Reviews

The best parental control software, how to choose? –

Update 03/11/2022: updated list of software and applications, removed or replaced obsolete software.

Imagine: the school is already far away and the holidays are approaching. But now your little one suddenly has a passion for the family computer that he doesn’t want to part with, as his owner taught him word processing and showed him the Wikipedia page for the Lion, his favorite animal.

You already know how important it is to give good support to a child who uses a computer… But you also want to be able to take a few minutes off the screen so that you can continue to manage your home and your family. . In this case, you can rely, in addition to your monitoring, on parental control software. What are the best solutions? Here is a selection.

Attention: parental control will never replace parents

In the same way that an antivirus does not prevent all unwanted programs from infiltrating, parental control software is not errorfree. The presence of a parent remains the best solution to prevent risks and prevent your child or teenager from encountering inappropriate content (or abusing a computer tool).

On the other hand, in addition to the configuration and different settings depending on the age of the children, parents must ensure that they do not bypass the established protections and that they are adapted and scalable according to the child’s abilities. A setting that is too flexible does not protect against abuse, just as a setting that is too restrictive discourages a young user who risks using other means to complete a task or access content: bypass security, use a computer at school or a friend’s, connect from other rogue devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Finally, parental control software will limit options but won’t tell you why certain sites are inappropriate. Here again, it is up to the adult to explain the reasons for blocking or monitoring, whether in terms of hours of use or the type of content blocked: adult Internet content, violent or addictive games, etc.

Making your choice: efficiency is in question

You will see that finding the best parental control software is not an easy task. The best software we have chosen to highlight are those that block the most dangerous content for children and are available in French. However, they also have a drawback: they also block legitimate content.

Your choice may be based on the antivirus solutions you already use, in which case using the allow lists of these programs by manually authorizing or blocking sites may be a satisfactory solution. Again, installing unaccompanied parental control software would be a mistake.

For computers (Windows, MacOS, Linux), tablets and smartphones

Parental controls have adapted to usage over the years: today they tend to be compatible with all devices, desktop or mobile, and settings can be synced/personalized on every screen.

Microsoft Family Safety

The completely free Microsoft Family Safety software can be installed on Windows as well as Apple computers and even smartphones and tablets (iOS and Android). Blocks can be configured automatically or manually according to your preferences.

The free version includes the ability to apply restrictions for apps and games, devices, screen time, and view activity summaries. It integrates many content filters and can protect location sharing. There is a premium version with more features that sells for 10 euros per month.

Microsoft Family Safety is a parental control and child safety offering offered by Microsoft. Let your kids of all ages make the most of their digital devices.

  • Downloads: 2243
  • Release date : 09/26/2022
  • Author: Microsoft Corporation
  • License: Free license
  • Categories:
    Safety
  • Operating system : Android – Online Service All Internet Browsers – iOS iPhone/iPad

Norton family

Norton is characterized by a good inappropriate content detection rate and a fairly complete set of features. Allows you to limit the time spent at the computer, while offering navigation filters by topic and age of the child. You can also create greenlists or redlists depending on the URLs you want to allow or block.

Norton Parental Control is available as a subscription for €39.99 per year. Many features are available across multiple devices (computers as well as iOS and Android smartphones and tablets), such as screen time monitoring, video, parent portal, or even monthly and weekly reports.

Norton Family is a parental control system that allows you to provide a safe digital experience for your children on all your devices and teach them digital best practices.

  • Downloads: 121
  • Release date : 01/11/2022
  • Author: Symantec Corporation
  • License: commercial license
  • Categories:
    Safety
  • Operating system : Android – Windows – iOS iPhone/iPad – macOS

Google Family Link

Google Family Link can be set up from a computer, but you can also download the app to your smartphone or tablet. Completely free, this service allows you to block or allow certain websites or apps, track how long your kids are in front of the screen, or even remotely lock your device when it’s used too much and it’s time to do homework, for example.

Google Family Link helps protect all devices running Android 7.0 (and later), and sometimes Android 5.0 or 6.0. In the meantime, parents can manage Family Link from an Android 5.0 (and later) or iOS 11 (and later) device.

Whether your kids are very young or teenagers, the Google Family Link app lets you set basic digital rules to guide them through online learning, play, and exploration.

  • Downloads: 1011
  • Release date : 02/11/2022
  • Author: LLC “Google”
  • License: Free license
  • Categories:
    Internet – Security – Education
  • Operating system : AndroidAndroidiOS iPhone/iPad

Xulu

With its slogan that promises to “revolutionize the digital life of children”, Xooloo is developing a rather innovative approach to parental control. Three apps for all ages were launched: “Digital Coach” for preschoolers and teens, “Xooloo Parents” for parental controls, and “App Kids” for toddlers.

The program is compatible with PC and Mac OS (computer) environments, as well as iOS or Android smartphones and tablets. If it is possible to try Xooloo for free for one year, the user must choose a subscription, the price of which depends on the number of protected devices (from 2.99 euros per month or 29.99 euros per year).

Xooloo Digital Coach is not a parental control app like the others, it’s a real coach that introduces kids and teens to the use of digital technologies.

  • Downloads: 137
  • Release date : 02/21/2022
  • Author: Xooloo SAS
  • License: Demonstration
  • Categories:
    Education
  • Operating system : Android – Windows – iOS iPhone/iPad – macOS

Screen Time on Mac and iOS

If you only use Apple products at home, be aware that the feature, originally available on Mac OS computers and iOS mobile devices, allows you to control how children use it. With Screen Time, you can add restrictions, block apps, and force your child to pick up their phone when they’ve spent too much time on it. A feature that is completely free and easily syncs across different family devices.

Bonus: Qwant Junior, an adapted search engine

Searching for information is one of the main activities on the Internet, and this obviously holds true for the little ones as well. There are other search engines besides Google, including the French Qwant, which is also available in a special version for kids and teens.

Its results filter out content that is inappropriate for young people, such as pornography, violence, hate speech, radical speech, etc. It can be used online directly or through Android and iOS apps.

Qwant Junior is not only a safe search engine for kids that can be used in any internet browser, but also a complete browser for mobile devices.

  • Downloads: 190
  • Release date : 04.08.2022
  • Author: quantum
  • License: Free license
  • Categories:
    Internet security
  • Operating system : Android – Online Service All Internet Browsers – iOS iPhone/iPad

Conclusion: support in all cases

Unfortunately, the best parental control software also blocks the most legal content. As explained in the introduction, an adult should be present for as long as possible to explain and unlock content if necessary on a casebycase basis.

If the choice falls on more flexible software that lets in dangerous content, the parent, in addition to their regular monitoring, will have to choose to create a green list. It will also be necessary to regularly refer to the browsing history in order to detect content that can cause problems, without hiding this monitoring a posteriori from the child.

Feel free to ask for advice on parental control software and tools on our support forums.

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