really well, but its app filtering is supposed to be able to block Android apps like YouTube and TikTok, which it failed to do in all of our tests.
When it comes to location tracking, FamiSafe’s allows you to view your child’s location in real-time and set up geofenced areas of up to 0.62 miles or 1,000 meters. This is more than Qustodio (0.12 miles or 200 meters) but much less than Norton Family (up to 2 miles or 3,200 meters). Something that makes FamiSafe stand out is that its location tracking feature works both ways and allows your child to request your location as well. This can be useful if your child is driving and meeting you somewhere they’ve never been.
FamiSafe offers 3 paid plans starting at US$ 10,99 / al mese, but the only difference is how many devices each plan will allow you to monitor. Its monthly plan allows you to monitor 5 devices, while its quarterly and annual plans can monitor up to 10 devices. FamiSafe offers a 7-day money-back guarantee on all its plans, but this isn’t very good when Qustodio and Net Nanny both offer 30 days, and Norton Family offers a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.
FamiSafe offers a unique driving safety monitoring feature. It can give you detailed alerts about how safe your child is driving and alert you if they’re excessively speeding. FamiSafe comes with all industry-standard parental control features, and it also includes a great two-way location tracking feature. All of FamiSafe’s plans include a 7-day money-back guarantee.
Comparison of the Best Parental Control Apps for Android in 2023.
|Parental Control App||Starting Price||Web Filtering||Time Limits||App Filtering||Number of Devices||Money-Back Guarantee|
|1.🥇 Qustodio||US$ 54,95 / anno||✅||✅||✅||5–15||30 days|
|2.🥈 Net Nanny||US$ 39,99 / anno||✅||✅||✅||5–20||14 days|
|3.🥉 Norton Family||US$ 49,99 / anno||✅||✅||✅||Unlimited||60 days|
|4. Bark||US$ 5,00 / al mese||✅||❌||✅||Unlimited||❌|
|5. FamiSafe||US$ 10,99 / al mese||✅||✅||✅||5–10||7 days|
How to Choose the Best Parental Control App for Android in 2023.
- Industry-standard parental controls. The parental control app should allow you to block apps and websites, limit screen time, and track your child’s location.
- Additional features. All parental control apps are different, and many have unique features to stand out from the competition. Good parental control apps will have useful features that go beyond standard monitoring. Qustodio has more extra features than any other parental control app on this list, including excellent YouTube monitoring, SMS monitoring, and a panic button.
- Ease of use. All of the parental control apps on this list have easy-to-use apps for Android that make managing your child’s online activities easy, even if you’re not the most tech-savvy person in the house.
- Good value. Make sure a parental control app has all the features your family will need, covers as many devices as you want to monitor, and offers a free plan, free trial, or money-back guarantee to make sure you can test if before committing to a subscription. Qustodio has the best free plan on the market, a free trial, and a 30-day money-back guarantee, while Norton Family gives you a generous 30-day free trial and a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- Google Family Link. Google Family Link is a free parental control app for Android and Chromebook, but its web filtering, screen time limits, and location tracking don’t work nearly as well as the top parental control apps for Android in 2023.
- KidLogger. KidLogger has an easy-to-use app for Android that allows you to monitor your child’s browser history, screen time, and messages, but it takes screenshots of your child’s screen, which is just too invasive.
- AirDroid. AirDroid provides pretty good app filtering, screen time management, and location tracking features, but it doesn’t include web filtering to keep your children from visiting mature or concerning websites on their Android device.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best parental control app for Android?
In my opinion, Qustodio is the best parental control app for Android in 2023 — it has excellent web and app filtering, screen time management, location tracking, and YouTube monitoring features, and it also provides in-depth activity reports.
All of the parental control apps on this list provide a good value, though. Net Nanny has one of the best web & app filtering features on the market, Norton Family allows you to monitor an unlimited number of devices, which is great for large families, Bark has a powerful content monitoring feature that can monitor activity at the account level, and FamiSafe has a unique driving safety feature to help your child establish healthy driving habits.
Are there free parental control apps for Android?
Yes, there are free parental control apps, but they’re usually pretty limited. Free parental control apps might not have the features you need to effectively monitor your child’s Android device, and they could also sell your data to third parties.
I always recommend using a premium parental control app like Qustodio that includes all industry-standard features as well as extra features like YouTube monitoring and a panic button.
Can my child uninstall parental control apps from their Android device?
It depends on the parental control app — top parental control apps like Qustodio and Net Nanny have uninstall protections that require your account password in order to delete the app on Android.
Bark, on the other hand, is unable to prevent your child from bypassing or disabling features like web filtering by turning off the VPN it uses to function. Disabling Bark’s VPN is really easy, and your child can disable it with just 4-5 taps in the settings menu of their Android device.
Will my child know I’m monitoring their Android device?
Very likely, yes, and I think that’s a good thing — having open conversations with your child about how to be safe online is the only way to make sure they grow up with healthy online habits. Not many parental control apps will be able to monitor your child’s Android device in total secret, so it’s probably best to talk to them about why monitoring their device is necessary.