The best free parental controls for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android

If the online security of your business information seems like something worth investing in software that costs you hundreds of dollars a year, what is the price of the well-being of your children when they surf the Internet? For a chore or just for fun? We know that it is impossible to monitor them all day, that’s why we bring you the best parental control software available on the market.

This is where technology, through software, comes to our aid. Parental controls help protect your kids from the dark web, and completely free versions are available for all operating systems. Keep reading to know more.

Embedded operating system features

Providing your children with age-appropriate technology is an important first step in keeping them safe online. When they have access to more general computing devices, you can take advantage of the parental control features built into the operating system.

Parental controls available on Windows and MacOS are a convenient and acceptable way to restrict web access and chat functionality, as well as view detailed logs and keep track of email exchanges.

Microsoft Family Safety

For Windows 10, you need to sign up for a Family Safety account. You can then add a specific child account (or more depending on your needs) to your family account for your children to use.

This approach can be a bit tricky, but it has many advantages. You get reports on all online activity from sub accounts, and you can block any app, game, and site you want.

You can also limit the time you spend online and strictly monitor your purchases. It has real security features, including the ability to track the location of your children.

Their location can be found through the Microsoft Family Safety app (on iPhone and Android phones) or through the Microsoft Family Safety website if they are using a Windows 10 phone or have Microsoft Launcher on their Android device.

Parental controls built into macOS

Riley Young / Digital Trends

MacOS offers several options when it comes to parental controls, each of which can be accessed through the user interface. Parental Control located in the main panel of System Preferences.

The software includes options to block specific apps, websites, and messages with specific people that you deem inappropriate. Parental controls must be configured individually for each person, but once set, users can also set time limits.

There are other options, such as the ability to hide profanity in most source content, and users can also ban the computer’s built-in camera and disc burning utilities.

If there is more than one Mac on the same network, users can manage these parental controls remotely from a completely different computer. It’s a pretty comprehensive solution, if you’re not afraid to spend some time setting up the Mac to make sure everything is correct.

The problem is, you can only manage parental controls per user. Therefore, you will need to create separate accounts for each child.

Applications and extensions

Windows and MacOS offer a decent selection of parental controls, but they can’t do everything by default. Similarly, parental controls can be difficult to implement on mobile devices intended for children.

Here are downloadable programs that may be better suited to your particular goals.


Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android

A person's hands typing on a laptop to set up parental controls.

Qustodio has a very intuitive and easy-to-use interface that allows you to subscribe to the free version of its software in a matter of moments. You manage everything from the dashboard, including social media monitoring, individual time limits for internet, game, or app use, and the ability to track text messages and calls through authorized devices.

Real-time internet filtering can detect porn and make sure everything is blocked, even in private browsing mode.

The compatibility options are impressive as the software is compatible with Kindle, Nook, Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. However, Qustodio tries to make as much money as possible with this program, which is why many features (such as game blocking, location, etc.) are behind paywalls.

You can also use the free version on a single device, which limits its applicability. Qustodio has a large number of functions; we just wish there were more available for free.


Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS and BlackBerry

Kidlogger, one of the best parental control programs.

Kidlogger is a great option if you prefer to be discreet rather than proactive. Instead of blocking sites, Kidlogger automatically tracks keystrokes and web history, as well as program usage (and saves screenshots taken on the computer).

When installed on a smartphone, the application also automatically records all phone calls made, by number and by contact name. It’s compatible with popular apps like Instagram and Discord, which parents can pay close attention to, and updates continue to add more support for the service.

The free version of Kidlogger is great, but the premium versions add a bit of vibrancy, although some of its features are downright overwhelming. If you want to monitor your children’s phone conversations and record their WhatsApp messages, Kidlogger can do it.

Unfortunately, the application does not have native password protection. If your kid is smart, they might catch him. It is available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and BlackBerry.

Like Qustodio, a free account limits you to one device, while the paid versions offer more protection.


Plugin for Google Chrome and Firefox

FoxFilter is great at providing users with a block filter score based only on keywords and individual web pages (e.g. Playboy, lingerie, nudity), while also offering solutions for adding trusted sites to a shortlist with no banned content. .

In addition, the plugin’s sensitivity settings can be adjusted to analyze the main content of the web page, as well as the title and URL, and users can configure notification and alert preferences that detail the type of message underlying each blocked. . site.

This preference management is great for blocking a variety of websites and is one of the quickest options to get started, but inexperienced users can stick to the list of signal words that is provided by default.

Be careful, if you add too many keywords or wrong keywords, you risk getting blocked almost every website. FoxFilter offers free email support, so if you have any issues, feel free to contact them.

What is the next step ?

If you want full protection for your young children, you need to worry about cell phone use. Check out our list of the best monitoring apps for your child’s cell phone. We are sure that some of you are also interested in learning more about game console security.

Also, since you’ve done everything you can to keep your kids safe online, how about protecting your online activities? Make sure you are using a reliable antivirus solution and protect your passwords with our favorite password managers.

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