Do you know what your kids are looking at on their smartphones and tablets?
Sometimes you just have to trust them, but with technology you can make sure that you kids are viewing appropriate content.
According to your own needs, you may only want one app to keep a watchful eye. This list contains apps that restrict functionality, keep tabs on locations and report online activities. All in all the 10 Android parental control apps try to cover almost every aspect of parental control, from mild to paranoid.
Note: All of these apps were tested on Samsung Galaxy S III and Nexus 4. Some of the apps ran into issues which will be mentioned in the app details. Kindly do not pay heed to the app ratings and try them yourself before deciding. Sure the rating does reflect the quality but in this case it’s the kids who are rating the apps down. If you have time to read the reviews on the Play Store, you will find some amusing accounts of the apps actually doing their job.
1. Safe Browser – The Web Filter – Free
Internet is like a two-way street, on one hand it provides invaluable knowledge and on the other it is a gateway to virtual filth. We don’t want kids to be subjected to pornography or other inappropriate material found on the internet. This is where Safe Browser – The Web Filter comes in. This app allows you to block explicit sites and make sure your children are not watching something bad. During our testing Safe Browser – The Web Filter held up great against well-known porn sites but buckled when the names got a little creative. This is not a perfect app, but it works great for children under 10.
- Blocks explicit material.
- Blocks drugs referencing sites.
- Can block online games sites.
- Can block proxy sites.
Notable feature: Safe Browser – The Web Filter is a great app to block social networking sites on a smartphone.
2. Abeona – Parental Control – Free
Abeona – Parental Control is an app that allows you to control what apps your child can access. Restrict access to any app, and use a handy monitoring mode that observes the usage and gives detailed statistics.
- Block any app.
- Can block social networking apps.
- Can block messaging and hangouts.
- Can block games.
Notable Feature: With Abeona – Parental Control installed you can block access to Google Play Store and eliminate any change of bypassing security.
3. Smart Lock – Free and Paid ($2.99)
Behind a lock
Do you have important documents or pictures on your smartphone? Install Smart Lock and hide the apps you don’t want the kids to mess around with. The process is simple. You run Smart Lock and hide apps behind a password. No more accidental deletion of important family pictures, and no more missing songs from your library. The kids can play with your phone and you will be at complete ease. This app can also be installed on your child’s smartphone.
- Hides apps.
- Locking apps is quite easy.
- Saves and hides pictures well.
- Complete privacy for you.
Notable Feature: Accidents can happen when using a smartphone. Kids are curious and may delete important contacts from your smartphone. Limit their access and you won’t need to constantly monitor them again.
4. Famigo: Kid Lock, Family Games – 7 Day Trial / subscription
Lock and play
One of the best apps on our top 10 Android parental control apps is Famigo. It’s a great example of the perfect family app. Parental control is not limited to teens. Sometimes you need to hand the tablet to children. Farmigo is a great app, with a friendly interface and filtered apps that only cater to a certain age limit. For example, the app recommends games for toddlers when you select the toddler option from the menu. Then you can hand the device to your kids and they remain entertained for a long time.
- Takes kids off your hands.
- No need to keep an eagle eye on kids.
- Large selection of apps.
Notable feature: Famigo has a kid friendly user interface which poses no problems, even for little kids.
Subscription features: You can purchase two subscriptions within the app. The basic one costs $0.99 per month and gives you phone lock, Famigo TV and Kid Web Browser. The Plus one is priced at $4.99 which includes all the basic features plus $20 worth of age appropriate apps each month.
5. Screen Time – Free
A time to see
Are you worried about your kid spending an unhealthy amount of time with their Android tablet or smartphone? Let Screen Time assist you. As one of the most reliable apps in the top 10 Android parental control apps, Screen Time does exactly what the name suggests. You simply have to select any amount of time and the smartphone/tablet will run for the same amount. This app comes in handy when kids are addicted to playing games well past their bed time.
- Easy to use and fast.
- Very reliable.
- Tracks activity.
Notable Feature: Screen Time not only restricts prolonged use of the device but also monitors where the time was spent on. The data is then displayed in pie charts and graphs.
6. Kids Shell – Free
A secure shell
Kids Shell is like any other Android launcher but for kids. This app has the added benefit of letting your children use the tablet in a natural environment without feeling restricted. The shell makes it easy to use age-appropriate apps. All you have to do is launch the shell and forget about accidental purchases from Google Play Store.
- Kid’s mode for the little ones to play in.
- Parent mode for configuration.
- Math oriented password for parent mode and exit.
Notable Feature: Kids Shell can also deactivate the Home button on the device. This means that the kids have no way of exiting the shell.
7. Kids Place – Parental Control – Free
A friendly skin
Kids Place is a great app launcher with a kid friendly interface and plenty of features. Install this app on your smartphone or tablet and forget about worrying. The app only makes authorized apps available. So while you work, your kids have plenty to play with.
- Custom Home screen.
- Play Store purchases and access disabled.
- Timer feature restricts the amount of usage time.
- Adding custom wallpaper.
Notable Feature: Kids Place is able to shut off wireless signals including WiFi and Bluetooth.
8. Kid Mode – Free / Subscription
The best playground
8.a Free version
You may have noticed that the last three apps on the top 10 Android parental control apps list are essentially the same. This is because of compatibility issues and the stability of the apps. But Kid Mode is the most stable and reliable app. While the previous two apps are great, Kid Mode is one of the best in the category. We recommend that you get this great and easy to use app to test it with your kids.
- Kid friendly games and videos.
- One place for all the apps.
- Child lock feature will protect your important content.
- No ads clicking or in-app purchases.
8.b Subscription version
Buy a subscription within the app. The developers are a tiny bit greedy when it comes to adding features, so we recommend that you try the free app before purchasing the subscription. The paid version allows you to get free apps every week. You can also get multiple accounts for your kids. It is a great app if you are willing to spend lots of money. Simply put, Kid Mode is the best parental control app on Android if you subscribe to it. Premium Memberships cost $7.95/month, $39.95 for 6 months and $59.95 for the entire year.
The top 10 Android parental apps list tries to include every aspect of parental control. From keeping an eye on your kids to making sure they are not using a smartphone while driving, these apps are great for pre-teens who need a guiding hand from their parents. Explain the importance of these apps, and try to connect on a technological level.
If you have another great parental control app on your phone or require guidance in any way, be sure to sound off in the comments below. We will love to hear suggestions or questions from you.