Pros / You don’t need to root or jailbreak your child’s phone to monitor it with this app.
Cons / It isn’t the most intuitive program to use.
Verdict / WebWatcher monitors a lot, including all images taken and saved on your child’s phone. It also runs in stealth mode and provides transcripts of chat messages your child has through social media apps. However, it can be difficult to use.
WebWatcher isn’t the most intuitive cell phone monitoring program we tested, and there are features other programs manage better. Still, overall, it is a good tool for tracking your child’s online activity on their smartphone. Also, while other cell phone monitoring programs require you to root or jailbreak your child’s phone to use some features, WebWatcher doesn’t – you just download the app. You can request that WebWatcher run in stealth mode so your child doesn’t know the program is on their phone monitoring their activity.
This program shows you transcripts of messages sent between your child and their contacts on popular social media chat apps such as Snapchat, Viber, Tinder and Facebook Messenger. If you add words and phrases to WebWatcher’s alert words list, the program notifies you when your child sends or receives messages that include them. It also alerts you if someone posts on social media about your child or asks for personal information. These are all great ways to cut down on cyberbullying and stalking and to keep online predators from interacting with your child. WebWatcher also has a remote lock feature so you can restrict your child’s access to their phone, with the exception of the dial paid – that way, they can still call you.
In particular, we were impressed with the program’s photo activity log. In addition to showing you the photos your child captures with their cell phone camera, it lets you view the images saved to the camera roll. As such, you can also see the pictures your child downloads and the screenshots they snap. You’ll also know if they post an image to social media.
However, WebWatcher has a few drawbacks. First, it sends all alerts to you via the parent app or online portal, not by text. This means you need to have your account active and open to see alerts from your own phone. Some situations are serious enough that quick notification is important, and in those cases, it is better to have a program that sends text alerts. Only a handful of cell phone monitoring software actually offer this feature, including Surfie and Mobistealth.
WebWatcher also doesn’t let you filter or block inappropriate websites. While a company representative told us the keyword feature somewhat blocks inappropriate content, we were still able to visit and view all content, even with keywords such as “guns” and “pornography” on our alert words list.
It’s a little tricky to figure out how to set up WebWatcher. It was easy to install the apps on our cell phones. However, we needed to view a walkthrough to find some of the settings and learn how to use some of the features. Even after a couple days of using the program, it still took us time to remember all the steps to find information beyond the alerts.
WebWatcher has both an Android and an iPhone application. It also makes parental software that monitors your child’s online activity while they are on a computer. You can learn more about it in our review of WebWatcher’s computer monitoring program.