Price: 55 USD / year
One of the biggest dangers of most parental control software is limited to a specific device or platform. Qustodio overcomes this by working with all of your child's devices.
Here's what we like
- Easy installation
- Excellent app and web portal
- Very flexible, more than just blocking content
And what we thank you
- you can do not customize the labels or categories for reporting.
How it Works (and Where Does It Work)
If you're already looking for other content filtering and app management solutions for your family, you've probably discovered the right information quickly. There are a variety of solutions whose scope is quite limited. There are solutions that block web browsing, lock a single computer, or work well on a tablet or phone, but not on computers at all-and then there are solutions that combine them.  Filtering and monitoring content for a device may have worked well over 10 years ago when you only had one computer at home. However, many families today have multiple devices and it is not uncommon for a child to have a computer, phone and tablet, depending on their age and the amount of tech in the home. If the goal is to keep your kids away from adult content and keep an eye on their apps, a PC-only solution is obviously not worth anything if they can just pick up their smartphone or tablet and do what they do not would like.
This is Qustodio, a flexible content filtering and application management tool. While the free account is limited to a single device (ideal for testing whether the product meets your needs or if you only need to back up a single device, such as your child's iPad), a premium multi-device multi-device account is allowed. Armed with a premium plan – $ 54.95 per year for 5 devices, $ 96.95 for $ 10, or $ 137.95 for 15 – you can get the same protection on your child's computer (Windows or Mac OS), on Android and iOS devices, and even on Kindle tablets.  It does not only work on all these different operating systems and devices, but also on the whole device. No matter which app or web browser your child uses, the Qustodio system covers it. Using another web browser, private browser mode or other workarounds that would prevent other simpler systems will not work.
In addition, Qustodio offers additional features such as application time tracking, application blocking (with rules), and time settings, such as limiting games or video apps during homework or bedtime), social media monitoring (currently only on Facebook limited), Mobile Location Tracking and, only on Android, SMS monitoring and a panic button.  Qustodio achieves all this by combining applications on the device with management profiles for these devices to control access to restricted content and applications in a finer manner than many other tools can. Let's take a look at how to set up the system, what the daily use looks like and how we thought the whole experience.
Although the design of the system is under the hood, the setup process itself is very simple. That's the way it should be: you should not have a computer science degree to secure your children's devices.
Each Qustodio setup consists of two parts: the parental control account and the application installed on the child's devices. To get started, all you need to do is create a parent account on the website or with the Control app on your phone or tablet.
When you create an account, you create a profile for your child with basic information: their name (or nickname), age, and gender. You can choose an avatar for your child, but you can not upload a photo like other profile systems.
Basic Profile It's time to move to his devices. On computers, you simply visit the website and download the software. On supported mobile operating systems, visit the App Store and download the app.
After starting the app, you sign in with the parent account and assign the device to the child profile to which it belongs. In addition to assigning the profile, mobile devices such as phones and tablets will ask you to approve some additional changes to the device so that Qustodio has more control over it. For example, on iOS, you authorize the installation of an administrator profile that helps the company manage and protect this device, and in the same way that if you use an iPhone on your company, the device will often be remotely controlled by your IT is locked department.
Finally, although they never mentioned it during the app setup process, they mention an additional tool that is not explicitly part of the software package but is provided by the company: the Qustodio Family Digital Agreement (PDF).
It is a printable "contract" that you can go over with your children to discuss the Internet safety and the habits of their devices to an action plan for the safe use of Internet and devices. If you're having trouble talking to your kids about filtering / monitoring tools or general internet safety, this is a really useful tool to start the discussion. While you're at it, you can also check the resources for the parents.
Daily Use: Qustodio in Action
How you use Qustodio daily depends greatly on the needs of your family. the age of your child and what you are trying to get out of the experience. If your sole purpose is to filter clearly unwanted content so that your child can not accidentally (or intentionally) access pornography or other inappropriate content, using Qustodio is more or less a fire and forgiveness operation that blocks access.
But if you want to use Qustodio as a behavioral management tool to help your child better manage screen time and app usage, it's also a handy tool. Let us explain how the various functions work.
App Monitoring and Limitations
Qustodio monitors and reports on application usage on computer and mobile platforms. The Dashboard Diagram (which shows all activities on all devices) looks like this:
In addition to the apps your child uses on their phone, tablet, and computer, you can also Restrictions ranging from "You can never use this application" to "You can use this application on those days at these times". You can easily set these restrictions from both the web-based family portal and the app.
The web portal is a bit dated (but fully functional) and looks like a corporate clock, the mobile app. Here's a much more modern look.
This functionality was mostly straightforward and useful – it was easy to see which apps were used and which interface was used to set rules, and limitations are simple – but there are a few things that do we would like to see to increase the appropriateness of the reports.
It would be great if you ignored and / or combined some apps. For example, app reporting for desktop computers is very thorough (so thorough that it even recorded things like the use of calculator.exe and the Nvidia Drive Update App). If this stuff is not of interest to you, it would be nice to filter it out. It would also be nice to combine things together (eg, the time spent downloading a game launcher or selecting games with the game itself).
However, apart from the small suggestions below, the monitoring and rule / restriction settings worked exactly as expected and we have no complaints about the core functionality.
Web Monitoring and Restrictions
Web activities and restrictions work almost identically with the app system. You can see which sites have visited them if they've tried to visit restricted sites, and you can easily block, allow, or otherwise restrict content.
In addition to the one on the main dashboard, there is a word cloud of the search You can review the individual search queries in detail by displaying the detail view for search engines (eg google.com and bing.com). There you can see exactly what your child was looking for, for example "How long was FDR President? "Or similar.
As we found out, your child found out that typing an entire homework question into Google is a good way to get focused answers (if you're wondering why your kid was looking for "what the economic impact of the Dust Bowl on the Kanas economy in the 1930s? "between" How to Build a Minecraft Cactus Farm "and" Cute Puppy Videos ").
Social Media, Message, and Site Surveillance  While the app and web material is fairly straightforward, things get a bit more complicated and it's harder to implement the unified deployment across multiple devices.
For example, Qustodio can monitor SMS applications on Android Devices can not monitor SMS messages on iOS due to security restrictions and messaging application implementation. The same applies to call monitoring. On Android, a call log is reported, not on iOS. Location tracking works on both platforms but better on Android (again due to underlying operating system differences). There is a panic button feature, but it only works for Android.
While Facebook may track the use of Facebook (including the wallpapers and the people you talk to your child with but not what they say to each other), it will not monitor other social media. However, it will report the use of social media applications as well as any other app and will allow the restriction and blocking of these apps. For example, you can not see what your child said on Snapchat, but you can see how long it has been used and block the app.
As mentioned above, each family will find different aspects of the service more useful in terms of how they orient themselves to their needs. In our tests conducted with a real child, we found that the daily reports were most useful because our primary focus was not blocking apps or web content, but helping the child use their own apps manage.
To this end, the daily reports were very helpful. In addition to being able to access the parent dashboard at any time via the mobile app or website, the parent account receives a daily email summary showing which apps have been used, how long they have been using, which sites they've visited, Facebook posts, and more Aspects of the user experience of the child being monitored by the service.
These daily reports proved to be extremely useful in settling down with our willing test subjects and talking about app usage, proper homework schedules, and good sleep hygiene habits like YouTube does not fall asleep. We have a strong feeling that the daily report, regardless of your motivation for using Qustodio, will also be very useful.
After testing the service with children of different ages and families, we have done nothing but say positive things about the service. It has worked well with elementary school children and also with older children.
All the complaints we have (if we want us to be able to group apps into categories for more useful reporting) are generally very small, and Qustodio has passed on exactly what was promised: simple App and web monitoring with additional practical functions, such as: B. Site Surveillance, above.
The range of functions (and flexibility in use) ensures that the service is not only suitable for small children or only for older children, but can be used by adjusting how you apply it and how to use it Child talk about it when the child grows.
Price: $ 55 / year
Here's what we like
- Easy to install
- Excellent app and web portal  Very flexible, more than just blocking content