We tested and reviewed Norton Family as part of our computer monitoring software comparison, but it’s also a good option if your looking for a cell phone parental control program. Norton Family is compatible with Android and iOS mobile devices, and we had no trouble setting it up on either. You manage all your kids’ devices from a single parent portal you access through either the Norton Family app or its website.
From the parent portal, you control when your child has access to their device and to the internet. You can also decide how many hours total each day they can be online. When they meet their max time, Norton displays a message to let them know their time is up, and it locks down their device.
Norton also gives you a lot of control over what your child can see and do during their allowed internet time. There are 22 filter categories, including for topics such as pornography, weapons and gaming. When you enable a filter, the program blocks sites with that type of content so you child can’t access them. In fact, filtered websites don’t even show up in search results. If your child attempts to visit a restricted site, Norton displays a message explaining that the website is blocked and why. All activity, including attempts to access restricted sites, is recorded for you to review later.
Norton Family also lets you read transcripts of texts sent between your child and their friends, and you can block apps. In addition, you can access your child’s contacts list, including contact information. Further, it can tap into the monitored device’s GPS system so you can track where the device is.
The program alerts you when your child uses a restricted search term, tries to share personal information, or attempts to disable or uninstall the Norton Family app. These alerts are sent through the parent portal and email. However, you don’t receive text alerts, which are faster.
Although Norton family is a great program, it’s missing several important features. For one, it doesn’t log keystrokes. A keylogger would let you capture passwords and more information your child shares through chat apps. The program also doesn’t track photo and video activity on your child’s phone, so you can’t remotely see the images they snap or save. However, you can block video players and apps like Hulu and YouTube so your child can’t watch videos using their cell phone or tablet.
We also noticed that Norton Family didn’t capture the search terms our kids used and the websites they visited unless they used the Norton browser included with the program – it didn’t monitor the browser included with the test cell phone as closely. In addition, Norton Family caused our test device to run a lot slower. If this is a deal breaker for you, we suggest looking at Mobicip. It includes the tools Norton is missing and more, plus it doesn’t tax phones’ resources.
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