Parental Control Software Parental Control Software Reviews & Prices

The Internet is always on, but parents can't always be around to see what their kids are looking at. That's why there's parental control software. Parental control software helps parents, guardians, and other computer administrators monitor and set limits on online activity. When testing this software we kept three things in mind: parental peace of mind, teen usability, and the program's resistance to circumvention. In other words, the software had to be able to monitor activity and block objectionable content, but also not frustrate teens and kids who need to use the Internet for legitimate reasons. Perhaps most importantly, it should stand up to attempts to bypass the software, something reflected in our "kid-proof rating." Our compare chart lets you know which were the most resistant to our attempts. It also lists other features offered, but we suggest you read the reviews to find out how well these features worked. Check out our FAQ for more on how we reviewed this software, as well as for tips on how to set it up.

Updated 05-24-2017

Parental Control Software Comparison Chart

Service Name & RatingCostPrograms MonitoredSpecial FeaturesSocial Network MonitoringReports/AlertsKid-Proof RatingBottom Line
Net Nanny $39.99/yr or $29.99/yr
(w/NextAdvisor discount)

additional computers/devices
Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, SafariProfanity masking; ratings-controlled gaming; picture, forum, blog controlsProfile reporting: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, LinkedIn; option to block unsupported sitesSearchable web history reports; customizable real time cell phone/email alertsExcellent: succesfully blocks proxies and filters URLs Smart block list, proxy-resistance and good interface; monitors the most popular social networks
WebWatcher $160/yr or $99.95/yr
(w/NextAdvisor discount)

$67/yr renewals

Money-back guarantee
Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome; Instant messaging on Yahoo!, AIM, MSNTriggered screen shots; keylogger; runs invisiblyOptional Smart Camera can record activity; monitors various social media sites, but restricted to certain devicesSaves data on web for 15 days; email alerts for an additional pricePoor: very open to circumvention Monitoring is smart and comprehensive, but with several caveats: a higher price tag, a weak site blocker and inability to handle proxies
SafeEyes $49.95/yr for 3 PCs

$69.95/yr (w/McAfee Internet Security)

15-day free trial; 30-day money back guarantee
Internet Explorer, Firefox;
Instant messenger (Yahoo!, AIM, MSN, ICQ)
Multiple levels of blocking severity; Some ability to block program accessMonitors social networks for profanity and suggestive terms; option to block social networks it doesn't monitorDaily or weekly reports; instant email, text or phone alerts for violations; no on-demand reportingOK: blocks some proxies that allow kids to bypass controls Somewhat easy for kids to get around; frustrating and expensive for parents; does not cover any device other than computers
KidsWatch $29.95 for Time Management plan

$49.95 for Professional plan

15-day free trial
Windows Internet browsers, Facebook, Myspace, Yahoo, AOL AIM, MSN, ICQ and Jabber Time management, instant message monitoring, block sites and programs, advanced admin settingsFacebook, Myspace, Yahoo, AIM, MSN, ICQ and Jabber Searchable web history email reports, messaging email alertsOk: Does its job for the most part; however, very buggy program allows some sites that should be blocked to be accessed. Performs as expected for the most part; very buggy program causes more harm than good in many circumstances
CyberPatrol $39.95/yr for 3 PCsIE, FirefoxIM-level profanity masking; multiple configurable age groupsNoneWeb history reports; does not record chat activityPoor: very open to circumvention Poor blocklist, easy bypass, no chat monitoring, and confusing interface
Service Name & RatingCostPrograms MonitoredSpecial FeaturesSocial Network MonitoringReports/AlertsKid-Proof RatingBottom Line
McGruff SafeGuard $8.49/3 mos,
$7.49/6 mos,
IE, Firefox; instant messaging (Yahoo!, AIM, MSN, ICQ)Keylogger; password captureYes, monitors activities on many social networksDaily summaries and custom alertsPoor: very open to circumvention Despite some good monitoring it's buggy and easy to circumvent
Avira Social Network Protection FreeNone; only monitors social media accountsFacebook reporting; friend analysis; safety watch words; reputation watch words, reputation photo checkFacebook, Twitter, InstagramEmails high-risk alerts; weekly summary of other alerts; detailed alerts only viewable when logged into accountKids must grant parents access to their social media profiles to use this service Strictly for social media monitoring; seems to have decent tools for this but the service was not functional for us at all

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