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Best Parental Control Software 2021: Monitor Kids’ Screen Time

It used to be the case that the easiest way to monitor what your youngsters were up to online was to keep the family PC in the living room. Now, with tablets and smartphones a regular fixture in family life, it’s a lot harder to know what they’re doing and the kind of content they see. That’s where parental control software comes in. These simple, inexpensive services allow you to restrict the amount of time spent online as well as ring-fencing browsers from mature material.

We’ve gathered together a selection of the best parental control software available at the moment, so you don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the challenge of keeping your kids safe on the internet.

If you’re wondering about the kind of boundaries to set, here are some guidelines on how much screen time is healthy for children and we’ve also got some online safety tips.

What parental control software is best?

How do I control my kids’ internet access?

If you have your broadband provided by BT, Sky, Virgin or TalkTalk then you may have seen prompts to use their respective content filers. BT calls its option Parental Controls, Sky has Sky Broadband Shield, Virgin uses Web Safe, while TalkTalk offers HomeSafe.

These all provide the ability to set the general level of content that can be accessed online, usually broken down into age groups. That means it’s easy to set blocks for sites and services that are aimed at adults or teenagers. The downside of these protections is that they apply to the whole family. So, while you may want to protect little Timmy from accessing grown-up material on the web, doing so means you won’t be able to either. 

A more nuanced route is to restrict access from certain devices rather than the connection itself. This can be done either by using the controls built-into the operating system itself, as you can see from our Android parental controls, Amazon Fire for Kids and how to limit iPhone app usage with Screen Time guides, as with the specialist software we feature below.

The advantage of the services here, as opposed to the controls built into devices, is that they can work across various platforms which means you can keep tabs on what they’re up to even if they have access to an Android phone and an Amazon tablet, for example.

Qustodio

Kaspersky Safe Kids

Kaspersky Safe Kids

Net Nanny

Net Nanny

MMGuardian

MMGuardian

Norton Family Premier

Norton Family Premier

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