I added Pumpic to my list of parental control solutions several months ago but wanted to return for a more thorough review. Pumpic is a monitoring tool for iOS and Android devices. As with most solutions, there are broader monitoring features available for Android phones than iPhones, and this is due to the restrictions that Apple places on developers. But even so, for parents looking for a way to keep tabs on their child’s phone activity, Pumpic has a lot to offer.
Parental control software can be used on computers and devices to assist parents in keeping kids safe online. Here you'll find reviews of parental control software and tools.
NetSanity has been on my list of parental control products to review for quite some time. It has many of the tools that parents are looking for in their “digital parenting toolbox” to help them with managing screen time and keeping young eyes away from inappropriate content.
With NetSanity you can set a device bedtime, block content by category, enforce safe searching, restrict features such as the camera or taking screenshots, and block specific apps such as Snapchat or Instagram. I was really interested in seeing how that last feature works, because it is fairly unique. Not many parental control services let you block a specific app or game.
Here’s how things went with NetSanity.
I’ve been hearing a lot about OurPact and thought I’d give it a try to see how it compared with other parental control tools. OurPact is a free (yay!) service for setting time based restrictions on iOS and Android devices. Parents can install it on a child’s device, and control the settings from their device or from a web site to set device bedtimes, schedules, and block or grant access to apps at a moment’s notice.
PocketGuardian is a parental control service for Apple devices such as iPhones, and Android smartphones. PocketGuardian is different from some other solutions. It analyzes your child’s texts and social media posts and only alerts you when it detects a potential problem, such as cyberbullying or sexting. This way, you can address issues without feeling like you are prying completely into your child’s online life. For those who want the least intrusive monitoring method, Pocket Guardian is a good solution. PocketGuardian is also one of the only services that can monitor Snapchat.
I spent the last month or so using Circle by Disney, a parental control device used to manage internet activity on all devices in your home. Yes, all devices. Well, I should say all internet-connected devices. Which is a lot of them – computers, laptops, phones, tablets, gaming systems – if it connects to the internet, Circle can help you manage it.
I found Circle to be simple to install, easy to use, and would recommend it to any family seeking a little bit of sanity in a multi-device multi-user household. Sure, there are some things that Circle can’t do, and I’ll talk about that. But there is so much that Circle CAN do.
What can we do about sexting? Will monitoring help? A common question parents have – and an ongoing debate within the comments section on many of my articles – is whether or not to monitor their kids’ internet and phone activity.
It is common these days for each member of the family to use more than one Internet-connected device. In fact you might call it the new normal. In addition to home computers, you’ve got smartphones, tablets, iPods, gaming devices and smart TV’s. How many screens are in your home? I just counted 15 here – 2 TV’s, 1 computer, 2 laptops, 1 Kindle fire, 2 iPads, 1 iPad mini, 3 smartphones, and 3 (old and rarely used) iPods. Each of these connects to the Internet. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could monitor, filter and control usage on any of these devices without having to install something on each device?
Guess what, it is possible!
Here is a round-up of parental control tools that cover every device in your home.
As a parent, you might be looking for parental control tools for many possible reasons. You might be concerned about the content your child sees when surfing the web. You might be concerned about too much screen time and want to set limits. You might be concerned with who your child communicates with. You might be concerned with the content your teen is sharing on social media. You might be concerned with all these things!
Parental control tools can assist you as part of a “digital parenting” toolkit. I say toolkit because that’s what any software product is – a tool to assist you, not to replace you. Meaning, you can’t just rely on a parental control software product alone. Ongoing discussions are key to establishing healthy internet and device usage habits.
This list includes some of the products that I’ve wanted to write about, but just haven’t had the time. I’m also including some of the parental control and monitoring software tools I’ve written about already, for a “one-stop-shopping” resource on the site.
VISR is a social media and e-mail monitoring tool that alerts you when there is questionable activity on your child’s social media or e-mail account. Unlike other monitoring tools, you won’t see everything. VISR only alerts you to potentially unsafe activity and not every little detail. Your kids won’t feel so much like you’re stalking them, and you won’t be overwhelmed with too much information.
One of the biggest challenges parents face is how to manage their children’s online access and device use. Before the rapid adoption of mobile devices it was easier – install parental controls on the family computer and you’re done. While that is still recommended, it will not help when a child’s primary computer use is on their phone or tablet. And when each child has his or her own device it is even more complicated. Luckily there are a number of parental control tools available to help enforce a healthy “tech” balance. Here’s a review of Copilot Family, a parental control tool for smartphones and tablets.