These days, it is common for kids and teens to have a cell phone. Whether it’s to keep you connected to your kids or not, you still want to monitor their activity. Using parental control apps is a must in order to keep your kids safe.
With the freedom of a phone comes danger. Kids don’t know enough to know what they should or should not share. And, as they become teens, there are apps they may use to hide their actual online activity from kids.
As parents, we have to find a way to balance our child’s independence and privacy along with their need to be safe online. While you can check every text or app, it is not necessarily feasible. Instead, utilize the best apps to monitor your kids’ online activity.
BEST PARENTAL CONTROL APPS
The best way to keep your kids safe is to utilize apps to monitor their online activity. These apps will not only share what they are doing but can often track texts, calls and even your child’s location. It is a simple way to ensure they are safe without needing even to check their phone or tablet.
One of the top-ranked free parental control apps is Qustodio. The app allows you to monitor screen time, see where they go and block specific websites and apps from your child’s device. You can also monitor their texts and social media.
Platforms: iOs, Android, Windows
Devices: Works on all (iPhone, Android devices, Kindle, etc)
Cost: Basic plan is free, but can purchase premium starting at $54.95 per year
If you want to monitor everything your child does, mSpy is another app to try. It allows you to track several things at once. You can see who your child calls, apps they use, GPS location, what they text and so much more. You aren’t spying on your kids; you are doing what you can to ensure they don’t make online mistakes that could hurt them.
Platforms: iOs & Android
Devices: Works on all (but will want to check your device to confirm)
Cost: $29.99 per month (but if you purchase the annual plan, you can save money)
Another parental monitoring app that tracks not only where your teen is going, but even the speed they are driving is MamaBear! Yep! The app alerts you to their location and how fast they are doing at that moment. You can also monitor their texts and social media accounts, so you keep them safe from posting or sharing things they should not.
Platforms: iOs & Android
Devices: Apple and Android
Cost: Basic plan is free; premium plans start at $5.99 per month
This app does not monitor activity as much as it blocks your child or teen from accessing specific information. Mobicip allows you to watch apps, sites visited, create filters and even establish time limits on your child’s phone or tablet usage.
One great feature of this app is the ability to add it to computers, including Chromebooks. You can track the websites they have visited and also block certain sites from visibility. Mobicip also sends a monthly report to you, so you can check everything without having to lift a finger.
Platforms: Windows, iOs & Android
Devices: Apple, Chromebook, and Android
Cost: Basic plan is free; premium plans start at $39.99 per year
Teensafe allows you to check texts, browser and GPS history on your child’s phone. You can also look at the apps they have installed and even see who they have called. One feature this app has is the ability to carefully monitor the Kik app and the contacts your child adds to his or her phone.
Cost: Free trial offer then the service costs $14.95 per month
SECRET APPS TEENS USE THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Believe it or not, there are apps your teen may be using that aren’t all they seem. It is important you check your child’s phone to make sure they are not doing things online that you don’t know about.
There are several apps out there which appear to be a calculator but are in fact, a secret photos vault. Your child could hide inappropriate photos in this app, and you would be none the wiser.
They fool parents because they appear to be a calculator. The app looks friendly and as if they are using something that is helpful. However, that may not be the case. Take a good look at the app and make sure it is not hiding something.
Unfortunately, many teens create hidden profiles they use on Instagram. They may be logged into one that mom and dad can see, but have a completely different one they use to connect with their friends.
The only way you will know this is to look at your child’s phone. Have them log into Instagram and open their profile. Look at the usernames. If they have a second account, you should see it here.
When your child uses the internet, you can put controls in place to keep them safe. None of that happens on Kik. Kids can send texts and messages to others without any filters. Sadly, it is a playground for predators who know how to work kids and take advantage of them.
An app that allows the user to share secrets, many of which include mature content you don’t want your kids to read about. It encourages private conversations, which can endanger your child.
Another app you probably don’t want your kids to use. Omegle allows them to connect with strangers and talk about anything at all, even topics your child should not discuss. People can pretend to be anyone, which can put your child in danger.
Ask.fm is one of the most popular social networking sites kids use. Kids can ask anything they want, which sounds safe enough. However, other kids will gang up on one kid and do nothing more than bully them.
Parents these days have the added pressure of living in a digital age. It is vital that they know the apps their teens use and find the right apps to watch what their kids are doing online.