Top 4 Child Monitoring programs 2024

Top 4 Child Monitoring programs 2024

Keep your child safe online

by Irene Park

“On average, children ages 8-12 in the United States spend 4-6 hours a day watching or using screens, and teens spend up to 9 hours,” according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).

With children spending so much time in front of their screens, it is imperative to create safe and healthy environments for their exploration. While cultivating digital literacy can be beneficial and sometimes even mandatory scholastically, creating a balanced and safe environment in which to explore their digital life can be a challenge.

In addition to limiting screen time based on age range and academic requirement, there are child monitoring software programs to help you manage the ever-changing online, digital world.

Why is parental oversight in a child’s digital life important?

Just like the TV shows or music your child listens to or the kids they hang out with, how they are spending that screen time can impact your child’s well-being. Specific things you might want to be aware of your child being exposed to include:

  • Violent and risky behaviors
  • Stunts or challenge videos may encourage unsafe behaviors
  • Sexual content
  • Damaging stereotypes
  • Normalizing or glamorizing substance use
  • Cyberbullies and predators
  • Marketing or advertising targeting your child
  • False information

Additionally, too much screen time may lead to some of these issues:

  • Issues with sleep
  • Trouble performing academically
  • Less time reading books
  • Time away from family and friends
  • Competing with and limiting outdoor or physical activity
  • Weight issues
  • Mood regulation issues
  • Self-image problems, including but not limited to body image programs
  • Anxiety about missing out
  • Problems cultivating activities outside of their digital life



How do child monitoring programs help parents?

As discussed in our article 7 Smarter ways to keep kids safe online, developing positive and productive digital literacy can be vital to a child’s social and academic growth. With screen time not going to go away any time soon, it is important that kids get acclimated in a healthy manner. But with so many screens and busy lives, it is hard to manage not only your kids’ screen time but also what your child consumes while online. That’s where child monitoring programs can help you and your family create a good balance and healthy environment regardless of schedules.

Some key features to look for in a Child Monitoring Program include but are not limited to:

  • Screen time restrictions/Time limits: While screen time is inevitable these days, setting healthy limits will help your child live a more balanced life. When you’re not around to personally turn off or take away devices when their screen time is ‘up’, you can set up the amount of time they are allowed on certain devices during certain days (for instance, the weekday vs. weekend.) You can set up some of these programs to lock or block navigation to or from apps or the internet when their time limit is reached. Or you can have an alert sent to you when the screen time limit is reached to manage the process personally.
  • Content and app filters: Block access to certain apps, games, or content. Some programs even allow you to set up an alert when your child tries to access blocked options.
  • Activity monitoring and alert: Conveniently have an overview of your child’s usage on a dashboard. It helps give you a bigger picture of where your child’s focus is going digitally and where adjustments need to be made.
  • GPS/Location services: See your child’s location on a map and send alerts when your child reaches a common destination such as school or home.
  • Monitoring Calls and SMS: Have an overview of the number of calls and messages from callers, read texts exchanged, and block contacts.
  • Multiple platforms and types of devices: Pay attention to the different types of platforms and devices you can monitor, as well as what devices you can monitor your settings and child’s activity.



Top 4 Child Monitoring Programs

Below are some top child monitoring programs based on their price points and comprehensive service offerings.

Before installing such programs, it is highly recommended that you take the initiative to discuss the parameters of digital life expectations and responsibilities.

While the benefits of discussing expectations and the use of child monitoring programs were covered in the previous article, it bears repeating now.

Letting your child know what your expectations are and that a child monitoring program has been installed to assist you in managing those expectations will teach your child about transparency, build mutual trust, impact their decision-making, and reinforce the value of privacy within reason.


Editor’s Choice: Bark app – [2023 BEST CHOICE WINNER]

The simplicity of its features and pricing structure makes it an easy choice for most parents. 


Key features of Bark service include:

  • Keep kids safe
  • Web and app filtering
  • Content Monitoring and time limits
  • Set bedtimes
  • Pause internet access
  • Manage access times (set screen restrictions)
  • Location tracking and sharing
  • Can install on an unlimited number of devices
  • Plans start at $14/month


  • Connects to 30+ platforms, including many popular social media platforms
  • Runs quietly in the background of the child’s device and alerts you of something wrong
  • Automatic alerts via email and text based on Bark’s algorithm so you don’t have to monitor each message or exchange by your child
  • 7-day free trial before you commit
  • Bark Premium starts at $14/month
  • Support included in both levels of subscription
  • Available on iOS, MacOS, Window, Chromebook, Amazon Fire
  • You can pay monthly or annually


    • Some apps are easier to monitor with Android than iOS
    • Certain apps do not allow parents to monitor how long kids are using them
    • It is only available in the U.S., Australia, South Africa and Guam

Get Bark – with 7 day trial


Bark also has its own phone that comes with built-in controls and protections…

Bark Phone for Kids reviewed

Bark Phone for Kids

The Bark Phone is a fully customizable Samsung Android smartphone that monitors texts, apps, social media, web searches, has GPS location tracking, removes app downloads, allows you to set screen time limits, manage calls, and remotely lock – parents/caregivers receive alerts for dangers or concerning behaviors on a separate dashboard.

Bark Phone

Bark Phone comes with unlimited talk and text starting at $49/month – with no contract required. And it also comes with a subscription to the Bark app for the entire family which is great for kids who don’t have phones yet, or to monitor other devices in your home.

If your child already has a phone and you still want to use Bark, you can get Bark’s Premium software for just $14 per month. The software gives you tons of capabilities, including monitoring texts, email, YouTube, and 30+ apps and platforms, receiving parental monitoring alerts for issues like cyberbullying, online predators, suicidal ideation, and more, and getting insights into your child’s digital activities.

Get the Bark Phone




An aesthetically pleasing, well-rounded child monitoring program, Qustodio allows simply setting preferences and parameters around your child’s digital life.


Key Features include:

  • Screen time restrictions/Time limits
  • Content and app filters
  • Activity monitoring and alert
  • GPS/Location services
  • Monitoring Calls and SMS
  • Plans range from $54.95-$99.95 a year


  • Available on Child’s Windows, Mac, Chromebook, Android, iPhone, and Kindle
  • Available on parents’ iPhone/iPad, Android, or web dashboard
  • A free version of the program is available


  • The free version is only available on one device and includes basic protection features
  • Plans are by the number of devices as well as feature options; it can be expensive for larger families
  • Priority phone support and personalized help are extra under “Care Plus,” which is a $12.99 add-on for the base-level program
  • Pay annually only
  • Payments accepted only include Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal, and wire transfers.

Get Quostodio


Compare Bark vs. Qustodio here




Mobicip offers child monitoring services in 3 tiers of service, both based on the number of features offered plus the number of devices.

Key Features include:

  • App Blocked
  • Daily Screen time limits
  • Activity Schedules
  • Lock all devices
  • YouTube Monitor
  • GPS
  • Website Blocker
  • Plans range from $36-$96/year


  • Free 7-day trial: You can try their basic plan on one device for free without inputting your cc info and you can upgrade at any point
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Lets parent see full browsing and text history
  • Available on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Chromebooks, and Kindle Fire devices


  • Only billed annually
  • Online subscriptions require a Visa/Mastercard/American Express/Discover credit card

Get Mobicip



Norton Family

Norton Family is a child monitoring program that can be included as part of Norton 360 Deluxe and Norton 360 Premium. As a standalone option, it is only offered as a standalone program for $49.99 per year/1 device.

 Norton Family

Key Features include:

  • Block or monitor websites visited
  • Access request: The child sends a note within Norton Family if they disagree with blocked access or rule
  • Setting time limits
  • Search Supervision
  • App Supervision
  • Instant lock
  • Monthly/Weekly Reports
  • Location Supervision (on iOS or Android)
  • Plan: $49.99/year


  • 30-day free trial
  • App for parents or parent portal
  • The access request feature keeps lines of communication between the child and the supervisor


  • Allows you supervision of apps, but it doesn’t appear that you can block access to certain apps
  • Available as part of Norton 360 Deluxe or Norton 360 Premium or for $49.99/year/device
  • Parent control can only be installed and used on Windows™ PC, iOS, and Android™ device

Get Norton Family


Compare Bark vs. Norton Family here


Kurt’s key takeaway

In terms of best value and ease of use, we recommend Bark. As your family or digital lives grow, you can ensure every device is monitored and won’t cost you more.  Its easy-to-use interface and core feature offerings help any parent keep their child safe.

Have you had a conversation with your kid about expectations and responsibilities with digital use? Have you used any of the programs listed above? If so, tell us what worked and what didn’t by commenting below.




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