Pros / You can use this program on computers, cell phones and tablets.
Cons / Qustodio doesn’t offer live support.
Verdict / Qustodio is a great tool that keeps your children safe online, keeps tabs on them when they are away from home and helps you locate them if they are in trouble.
We believe Qustodio is the best monitoring software because it protects your children online better than any other program we reviewed, and it’s easy to install and use. It’s compatible with computers, tablets and cell phones, so you can monitor your kids on every device they use to access the internet.
- Licenses Included
Filters & Monitoring
Qustodio has 26 filter categories, including those that block sites with pornography, violence and gambling. It can also block gaming, online shopping and news sites.
When you select a filter, Qustodio blocks all online content that falls under that category. However, sometimes the program blocks sites that are safe for your child to visit. For example, when we filtered out gaming sites, the software even blocked webpages with educational games that are fine for children to access. The same thing happened when we used Qustodio to block news sites on one of our tester’s home computers and their child then needed to look up an article for a school assignment. In situations like these, you can add URLs of approved sites to the software’s whitelist so your kids can access them, and the application continues to block other websites that fall under the selected filter category.
You can enable Qustodio’s file-sharing blocking feature to keep your child from sending or receiving images, documents, videos and other files over chat or email, which ensures people don’t send them inappropriate attachments. The program also captures email and instant messages so you can read the exact conversations your child has.
In addition to filtering content, Qustodio lets you completely block access to the internet when your child should be paying attention in school, sleeping, or doing homework and chores. And since the software is compatible with both computers and mobile devices, these same filters and time controls apply to the cell phones and tablets the application is installed on.
Not many monitoring programs record you kids’ online activity, but Qustodio captures everything. You can see the sites they visit, the names of people they chat with, how long they spend on each site, any links they share on social media and the videos they watched on YouTube.
If your child attempts to visit a blocked site, a warning message appears on the screen to tell them it is dangerous, and Qustodio will record the site information so you can see what they tried to access. The software also logs the emails your child sends and receives and every search they perform. You can track this activity without having to jailbreak or root your child’s cell phone, which is an important feature for cell phone monitoring that doesn’t interfere with the mechanics of your phone, or possibly void the warranty.
When you install Qustodio on your child’s cell phone, you can use the program to keep tabs on where they go with the included GPS tracker. You can also set the app to alert you if your child wanders outside a designated area. This feature is useful if the cell phone or tablet is lost or stolen.
One of the Qustodio mobile app’s best safety tools is its panic button, which your child can quickly press it they are lost or otherwise feel unsafe. When they press the panic button, the software sends you a text with your child’s location so you can get to them quickly.
Reporting & Notifications
Qustodio notifies you by text as soon as your child attempts to access a blocked site, starts chatting online, or tries to send or receive a file so you can intervene quickly. Many of the software’s competitors only show notifications on the online dashboard, so you have to log into your account to see what your kids were up to after the fact.
The program provides a lot of detailed reports about what your kids do online, but our favorite reporting feature is the screenshots Qustodio takes intermittently so you can see exactly what your children see online. This helps you keep track of their friends’ social media accounts so you know if they post inappropriate content for your kids to see as well as if there are any risqué ads or images on sites that may be otherwise ok.
Installation & Support
We found Qustodio very easy to set up on our computers, laptops, cell phones and tablets. When we did have questions, we found the answers in the company’s searchable knowledgebase, which includes very good instructions and images to help you troubleshoot. It’s good the knowledgebase is so informative because Qustodio doesn’t offer any live support over the phone or email.
Qustodio comes with a minimum of five licenses, so you can install the program on multiple devices. There is no limit number of user profiles you can set up on each device, so each of your kids can have their own filters and time settings. You get reports and notifications for each individual user and from each device, and you can view them all in the online parent portal or through the Qustodio mobile app.
Qustodio is our top pick for parental control software because it is easy to use, thoroughly monitors kids’ online activity and does a good job blocking inappropriate sites. It comes with enough licenses to install on both your home computer and your kids’ cell phones, so you always know what they are doing online. Qustodio doesn’t offer live tech support, but it has great online articles that can help answer your questions.