Pros / Qustodio can monitor internet use on your child’s computer, cell phone and tablet at the same time.
Cons / It doesn’t have live customer service options like live chat or telephone support.
Verdict / Qustodio is the best parental software because it has the most tools for monitoring and controlling your child’s online activity and still manages to be easy to install and use.
Qustodio makes the internet safer for your children with tools that help you keep tabs on what they look at, who they interact with and how much time they spend online. Even better, this parental control software monitors your child’s activity on all their devices, including smartphones and tablets.
- Filter Categories
- Licenses Included
Filtering, Blocking & Monitoring
Qustodio has 26 filter categories, and when you select one, the software blocks your child’s access to websites that fall under that classification. Categories include topics like pornography, gambling, violence, drugs, alcohol and religion. For each category, you can choose if you want websites to be completely blocked or allow you child to access them but with an instant alert that they are on a watched site.
You can monitor your child’s activity on social media sites to make sure they post appropriate content and to see how other people interact with them. The Facebook-specific activity recorder lets you see the images your child’s friends upload to the site, so you can ensure your child isn’t exposed unsavory or dangerous images posted by others. If you feel like your child isn’t safe or responsible on social media sites, Qustodio lets you block them completely.
When you enable the file-sharing filter, your child can’t upload and share any files, whether as email attachments, social media posts or video in chats. This filter also blocks your child from receiving files until you to determine they are safe.
This parental time control program lets you limit how long your child is online. You can block internet access during times when they should be focused on other activities such as homework, chores, family time or sleep. Because Qustodio lets you create individual profiles, each child can have their own time schedule.
One of the software’s greatest blocking and monitoring features is its online gaming tracking. This filter lets you determine what types of games your children can download or play online. Because Qustodio captures chat and instant messages, you can see if one of your kids shares personal information while online gaming. You can also block all online game sites or whitelist a few special games you feel comfortable letting your kids play. In addition to keeping your children safe from online predators and shielding them from dangerous content, this feature helps keep you whole computer system safe, since malware and viruses tend to hide in online gaming files.
If you use Qustodio to monitor activity on your child’s cell phone, you can use the web-blocking and time-control tools, and you can block specific contacts – blocked contacts can’t text with or talk to your child. You can disable text messaging features or capture texts your child sends and receives. In addition, the software’s GPS locator lets you know if your child is where they are supposed to be, and you can use it to find the phone if it is lost or stolen.
Recording & Alerts
Knowing what your child does online is just as important as blocking websites. Qustodio lets you set alerts and customize how and when they are sent as well as the urgency level for each trigger. For example, you can opt to receive an instant text alert if your child accesses a monitored website, starts chatting with someone online, or posts a status or image on Facebook. Instant alerts help you deal with potential threats instantly. Since you can access the parent portal and filter settings remotely, you can quickly block an application until you can talk with your child about the incident. If you don’t need to know about a certain activity immediately, you can opt for an email alert or just wait until you next log into the online parent portal.
Qustodio’s dashboard displays graphs and facts so you can quickly see where your child spends most of their time on the web and how much combined time they are online. You can also see if they attempted to access a website that has caution alerts set or has been banned completely as well as any search terms they used.
One of Qustodio’s best features is its screenshot tool that snaps pictures your kids’ screens and displays the images in chronological order on the parent dashboard. This gives you a great visual of exactly what your child sees when they visit a website, use a chat room or play a game online – while the site itself may be safe to visit, it can house inappropriate ads and links.
Another important feature is the panic button. It installs on your child’s smartphone as part of the parent cell phone monitoring portion of the program. If you child feels they are in any kind of danger, whether they are lost or at a party that has alcohol, they can press the panic button and you receive a text alert with their location. You can then find your child and help them out. Unfortunately, Qustodio doesn’t have a summary reports feature to see all the online activity of your children individually to assess things like which search terms need to be blocked or monitored. This is a feature common to the programs in our lineup, including SpyAgent.
Installation & Support
Qustodio is easy to install on any device. The configuration wizard walks you through each step of the process, showing you how to set up filters, web blockers and alerts so you can start monitoring online activity fast. The software is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems and works well on both Android devices and iPhones. You receive three licenses when you purchase the most basic Qustodio plan, though you can add more.
If you need help with Qustodio, you can send the company an email using an online contact form. There isn’t any live support available – you can’t contact the company by phone or live chat. However, Qustodio’s knowledgebase is extensive, easy to understand and searchable.
Qustodio is the best parental software we reviewed. It keeps your children safe from online dangers by monitoring internet activity on computers, tablets and smartphones. The software can send you immediate text alerts if you child attempts to access dangerous content, and you can view posts and other interactions on social media, including images shared by their friends. The cell phone panic button is an extra safety tool that helps your child quickly and discretely let you know they are in a dangerous situation – Qustodio shows you exactly where they are located so you can get to them fast.