I remember life before kids. The house was neater, there was more food in the fridge, and more importantly there wasn’t a need to hide my devices so nobody would swipe them. Deleted images, locked screens, coaxing a device out of the kids’ hands — struggles even the most patient parent faces. You don’t have to be an expert in parenting to know that it’s important to know where your kids are in the real and digital worlds alike. Striking a balance between trusting your kids on the internet and monitoring how they use it can be the difference between a nice night out and a meltdown. Thankfully, there are plenty of parental control solutions out there to fit every parenting style. We went through some of the dozens of software solutions, parental control routers, and kid-friendly tablets on the market to find the ones you should consider to keep your kids safe.
Software and Apps
For about $12 per month, Forcefield allows parents to give their kids that needed distance while monitoring (and blocking) content they are viewing on their device. Forcefield logs any downloaded apps, tracks what websites they visit and what they post on social networks, and can even turn off their mobile device at a designated time. This feature is perfect for showing my five-year-old who’s boss when he sneaks his tablet into thinking he can fool his dad. Not gonna happen, Chase.
Forcefield – $12/month for two parents, one child, and unlimited devices
Net Nanny does a great job tracking your child’s connectivity across a variety of devices. Parents can manage settings for each device with an easy-to-use online interface. You set up alerts, track online activity and schedule on/off times. Their particular claim to fame is a web filter that constantly scans and analyzes websites — if a nasty new site appears, Net Nanny’s technology will have it blocked before your kids ever find out about it. Parents can even take requests to open access to sites that might be considered off-limits by Net Nanny.
Net Nanny – $60/year for five devices, $90/year for 10 devices