Top Parental Control Apps and Software

Goals

To understand how parents are using parental control apps and software in the US with the key data points of: Which are the top companies in this space, and what are they doing that's contributing to their success? What features do they offer? What consumer groups are using these apps? What marketing tactics have been used/are successful among these companies? in order to inform an introductory meeting with a parental control app company that will be launching in the United States.

Early Findings

Our initial research on top parental control apps and software in the US revealed insights. Here are key pieces of information we found:

Top Parental Control Apps and Software in the US

  • According to a very recent Consumer's Advocate ranking based on features, reputation, and price, the top seven companies that offer parental control apps and software in the US from highest to lowest ranking are: Bark, Qustodio, Norton, WebWatcher, Net Nanny, Family Time, and ESET.
  • Bark has won awards from The National Parenting Center, Mom’s Choice Awards, and National Parenting Product Awards, and is ranked number one overall for its affordability and for offering the most coverage of any monitoring tool. Bark has also been featured on CNN, CBS News, and TechCrunch, and other offerings that have contributed to their success include the features of: Automatic parental alerts, Algorithmic monitoring where parents don't have to comb through data, and a Free seven day trial.
  • Qustodio was recently recognized this year by PC Magazine with the Editor's Choice award for being highly configurable and easy to manage, although it comes at a premium price. Other offerings that have contributed to their success include: their wide range of features and excellent customizability, with features such as web content filtering, robust app blocking, and a detailed activity log. Other features include: Availablity in English, Spanish, and six other languages, Tracks calls and texts, Sets healthy screen time limits, and Location tracking with a panic button.
  • Norton was also recognized by PC Magazine with the Editor's Choice award last year for their variety of features and easy setup. Other offerings that have contributed to their success include: affordability, a good web dashboard, and no limit on the number of monitored devices. Other features include: Teaches kids not to share personal information and has VPN, Password Manager, and Anti-Virus.
  • WebWatcher's stand-out feature Alert Log tool and their 24/7 customer service via phone, e-mail and live chat have contributed to their success. Other features include: See all SMS & texts, deleted texts, photos, website history, call log history, GPS location, social media, app usage and more, View activity remotely through mobile user interface, Tamper-proof and unobtrusive, and No "jailbreaking" or rooting required.
  • Net Nanny received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and their powerful filtering tools and configurability have also contributed to their success. Other features include: Packages for one desktop, five devices, or twenty devices available, Location tracker for mobile devices, Screen time management tool, and Pornography, apps, and various website blockers.
  • Family Time's variety and uniqueness of features like alerts for when a teen is speeding, a pick-up button that gives children an easy way to tell parents where they are, and a way to bank phone time for later use have contributed to their success. Other features include: Scheduling and blocking and an SOS/Panic button that transmits a child's location instantly.
  • ESET's good selection of features, particularly location related ones, offering a free version, and the ability to pay for two years up front at a discounted price have contributed to their success. Other features include: Filters access to websites, Automatically blocks age-inappropriate apps, Sets daily time limits for apps, Monitors child's device usage, Checks where children’s devices are at any time, Creates zones that alert if a child exits them, and Sends a child priority messages.

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