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Parent App Round-Up: Apps That Keep Kids & Teens Safe Online

There’s no doubt about it: we are living in a digital age. Children and teens of all ages are surfing the web and logging on to social platforms daily, and as a parent, the thought of your child being exposed to all the Internet has to offer may seem overwhelming – and even scary. It is so important to discuss cyber safety and digital citizenship with your children, but what happens when you are not around to watch their online activity? How can you help keep them safe while online?

There are hundreds of tools, apps and software that allow you to see what your children are searching, viewing, and posting online. Taking advantage of these products will in fact let you view your child’s Internet activity, but they can also be an extremely helpful tool to help keep them safe from viewing inappropriate content, interacting with strangers, and can even help prevent cyberbullying. Remember: Internet safety and monitoring is not about prying or spying. It is about being an involved parent!

Check out our round-up of some of the best browser toolbars, software systems, and apps that you can use (or pass on) to help keep your children and teens safe online.

 

Children Safety Apps:

 

The Parental Control Bar 

Platforms: PC or Apple

Cost: FREE

http://www.parentalcontrolbar.org/

The Parental Control Bar is a free public service that helps concerned parents prevent their children from accessing adult-oriented web sites. Complete the simple three-step installation process and start protecting your family from accessing inappropriate content.

How it Works:

When your child attempts to access a website, the toolbar first checks to see if the site is self-labeled, then compares this site label to your parental settings and determines whether to block or allow access. If the site is not self-labeled, then the toolbar scans an extensive list of 3rd-party labels before deciding whether to block or allow. The toolbar also allows parents to add specific websites to a personal ‘always blocked’ or ‘always allowed’ list. Although no system is ever perfect and cannot guarantee that all unwanted websites will be blocked, parents will be able to more effectively control the types of websites their children access with this tool.

 

Mobicip 

Platforms: PC or Apple

Android: http://bit.ly/2loRwl0

iOS: http://apple.co/2loXhiz

Cost: Basic Package – Free | Premium –  $39.99 / year

http://www.mobicip.com/

Mobicip is a cloud-filtering service that helps you create a secure internet for your family, school or business. A Mobicip account allows you to adjust the internet filter or monitor browsing history on multiple tablets, smartphones and computers, all remotely from any computer or mobile device.

How it Works:

Mobicip is a browser that can be downloaded onto most devices. It can be set as a default browser by replacing Safari and Chrome on your iPhone and Android phone respectively. Mobicip uses age-based filtering so that you can set the level of age of the user, or you can set it to No filtering – Reports Only to get an idea of what your children are searching for and watching online. The filtering engine can even scan every YouTube video, and then filter them based on the title, description or keywords. This browser can also restrict the search functionality on popular search engines, and you can get a real-time analysis and report of what sites/videos have been used by your child.

 

MinorMonitor 

Platforms: PC or Apple (Browser Based)

Cost: FREE

http://www.minormonitor.com/

The earliest parental control tools served the very specific purpose of keeping kids from accidentally (or deliberately) surfing to inappropriate websites. These days, for many kids, surfing the Web just isn’t a thing. Instead, they spend their time on social media. The free MinorMonitor service aims to help parents keep track of that social media activity.

How it Works:

MinorMonitor is a free web-based tool that gives a parent a quick, easy window into their child’s Facebook activities and friends through knowledge-based analytics. Via an intuitive dashboard view, parents can access either a snapshot, or full detail and specifics, of potentially dangerous activities such as bullying, hate crimes, drug use and sexual references.

Getting started with MinorMonitor is a snap. To start, you visit the MinorMonitor website and create an account. Next, you connect that account to your child’s Facebook or Twitter account by logging in with the child’s credentials. Don’t have that username and password? You’ll need to sit down with the child and explain why you need it. Within a few minutes, MinorMonitor completes its analysis of the last 180 days of activity on the account and displays a summary.

 

Life360 GPS Family Locator – Find Friends & iPhone 

Android: http://bit.ly/2kn3Y4W

iOS: http://apple.co/2k3Lydj

Cost: FREE (in-app purchases)

With hectic schedules and long to do lists, managing the day to day activities of your family can feel like a full-time job. Life360 is here to help! Whether you’re making dinner plans, coordinating carpools, or just ensuring everyone arrived home safe, Life360 gives you simplified communication and peace of mind right at your fingertips.

How it Works:

Use Life360’s Family & Friend Locator to view the real-time location of friends or family members on a private map, and receive alerts when friends or family arrive or leave home, work, and school. Life360’s Family & Friend Locator uses state-of-the-art GPS location data to report the real-time whereabouts of your friends and family. Simply install the Family & Friend Locator on everyone’s phone. Once registered, each member appears as a unique icon on the map so you’ll always know where family members are. The app can also be used to share photos and text messages with their secure, private chat, see past location history for your Circle, and even track a lost or stolen phone.

With the latest update, you can see when your family is driving, and the premium driving features let you see when your teens are speeding, driving irresponsibly, or texting while driving. Help them become better drivers and compare their driving to your own.

 

Surfie-Parent

Android: http://bit.ly/2kswyUF

iOS: http://apple.co/2knsAKT

Cost: 1 Month Free | Monthly: $4.99, Yearly 49.99

http://www.surfieapp.com/

Surfie-Parent is your eyes and ears to your child’s online safety. This app keeps you in the know and lets you know whenever anything needs your attention: if your children are being cyberbullied, if they are online where or when they shouldn’t be, their location and more.

How to Use:

Surfie-Parent helps you gain an understanding of your child’s digital lifestyle, making it easier to start an open conversation about online behaviors. By downloading the app, Surfie-Parent lets you define age-appropriate boundaries, monitor digital use, and get alerts on your child’s online behavior. Surfie-Parent lets you monitor time spent online, set website filtering for porn and other inappropriate content, utilize real-time location tracking and geo-fencing, and even receive alerts for cyber bullying.

 

Net Nanny 

Platforms: PC or Apple

Android: http://bit.ly/2kLiAO3

iOS: http://bit.ly/2lI5GyQ

Cost: Desktop/Mobile – $39.99 | Family Protection Pass $59.99

https://www.netnanny.com/

Net Nanny gives you a unique way of parental control. It has internet filtering software which has pre-determined age-based settings and unlimited customization options. Only suitable, age-appropriate content will be delivered to your child based on the age group and settings you have defined, and you can easily allow or block specific websites. The app masks exposure to unwanted language content and you can also access summary reviews and online activity reports to see what and when your children are accessing content when they go online.

How to Use:

Pornography, cyberbullies, and online predators make the internet a dangerous place for young minds. Protect your family! Take control with Net Nanny. Net Nanny lets you monitor your family’s Internet access and social media use. By installing Net Nanny on your computer or mobile device, you can create user profiles to individual family members’ needs, keep pornography and other adult content from appearing on your computer, mask profanity before it appears on the screen, control access to set time limits on internet usage, and receive alerts and reports to your console or email.

Net Nanny Social (additional service; $19.99) ensures social media safety by protecting kids from online threats and monitoring activities related to cyberbullying, sexual predators, privacy concerns, and reputation-damaging pictures or videos. Net Nanny Social has a web-based, easy-to-use dashboard, and monitors the social networks kids use, regardless of the child’s device or Internet access point.

 

Norton Family Parental Control 

Platforms: PC or Apple

Android: http://bit.ly/2kPf462

iOS: http://apple.co/2lphQvh

Cost: App – Free | Norton Subscription – $39.99

https://family.norton.com/web/

Norton Family parental control software helps protect your kids from online predators by showing you what your kids are doing online and identifying potential dangers before they become problems.

How to Use:

Although Norton Family Parental Control can function as a strong standalone app, to use it parents must first purchase a subscription for Symantec Norton Family Premier, which costs $39.99 per year. That might sound expensive, but the subscription is very generous, as there is no limit on the number of children or devices supported. There’s also a free 30 day trial.

The Norton Family app helps teach your kids safe habits for Web exploration and helps you stay in the know about where your kids are online. Download the Norton Family app to your kids’ devices and it will help them avoid unsuitable web content, including YouTube videos. Turn on Location Supervision for the ability to track the location of their device—and show it to you on a map. On the parent portal, you’ll see activity-tracking reports designed to give you insight into how and where your kids spend their time online, so you can see what their interests are and help keep them safe.

 

Teen Safety Apps:

 

TeenSafe 

Platforms: PC or Apple

Android: http://bit.ly/2kSMOzx

iOS: http://apple.co/2lo7KiC

Cost: 7 Day Free Trial | $14.95/month.

https://www.teensafe.com/

TeenSafe is a subscription service for parents that provides smartphone monitoring and control capabilities. A single login provides you with access to your teen’s smartphone data and interactions securely on one dashboard. Only you can access your child’s data with your TeenSafe login. The TeenSafe Monitor smartphone app enables parents to control their teen’s smartphone remotely, and monitor their teen’s sent and deleted texts.

How to Use:

TeenSafe enables parents to remotely control their teen’s phone. Your TeenSafe login works without requiring your child’s iPhone to be “jailbroken” nor Android phones to be “Rooted”. TeenSafe does not alter an iPhone in anyway and does not violate the phone’s warranty. TeenSafe offers parents a single and secure method by which they can access and monitor their teen’s digital lives.

Simply by downloading and using the TeenSafe app, parents can see sent, received and deleted text messages, call logs of sent and received phone calls, device location and history, web browsing history, bookmarks and contacts, and even messages sent via Whatsapp and Kik Messenger. The app also allows you to pause your teen’s phone during family activities or bedtime, stop texting while driving, and block unwanted apps like Snapchat, KIK Messenger, Reddit, and other similar apps that can be harmful when used inappropriately.

 

SecureTeen 

Platforms: PC or Apple

Android: http://bit.ly/2kqHpfF

iOS: http://bit.ly/2k7XINt

Cost: $39.99/year

http://www.secureteen.com/

SecureTeen’s protective tools will help you limit your teen’s time online, restrict their access to harmful and mature content, and help keep them safe against online predators and cyberbullying. It’s simple to use and efficient at safeguarding your teen.

How it Works:

SecureTeen is your one stop shop against harmful and detrimental online content. SecureTeen strives to ensure your child’s safety by constantly gathering information about their online habits and sending the information to you. SecureTeen has several features that completely block inappropriate content from your child’s computer or smartphone, and with customizable profiles, specific websites can be blocked at any time. SecureTeen also gives you the ability to create a timetable for your child’s online use. The software will ensure that the internet connection fails to work unless it’s been approved on the time table.

The app creates logs of your child’s web activities, making it a tool to help ensure that no cyberbully or stalker is harassing your child. It helps give you a clear picture of who your child is interacting with, and if they find themselves in trouble, you can act swiftly.

 

Send This Instead 

Platforms: PC or Apple

Android: http://bit.ly/2kXqvrQ

iOS: http://apple.co/2kXCVjx

Cost: 1 Week Free | $10/month

http://sendthisinstead.com/

While this app isn’t really for parents, it is still a unique and interesting app for teens to have handy. The “Send this Instead” app empowers teens, giving them a voice when they are under pressure to send intimate images of themselves online.

How it Works:

Send This Instead developers asked all the funny people they knew, “What would you say if someone asked you to send images you didn’t want to?” They took the best answers and created humorous posters to develop this app. The posters are witty, sarcastic and meant to help get the point across – using humor as a strategy. While this app may seem all fun and games, it also includes reference points and links for youth dealing with issues of sharing of intimate images, so that they can get the proper help they need. The app’s motto is:

“When no doesn’t get it into their head…Send This Instead”

 

uKnowKids 

Android: http://bit.ly/2k7jbef

iOS: http://apple.co/2kSP0a0

Cost: FREE

https://www.uknowkids.com

uKnowKids helps parents monitor their kids’ digital activities on iPhones, iPads, iPods, Android phones, and social media. uKnowKids helps you focus on the most important status updates, posts, comments, photos, and direct messages.

How it Works:

uKnowKids allows parents to track your child’s sent, received, and deleted text messages, view your child’s phone calls, mobile applications, photos, videos, web browsing and search history, and can even discover your child’s hidden or “secret” public social networking accounts. Unlike many other monitoring apps, uKnowKids lets you see what images your child is taking and sharing with their mobile phone via text message, as well as those photos they are posting to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The uKnowKids dashboard allows you to quickly review photos and focus on the images that need your parenting attention.

Need help staying on top of the latest digital and social trends? uKnowKids will inform you. The uKnowKids Digital Parenting and Safety Resource Center is a one-stop shop for information that matters most to parents. A team of experts scour the web, reviews product adoption trends, and interview industry gurus to compile the best digital parenting content on the Web. You will be the first parent on the block to know about today’s hottest mobile apps and understand any hazards they may pose.

 

curbi 

Android: http://bit.ly/2kw9vZo

iOS: http://apple.co/2kSLlt0

Cost: Basic – Free | Premium $3.99/month

http://www.curbi.com/

curbi is an app for all smartphones that allows you to manage and monitor your child’s mobile web and app activity. With just a couple of clicks you can lock apps, block inappropriate sites and put a time limit on screen time. curbi is all about protection for your child, and peace of mind for you. It’s simple to use and gives you complete control over the content your child can access from smartphones or tablets.

How it Works:

curbi keeps track of the sites your child visits. You can view a summary that shows what sites have been accessed – and for how long. It’s just the insight you need to be confident and have peace of mind when your child is online. The app also lets you decide which apps your child can access – and when. Set ground rules for games, block specific apps or call a total timeout when it’s time to study – or sleep.

curbi is also great for blocking content on a mobile device. Not every website is suitable for children and teens, so curbi makes it easy to block the inappropriate ones. curbi blocks all adult sites and lets you control access to any other categories – like gambling or violent content.

 

DinnerTime 

Android: http://bit.ly/2kMhWhM

iOS: http://apple.co/2kSYCBP

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lsAWRq

Cost: FREE

http://www.dinnertimeapp.com/

DinnerTime is a user-friendly app parents can download to remind their children about taking time out from their mobile devices to study, get the sleep they need, and of course, enjoy mealtime as a family.

How it Works:

Aside from setting alarms for studying, dinner, and bedtime, DinnerTime also provides many advanced parental control functionalities. Use this app to set time limits for how long your children can use both the app and the device, display a real-time status of your children’s device and which app is currently running, block apps, and receive detailed device usage reporting.

 

We hope the apps listed in this blog are helpful in keeping your children and teens safe. If you choose to download any of them, be sure to let us know your feelings and results!

Also, don’t forget to download the MBF Child Safety Matters App to learn about the different types of bullying, as well as what signs to look out for with child maltreatment and neglect. You can also use the app to help teach your child to identify Safe Adults and to learn the 5 Safety Rules.

Apple App Store: http://bit.ly/CSMAppStore

Google Play: http://bit.ly/CSMGooglePlay

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