Best Free Parental Control Software
free parental control software
Computers have become an unavoidable part of our everyday lives. Whether we’re using them as entertainment devices, for consuming content, or for work, computers are here to stay, and it’s inevitable that our children are coming to come into contact with them.
However, if parents aren’t responsible for the way that their children are interacting with computers, this can cause serious physical and mental damage to their well-being.
Today, we’re going to explore the ins and outs of parental control tools, giving you everything you need know in order to manage your child’s digital diet.
What Can Parental Control Software Do for Us?
This, of course, depends on the parental control software that you’re using. However, the main aim of all the brands and available products remain relatively the same. The purpose of this brand of software is to help you manage the way your children interact with computers.
For example, your children may have access to pornographic content, gambling websites, violent material or aggressive games. All of these can be damaging, even more so the younger your child is. What’s more, computers can be addictive.
Playing games, using services or watching videos can all be addictive, so it’s important to make sure your child is living a balanced life where they can use technology, and stay connected to the real world.
As you may or may not be aware, there are also many problems with using things like social media. Most notably is communicating with strangers who may have malicious intent or becoming subject to cyberbullying. With parental control software, all these problems can be controlled and minimized.
10 Best Free Computer Parental Control Software
To help you on this ongoing battle with trying to manage and control your child’s use of technology when using a computer, here are the ten best free parental control software applications.
#1 - Windows Family Safety
To start off our list, we’ve opted for the integrated Windows parental control system. While you’ll need to sign up for an account, this is an easy to manage solution that comes with an extensive range of features that give you full control over your child’s digital diet.
- Integrated into Windows for seamless results
- A full range of protection features and program blockers
- A complete online filtering and protection system
- Comes with built-in antivirus
- Tells you which apps are good for kids
- Track your kid’s location on Windows phone devices
- Control purchasing limits
- Extremely complicated installation
- Long-winded operation process
Supported OS - Windows
Cost - Free
#2 - K9 Web Protection
K9 Web Protection used to be a paid service, and while it’s no longer updated, the free version is still available. While this may not be as up to date as other leading computer parental control free applications, there are still plenty of powerful settings to give you full control.
- Forced SafeSearch on all web browsers
- Customisable Internet block list
- Over 70 internet blocks and content filter categories
- Set custom time restrictions for internet access
- A range of comprehensive internet management settings
- Full usage report and statistics
- Works with both Mac and Windows computers
- Not updated anymore
- All internet-based controls
Supported OS - Mac/Windows
Cost - Free
#3 - KidLogger
KidLogger is designed to be used as a powerful computer parental control software service that can be used to help you track all kinds of data. This includes keystrokes on your child’s devices, including platforms like Skype and social media. However, the app can feel limited since this is all it does.
- Track messages by logging all the keys
- Track websites visited through keylogging Features
- Multiple customizable settings
- Voice-recording abilities
- Can monitor multiple devices from one account
- Compatible with a full range of devices
- Lack of controls compared with others
- Monitoring features only
- The premium package is expensive
Supported OS - Windows / Mac / Android / iOS / Blackberry / Linux
Cost - Free / $89 per year
#4 - Qustodio Free
A free solution, this software also has a paid premium version which unlocks more features, but the basic free version should come with nearly everything you’ll need. The primary feature here is the fact you can access the data from any device remotely, no matter where you are in the world.
- Complete analytic reports
- Real-time location tracking on mobile devices
- Adult content filtering
- Monitor social media activity
- Easy time usage tracking
- See all web browsing history
- Charts for easy information
- Only one device allowed on the free plan
- Horrible user interface
- Could be designed nicer
Supported OS - Mac / Windows / iPhone / Android
Cost - Free / £35 per year
#5 - OpenDNS FamilyShield
OpenDNS tend to focus more on businesses and providing them with security, but a few years back, they decided to release a comprehensive FamilyShield that has the sole purpose of protecting your family while they’re using the internet.
- Connects itself to your router, making it effective on any device connected to your Wi-Fi network
- Fast DNS Lookup speeds
- Ready-made content filters you can apply at any time
- Customise and block individual websites as you please
- Pre-made content filters
- Applies changes at your router
- Completely free to download, install and use
- Can be complex to install
- Requires a learning curve on how to use
Cost - Free
#6 - SocialShield
Now known as Avira, this is a free security suite that not only protects your children but also includes antivirus software to keep you and your children safe while browsing the internet. The main aims here are to protect against cyberbullying, networking issues and provide a good service.
- Recent social media activity usage
- Dedicated word and keyword tracking capabilities
- See all media (such as photos) that are processed
- Dedicated blog section for up to date advice
- Easy to use with a nice interface
- Easy to connect social media tracking
- Dedicated content filtering and tracking
- Basic features compared with other platforms
- Outdated and no longer updated
Supported OS - Mac / Windows
Cost - Free
#7 - Surfie
As the title suggests, this is a computer parental control software that’s designed around protecting your children as they browse the internet. This is a complete solution for when your children are browsing the internet.
- Multiple profiles for adults and children
- Customisable web portal
- Build up a usage portfolio over time
- Can be adjusted to suit your parenting style
- Customisable notifications for certain Features
- Only has internet controls and monitoring
Supported OS - Mac / Windows
Cost - Free / £45.99 per year
#8 - Net Nanny
Net Nanny is a complete remote monitoring tool to help you manage your child’s ability to use their technology devices. It focused on both online content and messaging functions. The free parental control software app is easy to install and easy to learn.
- Works alongside Entertainment Software Rating Board
- Chat filtering functions
- Block websites and types of content
- Restrict access to devices
- A ton of internet content filters
- Social networking monitoring
- Easy to use and remote settings charge
- Setup wizard can be complex
- The free trial version available before paying
Supported OS - Mac / Windows
Cost - Free / $59.99 per year
#9 - Norton Online Family
While Norton is perhaps one of the most well-known of all online developers, especially in the security market, you may not be aware of the fact that they produce parental control software free.
- Custom email alerts and re-direct notifications
- Location supervision
- Monitor all web content
- Access request alerts
- Easy to use and learn
- Easy reporting system
- Most visited and used categories
- Web filter is not perfect all the time
- Long setup and installation process
Supported OS - Windows / Mac
Cost - Free - £79.99 per year
#10 - Kids Watch Pro
If you’re looking for a dedicated computer parental control software, this is it. Compatible with up to three computers and free lifetime upgrades, what else could you need?
- Supports up to three computers on a single license
- Free email and phone support
- Time management Features
- Integrated internet content filter
- Monitor everything, including chat alerts
- Dynamic content block and filter
- Easily keep an eye out for predators
- Really basic interface
- May seem limited compared with other solutions
Supported OS - Mac / Windows
Cost - Free / $49.95 per year
What to Do If You Would Like to Set Parental Control on Kid's Android Or iPhone
While any of these free parental control software apps are ideal for most of your Mac or Windows computers, many of these won’t work on mobile devices. However, there is a range of mobile parental control apps to help you out.
One of the most recent apps to join the industry is FamiSafe, a complete parental control software free that can help you take full control of your child’s device. Here’s the lowdown on the app.
FamiSafe - The Best Free Parental Control Software for Android And iPhone
- Web Content Filtering
This is a complete web filtering and content block feature that allows you to toggle on and off numerous content filters and add exceptions of certain websites you want to block.
- App Blocking & Monitoring
You’ll be able to see exactly which apps your children are using, which apps they’re installing and uninstalling, and how long they’re using them for. You can even instantly block each app and set up usage schedules, so apps are only available during certain hours of the day.
- Real-Time Location & Geo-Fencing
Using the GPS location information of your child’s device, you can see exactly where your child is at all times. This means you can be sure they are where they say they are and where they should be. You can also set up geo-fencing features which send you a notification if the boundaries are breached.
As you can see, it doesn’t matter if your children are using a computer or mobile device, there are plenty of free parental control software out there for you to benefit from. However, when it comes to mobile devices, FamiSafe remains our favorite.
Compatible with both Android and iOS devices, tablets, and smartphones, and free to download and install, it doesn’t get much better than this. There’s even a three-day free trial, so you can try it out for yourself.
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