Best Parental Control App Options 2023 [Social Media Control] (2023) may earn a small commission from some purchases made through our site. However, any affiliate earnings do not affect how we review services.

Best Parental Control App Options 2023 [Social Media Control] (1)

  • Key Takeaways
  • What Makes the Best Parental Control App?
  • Best Parental Control Apps
  • 1. Qustodio
  • 2. OurPact
  • 3. MMGuardian
  • 4. Google Family Link
  • 5. Bark
  • 6. Life360
  • 7. Net Nanny
  • Other Apps to Consider
  • Final Thoughts
  • Comments

Reliance on digital devices has become the norm these days. If you find your kids spending more time than they should on their gadgets, the best parental control app may be your solution. However, there are a lot of parental control apps with features that differ widely. If you're feeling confused, this guide just might help you choose.

Best Parental Control App Options 2023 [Social Media Control] (2)

By Eugenie Tiu (Editorial Assistant)
— Last Updated: 2023-04-15T12:00:00+00:00 Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska

Moms and dads have the hard job of constantly balancing responsibilities at work and at home, and it’s easy for parents to let kids use digital devices more than they should. However, there are many reasons parents should consider restricting device usage, from teaching your kids good digital habits to protecting them from harmful content online. That’s where the best parental control app comes in.

Key Takeaways: Best Parental Control Apps

  • A parental control app can help you manage your kids’ digital habits at home and keep kids safe online.
  • It’s easier to choose the parental control app that’s right for you if you know what the apps specialize in. We will suggest apps based on their strengths.
  • Qustodio is the best parental control app overall because it offers a range of useful features with reasonably priced plans.

As younger kids are getting exposed to all kinds of content in the digital space, it’s increasingly important to start thinking about what videos they’re watching, what games they’re playing and what apps they’re using to socialize with their friends.

A parental control app lets you keep an eye on what your child is doing and how long they spend on their device. Before your kids become too dependent on their devices, we’ve compiled a list of the best parental control apps for you to consider.

Most parental control apps support iOS, Android and even your child’s computer; it’s just the features that can vary. We looked at some of the most popular parental monitoring apps and narrowed the list down to the top seven.

  • Google Family Link, Life360 and MMGuardian are just some of the parental control apps that offer advanced tracking features. Your choice depends on what other features you’d like to have.

  • The best parental control app overall is Qustodio. It provides all the practical features you’ll need to monitor and manage your child’s mobile phone.

  • If you need to protect a number of devices with parental controls, Bark is the better choice, since all of its plans cover unlimited devices.

  • While Bark wins the title of best app for those on a budget, Life360 is our top pick as the best app for older kids. They’re both good parenting phone apps.

What Makes the Best Parental Control App?

To select the best parental control apps on the web, we’ve considered each app’s features, pricing, availability of support as well as their pros and cons. Choosing the best parental control app depends on what you need it most for. Our choices are based on several features we think are crucial for any parent who wants to set a fair amount of restriction for their kids.

  1. Qustodio — Best parental control app overall
  2. OurPact — Best app for iOS devices
  3. MMGuardian — Best app for Android gadgets
  4. Google Family Link — Best free parental control app
  5. Bark — Best budget app with unlimited devices
  6. Life360 — Best app for older kids, with driving safety features
  7. Net Nanny — Best app for younger kids

First, we considered blocking features and app, web and social media monitoring. This ensures that the apps and websites your kids interact with are appropriate for their age.

Then there’s location tracking and geofencing. Location tracking allows you to see where your kids are all the time and not worry about them. Geofencing can send you a notification each time your child leaves the virtual fence you’ve specified. You can also be notified when your child arrives at a predetermined location, such as school.

Next, screen time is a crucial parental control feature if you want to manage the amount of time your kids spend on their devices. Some parental control software also includes device usage reports that show which apps or sites your child visits and how much time they spent there.

We’ve also weighed in on pricing. The best parental control apps should have clear and detailed pricing readily available on their website. They should also have a reasonable window for free trials and refunds.

The 7 Best Parental Control Apps

Below, we’ve listed the top parental control options we think are the most worthy of your attention. The apps below have won a specific category based on their features, pricing, support, and strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to compare parental control apps according to your needs. We’ll start with our best parental control app overall, Qustodio.

1. Qustodio: Best Parental Control App Overall

Best Parental Control App Options 2023 [Social Media Control] (3)

More details about Qustodio:

  • Pricing: Free; $54.95 per year
  • Free Plan: Single device
  • Website:


  • Free plan & 30-day trial
  • Platforms for most OSes
  • Variety of features


  • Some iOS features require a Mac
  • No 24/7 live chat

Qustodio wins the overall category because it is packed with the most important features you’d want to protect children of any age. It’s also available on most operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Kindle.

With the ability to filter content and apps, Qustodio can block specific apps, games and websites to prevent your child from being exposed to inappropriate content. The app also gives you the option to block and monitor calls and messages on your child’s Android phone.

You can limit the number of hours your child spends on a specific app to ensure a healthy balance between study time, family time and free time. You can also find a web-based dashboard where you can check detailed reports of your child’s app usage and activities on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

If you want to know where your child is at all times, Qustodio’s family locator feature is equipped with a map that will let you track where they are and where they’ve been. The app is also equipped with geofencing technology. Once you enable your places within the family locator, you can set it to notify you when your child enters or leaves a specific area.

Basic$54.95Up to 5 devices,
Screen time limits with internet pause,
Web filtering,
Location monitoring
Complete99.95Unlimited devices,
Everything in Basic,
Custom alerts,
App time limits,
Calls & messages monitoring

2. OurPact: Best App for iOS

Best Parental Control App Options 2023 [Social Media Control] (4)

More details about OurPact:

  • Pricing: $6.99 per month
  • Free plan: None, 14-day free trial
  • Website:


  • Affordable
  • Free Premium trial
  • Block texts on iMessage


  • No refunds
  • No call blocking
  • Limited web filtering

There are many reasons to like OurPact. It offers many of the basic functions other parental control apps have — such as app monitoring, location tracking and website blocking – but it also includes many other unique features parents would find incredibly useful.

One such feature is automatic screenshot captures. If you want to keep tabs on your child’s online activity, you can have the app either take screenshots automatically at regular intervals or within an on-demand basis. The OurPact app also comes with real-time GPS monitoring, geofencing and history tracking.

Another rare feature among parental control apps is blocking text messages on Apple’s iMessage. It’s worth noting that most parental control apps are designed for Android, so having this extra attention toward iOS is appreciated — making it one of the best parental control apps for iOS devices.

Premium$6.99 per month
$69.99 per year*
Unlimited schedules,
Unlimited blocks,
Unlimited grants,
Unlimited app rules,
Unlimited allowance,
Unlimited family locator,
Unlimited block texting,
Unlimited app alerts,

Up to 20 devices
Premium+$9.99 per month
$99.99 per year*
Everything in Premium & screenshot captures

3. MMGuardian: Best App for Android

Best Parental Control App Options 2023 [Social Media Control] (5)

More details about MMGuardian:

  • Pricing: $49.99 per year
  • Free plan: None, 14-day free trial
  • Website:


  • Extra Android features
  • Call & text blocking feature
  • Social media monitoring


  • Expensive
  • No geofencing

MMGuardian takes the spot as the best parental control app for Android. While it has many of the same features across devices, MMGuardian offers more features on Android, including usage reports, location and track, time limits, and blocking for calls and texts. Features across all devices include safety alerts, message reporting, inappropriate image alerts, app control, web filters and safe browsing.

The app lets you monitor texts and messages from various social media apps. You can also configure the app to send you alerts whenever it scans messages that are indicative of violence, cyberbullying, suicidal thoughts and even inappropriate images, such as nudity. The photo that triggers the alert can also be viewed on the parent’s phone.

Single Child Device$4.99 per monthly
$49.99 per year
1 device
Family Plan$9.99 per month
$99.99 per year
5 devices

4. Google Family Link: Best Free Parental Control App

Best Parental Control App Options 2023 [Social Media Control] (6)

More details about Google Family Link:


  • Completely free
  • Unlimited devices
  • Supports iOS & Android


  • Privacy concerns
  • Ads may be shown
  • Lacks advanced features

If you are looking for a free parental control app that’s packed with only the basic features, then Google Family Link might just be right for you. The app is completely free and allows the use of unlimited devices. Although it supports both Android and iOS mobile devices, it has more features for the Android app.

Parents can install Google Family Link on a web browser or any gadget of their choice, but kids and teens can be supervised when using Android devices only. The app that should be downloaded on devices for kids and teens is called Family Link parental controls.

Google Family Link lets you approve or block apps your child wants to download, set your child’s screen time limits, and locate your kids wherever they are.

Setting it up is also pretty straightforward; the instructions are as simple as setting up a Gmail account. Once you’ve set up the app on your child’s device, SafeSearch — a web-filter function available in Google Search and Images that filters out explicit content — is turned on by default.

In case you decide to use Google Family Link, know that Google has a poor reputation for privacy practices. The Family Link disclosure page states that when you allow your child to use their service, they may request your permission to collect, use or disclose your child’s information.

Some of the information they collect includes your child’s apps, browsers and devices, your child’s location and your children’s voice and audio information. They may also share these with third-party entities in a number of circumstances. Remember, no app is fully free from the goodness of their heart — there’s some benefit to them, and in this case it seems to be to access your personal information.

FreeScreen time limits,
App permissions & blocking,
Location tracking & alerts

5. Bark: Best Budget App

Best Parental Control App Options 2023 [Social Media Control] (7)

More details about Bark:

  • Pricing: $49 per year
  • Free plan: None, Seven-day free trial
  • Website:


  • Unlimited devices
  • Multiple device types
  • Monitors 30+ apps


  • No geofencing
  • No contact blocking
  • Pricing plan is different for younger kids

No matter the size of your family, Bark is the best parental control app if you’re on a tight budget. The basic plan covers all you’ll need for younger kids such as screen time management, web content filtering, web and app blocking, and usage reports.

You also won’t have to keep an eye on your phone looking at a map all the time, since all you really need is location sharing. This geofencing feature will alert you when your child enters or exits a specific location you’ve set.

For parents who’d like to have more comprehensive insight into their kids’ activities, Bark’s premium plan takes it up a notch by including its text and email monitoring features. Bark is equipped with advanced machine learning to analyze the contents of a text message, email, photos and videos saved on your child’s device.

You can take things even further by purchasing the Bark Phone — a Samsung phone with a built-in Bark app. It’s equipped with location tracking and contact blocking features, and also restricts kids from deleting text messages.

Bark Jr.$5 per month
$49 per year
Unlimited devices,
Screen time management,
Web filtering,
Location alerts
Bark Premium$14 per month
$99 per year
Everything in Bark Jr.
Text & app monitoring,
Content monitoring & alerts

6. Life360: Best App for Older Kids

Best Parental Control App Options 2023 [Social Media Control] (8)

More details about Life360:

  • Pricing: Free; $49.99 per year
  • Free plan: Free membership option, Seven-day free trial
  • Website:


  • Free plan available
  • Driving reports available
  • Roadside assistance & towing


  • No app or internet monitor
  • Some features are geo-blocked
  • No screen time features

Life360 positions itself as an app with a single purpose: locating your family and friends wherever they are. While it doesn’t come with a lot of features that would make you actually call it a parental control app, it’s perfect for older kids (and adults) who are always out and about.

With Life360, you can create “circles,” add your family members and track them wherever they are in real time. Its safe driving feature gives you access to crash detection and emergency dispatch tools that can sense vehicle impacts under certain conditions.

You can download Life360 on both Android and iOS devices, but make sure that you are only logged in to the app on one device; otherwise, it can give you and other members inaccurate location and alerts.

FreeFreeTwo place alerts,
Two-day location history,
Location sharing,
Location ETA,
Family driving report,
Crash detection,
Help alert,
Battery monitoring,
Data breach alerts
Gold$14.99 per month
$99 per year
Everything in Free,
30-day location history,
Unlimited place alerts,
Crime reports,
Individual driver reports,
Roadside assistance,
5 miles free towing,
Emergency dispatch,
ID theft protection,
$25,000 stolen funds reimbursement,
$250 stolen phone protection
Premium$24.99 per month
$299.99 per year
Everything in Gold,
50 miles free towing,
$1 million stolen funds reimbursement,

Credit monitoring,
$500 stolen phone protection,
Disaster response,
Medical assistance,
Travel support

7. Net Nanny: Best App for Younger Kids

Best Parental Control App Options 2023 [Social Media Control] (9)

More details about Net Nanny:

  • Pricing: $54.99 per year for five devices
  • Free plan: None, 14 day free trial
  • Website:


  • Screen time management
  • Web & app blocker available
  • Location tracking available


  • No free plan
  • No monthly plans

When you need a companion to look after younger kids, Net Nanny might be the solution for you. It has almost all the features you can think of to protect and manage your kids’ time: screen time management, website and app blocker, location tracker, parent dashboard and app monitoring.

The YouTube monitoring feature allows you to see the videos your kids have watched and when they watched them. You’ll be able to see your child’s activity whether you’re using a PC or a smartphone — perfect for parents who are almost always working on their desktops.

Net Nanny also has a web filtering feature that allows you to block, alert or allow content categories such as anime, drugs, nudity, suicide, weapons and gambling, among others. While the app doesn’t have a free plan available, you can try out the full version of their software for free for 14 days.

$39.99 per year1 Desktop (PC/macOS)
$54.99 per year5 Devices
$89.99 per year20 Devices

Other Parental Control Apps to Consider

There are two other noteworthy apps to consider if you’re on the hunt for a good parental control solution for your family.


Canopy prides itself as the only parental control service with a real-time smart web filtering function. You can take advantage of the app’s machine learning technology as it scans and automatically blocks inappropriate images and videos on websites. You don’t have to block the entire site; you can simply choose to filter out suggestive content.

Norton Family

Another one worth mentioning is Norton Family. The company has been known in the cybersecurity space since the 1990s, and since then it has evolved to offer a number of solutions and recently merged with Avast.

Norton Family has a school time feature that can help keep your child focused by allowing them to use sites required by the school and blocking others. The app has a 30-day free trial and costs nothing if you’re already a user of Norton 360 Deluxe and Norton 360 Premium.

Final Thoughts: Parental Control Software for Kids

Choosing a good parental control app depends on your needs and preferences, but we hope that the list above gives you an idea on what some of them specialize in. Qustodio is the best parental control app overall because it offers the most features at a reasonable price. It has a free version and a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you’re not satisfied with their product.

However, there are other options you can consider based on your use case. OurPact is our top pick for iOS devices, and we like MMGuardian for Android.

If you have limited resources, you can consider getting a free app such as the Google Family Link or Bark, since it allows an unlimited number of devices on both of its plans. You can use Life360 to simply check on your kids’ location all the time, and Net Nanny for younger kids who need more monitoring and management throughout the day.

Have you used any of the parental control apps above? Are there any parental control settings you feel are missing? If so, feel free to share your thoughts and other apps you think deserve a spot on this list in the comments section below! Thank you for reading!


Best Parental Control App Options 2023 [Social Media Control]? ›

Bark is one of the more well-known parental control apps, and for good reason. It's packed with features caregivers want to help them keep their kids safe. This includes content monitoring (emails, texts, social media, and more), screen time control, content blocking, and location sharing and tracking.

Is there an app to limit social media for kids? ›

The best parental control apps to keep your kids safe
  • Qustodio. Best parental control app overall. ...
  • Bark. Best parental control app for mobile devices. ...
  • Kaspersky Safe Kids. Best budget parental control app. ...
  • Net Nanny. Best parental control app for social media. ...
  • Norton Family Premier.
Mar 23, 2023

What is the app that checks kids social media? ›

Bark is one of the more well-known parental control apps, and for good reason. It's packed with features caregivers want to help them keep their kids safe. This includes content monitoring (emails, texts, social media, and more), screen time control, content blocking, and location sharing and tracking.

What is the 360 parental control app? ›

Kids360 is a screen time tracker that helps parents see how much time their child spends playing games and on social media, as well as allows them to set time limits for children in different apps and games. Kids360 is designed for child safety and helps parents monitor screen time on their child's phone.

What is the #1 parental control app for Iphone? ›

The best parental control apps for iOS are Qustodio, Net Nanny and Mobicip. All offer the same sorts of features for a similar cost. Other parental control apps like Bark and Canopy are good too, but the available features are a little less extensive.

Is there an app to limit social media apps? ›

AppBlock lets you temporarily block distracting applications on your phone, so you can spend time on things that actually need your attention. This Android/iOS app doesn't track usage. However, it does let you schedule specific times to lock yourself out of certain apps.

How do I limit social media for kids? ›

Set screen time limits and set rules on when screens are appropriate to use. Teach your child the value of “unplugging” from devices for technology-free time. Social media can be exciting, but it should be considered entertainment. Remind your child that no message is so important that it can't wait until the morning.

Is there an alternative to Snapchat for kids? ›

A Safe and Secure Alternative to Snapchat for Kids

myFirst Circle is an app that can make phone calls, messages, and social sharing apps for family, and friends. Parents can rest assured that their children are communicating in a secure setting.

Which social media platform is the safest for kids? ›

Safer Social Media and Messaging Apps for Kids
  • APP. Cocoon - A Space for Family. age 10+ ...
  • WEBSITE. Franktown Rocks. age 10+ ...
  • APP. Girl2Girl Wall. age 10+ ...
  • APP. Home Base by Scholastic. age 10+ ...
  • WEBSITE. Sweety High. age 10+ ...
  • WEBSITE. Kidzworld. age 11+ ...
  • APP. Village-Safe Social for Family. age 13+ ...
  • APP. XooLoo Digital Coach for teens. age 13+

Is there an app like TikTok for kids? ›

Zigazoo, the startup known for its TikTok-style video-sharing app for kids, is launching a separate app targeted at Gen Z users.

Is there a completely free parental control app? ›

Google Family Link is a first-option parent control app available for free. Its many features are well integrated with the android operating system. Some of its features include app monitoring and management, location, phone usage habit, and lock the device.

How do I choose the best parental control app? ›

Best Parental Control and Monitoring Apps of 2023
  1. Best Overall: Screen Time.
  2. Best Budget: unGlue.
  3. Best for Real-Time Monitoring: Qustodio.
  4. Best for Location Tracking: Norton Family.
  5. Best for Older Kids: Canopy.
  6. Best for Younger Kids: Net Nanny.
  7. Best for Time Management: Kaspersky Safe Kids.
Mar 14, 2023

Does Apple have good parental controls? ›

Android plays well with others

It turns out that Apple's built-in security features are its own worst enemy. Because Apple doesn't play well with third-party developers, parental control apps don't work to their full extent on these devices.

What is smart parental control? ›

My Time by NETGEAR, included with Smart Parental Controls, allows you to manage your kids' mobile devices, see how they spend time online, and make sure your internet rules apply even when your children are connected to the internet away from home.

Is bark better than Life360? ›

Bark provides a ton more options to help keep kids safe online. Don't get us wrong — Life360 is great for location tracking and accident alerts. But Bark gives parents and families the ability to: Manage screen time.

What does Life360 allow parents to see? ›

Life360's location sharing feature enables family members to easily share their real-time location and movements with one another, allowing them to stay informed of each other's whereabouts no matter where they are.

What is the best app to restrict social media? ›

AppBlock for Android is a solid social media blocker. The app lets you limit access to any app and website, track your screen time and be more mindful of your phone usage.

How do I restrict social media on iPhone? ›

You can set a time limit for a category of apps (for example, Games or Social Networking) and for individual apps. Go to Settings > Screen Time, then turn on Screen Time if you haven't already. Tap App Limits, then tap Add Limit. Select one or more app categories.

Which app is the king of social media? ›

TikTok has quickly become the reigning king of social media, with more than 800 million active users worldwide.

How can I protect my child from social media addiction online? ›

She shared some advice for parents so they could take measures to prevent social media addiction in their own teens.
  1. Model good social media usage. ...
  2. Set tech boundaries in your home. ...
  3. Stay updated on the latest online threats and arm your teen against them. ...
  4. Keep informed about the latest apps that help or harm.

Can you put parental controls on social media? ›

In addition to blocking specific people, most social media apps let you disable features that could pose some risks for kids. For example, you may be able to turn off chat, restrict conversation to friends only, and hide your child's profile so that it won't show up in search results.

How can parents monitor their children's social media? ›

To keep an eye on a child's social media activity, parents can set up accounts of their own and check their child's pages and activity for themselves. Many parents also insist on knowing the passwords to their kids' accounts, although some parents may consider this an invasion of privacy.

Should I let my 12 year old daughter have Snapchat? ›

Is Snapchat safe for preteens and teens? Most kids use Snapchat to goof around and stay in contact with their friends—end of story. Yes, there's some mature content, but it's appropriate for most teens 16 and up.

Is there a kid version of Instagram? ›

Instagram Is Pausing Its Plan To Develop A Platform For Kids After Criticism. Instagram is putting a pause on its Instagram Kids platform, geared towards children under 13, so it can address concerns about accessibility and content.

What is the safest social media app for 12 year olds? ›

ChatFOSS is a safe social media app that combines the functionality of messenger, snapchat and Instagram, where users can instantly share messages, photos and videos with their friends.

What is the least toxic social media platform? ›

weBelong: less toxic social media

In this context, weBelong is an app that is designed to be less toxic. They do not display the number of likes, followers, etc so that people won't get into the impressing game.

Should I let my 12 year old daughter have TikTok? ›

At what age should a child be allowed to be on TikTok? Jean Twenge, our nation's leading researcher on how social media impacts child and adolescent development, recommends that no child under 13 should be on any social media, including TikTok.

What is the TikTok for kids called? ›

As a kidSAFE COPPA Certified app, Zigazoo verifies users and utilizes a human moderation process that reviews for kid-friendly behavior, dress, and language. To keep all interactions positive and help promote healthy online relationships, Zigazoo only allows positive emojis and stickers throughout the app's interface.

Should I let my 9 year old have TikTok? ›

While TikTok is great for socializing and can provide a creative outlet for your child, it can also have some harmful effects. Like with any social media platform, posting videos and pictures regularly leaves your child open to negative reactions and harsh comments.

Does Tik Tok have parental controls? ›

Tap Content preferences, then tap Restricted Mode. 5. Follow the steps in the app to set or enter a passcode to turn Restricted Mode on or off.

What is the downside to Snapchat for kids? ›

Cons of Snapchat for kids

Since kids can get around the age verification process, it's possible that they'll encounter mature content. In addition, kids can still come in contact with strangers. Users can change their default settings, and allow strangers to contact them directly.


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