When kids get their first cell phone, parents are anxious about what content their offspring will consume. First and foremost, parents should talk to their children in advance about responsible use. To be on the safe side, however, many opt for a special app to child-proof the cell phone. With these apps you can monitor facebook messages for example. We have tested the three best free parental control apps for Android and iOS for you.

In addition to the cell phone parental controls that you can set up on your child’s iPhone or Android device, there are numerous external parental control apps. Among other things, these apps can be used to restrict usage times, limit or block certain content, or even track the location and monitor activities on social networks. We’ll show you three of the best free apps to protect your kids.

In addition to being accessible, smartphones nowadays also fulfill a social function, which is why the question of the first cell phone usually comes up early. But parents also often feel safer if their offspring can be reached at any time. Once the first cell phone has arrived, it is important to handle it responsibly. A cell phone parental control helps to keep an eye on the children’s usage behavior. We show you how to activate parental controls on Android and iOS devices.

apps for child protectionThe question of when children should get their own cell phone cannot be answered in a general way, since various factors play a role. When the time finally comes, it is important that parents and children get to grips with the device together in advance and discuss all the important functions.

Among other things, the child should be able to recognize where costs are incurred, how advertising is handled, and how much and what information can be shared on the Internet. It also makes sense to create rules for cell phone use together.

To be on the safe side, many parents decide to additionally equip their children’s devices with a cell phone parental control. We have selected the most common methods for you and show you how to child-proof a cell phone.

Kaspersky SafeKids – The Practical One

The parental control app Kaspersky SafeKids, from the security software company of the same name, offers some helpful features in the free version to make your child’s cell phone use a little safer. For example, you can restrict Internet and app use or set the duration of device use individually. Furthermore, the app provides helpful advice on various topics in some places. However, you will have to do without the location query or detailed information on cell phone use in the free version.

After connecting the two devices, parents can set the desired restrictions. For example, inappropriate content can be excluded from Google search results and YouTube, website categories (e.g. weapons, gambling, obscenities) can be set to Allow, Show warning or Prohibited, and access to all websites can be blocked. You can also set the daily usage time and block apps with age restrictions or sorted by categories (e.g. communication, entertainment). In case of prohibited or questionable activities, you will be notified and your child can ask you for permission to gain access.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • helpful advice
  • possibility to create multiple child accounts
  • direct notification in case of violations
  • many functions only available in premium version
  • website filter only works with Chrome
  • requires access to many device functions

YouTube Kids – The Uncomplicated

With the YouTube Kids app, unlike most parental control apps, there is no direct connection between your phone and your child’s phone. You simply set up the app on your youngster’s device and then have two options for determining the content your child can access. You can select an age level and YouTube Kids will show you content that is appropriate for them. Or you can log in with your Google account and determine the content yourself. This way, you can approve individual videos or collections and watch the videos before you share them.

You have the choice between the age categories under 4 years, 5-7 years or 8-12 years. The app excludes inappropriate content for the age group accordingly, including in the search results. However, since the parental control app does not check every video manually, you have the option to report videos if you still discover inappropriate content. The videos are divided into series, music, learning and discovering. You can also deactivate the search function and streaming, and set a time limit of up to 60 minutes. Any change to the settings is only possible by solving a math problem or by creating a security code yourself, so your child cannot make any changes later.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • customizable
  • clearly arranged
  • no advertising
  • settings can only be made directly on the child’s device

FamiSafe – The comprehensive one

FamiSafe is one of the more comprehensive parental control apps. However, the biggest drawback is that the free trial version is only available for three days. After that, the app costs €4.99 to €9.99 per month, depending on the subscription length. However, anyone who values holistic parental control and monitoring, e.g. for very young children, is well advised to use FamiSafe. You are not only shown the current location of your child, but also any online and app activities. A web filter and fixed screen times can also be set.

After both devices have been connected, you have a variety of options for child-proofing your child’s cell phone. You can set a general daily limit for screen time or restrict it to individual apps, adjust the web filter for certain categories, or control your child’s activities on YouTube. To prevent cyberbullying, the premium version sends you notifications about suspicious photos on the device and inappropriate content on the social networks your child uses.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Extensive functions
  • display of location and battery
  • only 3 days free trial
  • high battery consumption
  • needs access to many device functions

Conclusion

The free version of Kaspersky SafeKids does not have quite as many functions available, and not all activities are tracked in such detail. However, it is still well suited for making your child’s cell phone use a little safer in general. FamiSafe also has many functions in the free trial version, but these have to be replaced by a paid premium version after just three days. After that, however, you have extensive insight into your children’s smartphone activities. Especially the parental control apps with many functions consume a lot of battery, since they are constantly active in the background. In addition, you have to be aware that with particularly extensive apps of this type, all possible accesses to the device have to be allowed. YouTube Kids is limited to regulating only one application, but it is fast, simple and straightforward.

The 3 best free apps for child protection

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