8 Best Parental Control Apps for Teenagers in 2023

Scientific studies have shown that porn can have a range of negative effects on teenagers, from an increased engagement in unsafe sex to porn addiction.

To best protect your teen from inappropriate online content, a parental control app is a great solution, especially one that works across multiple devices.

Here are eight of the best parental control apps for teenagers to consider:

  1. Canopy – Best for all-around protection
  2. Kaspersky Safe Kids – Most affordable
  3. Qustodio – Best for tracking calls and SMS
  4. OurPact – Best for screen time allowance
  5. Bark – Best for monitoring cyberbullying
  6. Net Nanny – Best for real-time monitoring
  7. Norton Family – Best for reducing distractions at school
  8. FamilyTime – Best for monitoring teen driving

Let’s first start with an overview in a neat comparison chart.

8 Best Parental Control Apps for Teenagers

Here are the details you need to know for each of these eight parental control apps.

Feature Comparison Chart – All 8 Apps at a Glance

best parental control apps for teends

1. Canopy Parental Control – All Devices

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

With Canopy, your teen can still be an active member of their digital social circle without risk of being exposed to any unwanted online content.

What makes Canopy stand out are its smart filters, sexting prevention (which is crucial for teenagers), and anti-tampering features. You can even filter out inappropriate images or videos within websites (like a lingerie site or Twitter) without the need to block them completely!

Sarah from Family Tech reviewed Canopy’s parental control app beautifully below. Click the video play button to get an introduction to the benefits and features of Canopy:


Key features include:

  • Blocking all pornographic sites, instantly (even if it’s a new site)
  • Filtering out suggestive content within websites
  • Blocking specific apps and websites
  • Sexting prevention – the app detects when a suggestive picture was taken with your teen’s phone
  • Anti-tampering features – your teen won’t be able to remove or disable Canopy in any way
  • Screen Time Management – Includes Internet Down Time, a time you can set when your kids can’t go online

Device compatibility:

  • Android devices (Android 5.0 or higher)
  • iOS devices (iOS 12 or higher)
  • MacOS computers
  • Windows computers
  • Chromebook (Chrome OS devices)

Pricing:

  • 7-day free trial
  • Pricing plans from $7.99 – $15.99 per month (annual plans with over 15% savings available)

Pros:

  • Protects your teens without invading their privacy
  • Manual control over individual websites
  • Option to track the location of your teen
  • Excellent customer service
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Notifications can be slow
  • Can drain device battery

Protect your teen from exposure to explicit online content. Try Canopy now.

2. Kaspersky Safe Kids

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Kaspersky is a household name in the world of antivirus software.

What we like about the Kaspersky Safe Kids app is that its settings can be customized to fit the age of the child you’re protecting.

That way, your teen can use their allocated screen time however they see fit, and you can get regular reports on their activity to understand their interests.

Key features:

  • GPS tracking
  • Monitor web, app, and YouTube activity
  • Block inappropriate content, as well as specific websites and apps
  • Screen time management
  • Child limit bar – your teen can view and track the rules you set up in the app

Device compatibility:

  • Android devices (Android 5.0 or higher)
  • iOS devices (iOS 15 or higher)
  • MacOS computers
  • Windows computers

Pricing:

  • No free trial
  • Only annual plan available: $14.99 per year (for one user account)

Pros:

  • Available in multiple languages
  • Affordable
  • Can be customized to fit teens

Cons:

  • No groundbreaking features
  • Not for older iOS devices
  • Can be circumvented

3. Qustodio

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Qustodio is an app that has two versions: one for families and one for schools. Qustodio for schools allows entire institutions to build safe online environments for their students.

As a parental control app, Qustodio has many classic features we’re used to, as well as a couple more that separate it from the rest of the pack.

Key features:

  • Block specific websites and apps
  • Real-time insights into your teen’s browsing history, YouTube searches, and similar
  • Track calls and SMS texting (and read the texts)
  • Locate your teen anytime, anywhere
  • Enable your teen to send an SOS alert if they need you

Device compatibility:

  • Android devices
  • iOS devices
  • MacOS computers
  • Windows computers
  • Chromebook (Chrome OS devices)
  • Amazon Fire tablets

Pricing:

  • No free trial
  • Only annual plans: from $54.95 – $137.95 per year

Pros:

  • Helps establish healthy digital technology habits
  • Clean and modern UI
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • Heavily invades your teen’s privacy
  • Poor customer support
  • Glitchy

4. OurPact

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

OurPact is a parental control app with an interesting concept – it enables the parents to allocate a specific amount of screen time allowance per day so that the teen can spend it however they want.

This is a unique concept that can prove to be extremely useful in motivating teens to do house work, run errands, and similar.

Key features:

  • Block websites, browsers (Chrome and Safari), texting, and apps
  • Screen time allowance for healthy device habits
  • Direct insight into your teen’s online activity
  • Family locator
  • Block adult content (only on iOS)

Device compatibility:

  • Only Android and iOS devices

Pricing:

  • 14-day free trial
  • Free tier available (only one device and 5 manual blocks)
  • From $6.99 – $9.99 per month

Pros:

  • Helps your teen develop healthy screen time habits
  • Blocks texting
  • Option to set app usage on a specific schedule

Cons:

  • Limited device compatibility
  • Glitchy
  • Teens can find workarounds for the app

5. Bark

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Similarly to Canopy, Bark is a parental control app that allows you to manage your teen’s screen time, filter out unwanted websites, and set notification alerts when your teen arrives or leaves a certain location.

However, there are some downsides to Bark that are worth taking into consideration. The app doesn’t allow for much privacy and independence for your teens.

It is also not as flexible – if you want to block certain content on a website, you’d have to block the entire website. There is no smart filtering feature that allows you to still use the website without seeing unwanted content.

Key features:

  • Monitor your teen’s content and get alerts for bullying, sexual content, etc.
  • Manage your teen’s screen time
  • Block specific websites and apps
  • Get notification alerts

Device compatibility:

  • Android devices (Android 5.0 or higher)
  • iOS devices (iOS 11 or higher)
  • MacOS computers
  • Windows computers
  • Chromebook (Chrome OS devices)
  • Amazon Fire tablets
  • Smart TVs
  • Gaming consoles

Pricing:

  • 7-day free trial
  • Pricing plans from $5 – $49 per month

Pros:

  • Scans activity in over 30+ apps and social media platforms
  • Can also alert for cyberbullying, online predators, and suicidal ideation
  • Available on a lot of different devices

Cons:

  • Confusing UI – not intuitive
  • Too much in-app promotion
  • Difficult to sync across different devices (iOS, Android, Windows, etc.)
Read our guide: Canopy vs. Bark

6. Net Nanny

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Having been around 1996, Net Nanny is one of the most long-standing parental control apps on our list.

Its features are supported by AI, and it offers a whole host of control options you may want to try out. In terms of real-time monitoring, it doesn’t get much better than Net Nanny.

However, this app is a bit pricier than most others on our list, and it doesn’t offer the option of a free trial.

Key features:

  • Family feed – get real-time insight into your family’s online activity
  • Social media and YouTube monitoring
  • Screen time management
  • Specific website blocking
  • Blocking pornography in real time

Device compatibility:

  • Android devices (Android 6.0 or higher)
  • iOS devices (iOS 12.1 or higher)
  • MacOS computers
  • Windows computers
  • Chromebook (Chrome OS devices)
  • Amazon Fire tablets

Pricing:

  • No free trial
  • Only annual plans: from $39.99 – $89.99 per year

Pros:

  • Real-time insight into your teen’s device and online activity
  • Manage devices remotely
  • Highly customizable control settings

Cons:

  • Complicated installation
  • Can be easily removed by child or teen
  • Glitchy

7. Norton Family

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Perhaps you’ve heard of Norton – the leading provider of antivirus and anti-malware software. Since they’re working in online protection anyway, it made sense for them to also invest their efforts in releasing a parental control app.

Norton Family has the standard parental control app features you may expect, coupled with a few more interesting ones (see below).

Key features:

  • School Time – allow only those websites that your teen’s school approves, while blocking all other distractions while school is in session
  • 30-day location history of where your teen has been
  • Screen time management
  • Block specific websites and apps
  • Activity monitoring – websites, apps, and YouTube videos

Device compatibility:

  • Android devices
  • iOS devices
  • MacOS computers
  • Windows computers
  • Note: not all features are available on all devices

Pricing:

  • 30-day free trial
  • Only annual plan: $49.99 per year

Pros:

  • Helps your teen find balance in their life without distractions
  • Complete insight into your teen’s online activity
  • Long free trial period

Cons:

  • Glitchy
  • No text messaging monitoring
  • Not all features are available in all countries

8. FamilyTime

Rating: ⭐⭐

The final spot on our list goes to FamilyTime.

While FamilyTime has some good features on paper, and possibly was a great parental control app at some point, unfortunately, today it misses the mark for many users.

Here are the basics you need to know about FamilyTime.

Key features:

  • Social media monitoring (YouTube, TikTok, etc.)
  • Block specific content categories, apps, and websites
  • Alerts when your teen is driving over the speed limit
  • SOS alert option
  • Screen time management

Device compatibility:

  • Android devices
  • iOS devices
  • Amazon Fire tablets

Pricing:

  • 3-day free trial
  • Only annual plans: from $27 – $69 per year

Pros:

  • In-depth reports on teen activity
  • Intuitive UI
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Limited device compatibility
  • Incredibly glitchy
  • Some features don’t work
  • Poor customer support

How We Made Our Selection

At Canopy, we understand the importance of keeping teenagers safe online while respecting their privacy and independence.

We took our time researching and analyzing various parental control apps in the market to compile a comprehensive list of the 8 best apps for teenagers.

Here are the criteria we used to rank the apps:

  1. Features: We analyzed the features of each app, such as content filtering, screen time management, location tracking, and social media monitoring, among others.
  2. User Experience (UX): We assessed the app’s interface, ease of use, and customization options.
  3. Compatibility: We evaluated how well each app integrates with different operating systems, such as iOS and Android.
  4. Customer Support: We researched each app’s customer support options, including availability, response time, and helpfulness.
  5. Price: We considered the pricing options and the value for money each app provides.
  6. User reviews: We read through user reviews on different platforms to get an overall impression of each app’s user experience.

FAQs – Guide to Choosing a Parental Control App for Teenagers

What is a parental control app?

A parental control app is a software application that allows parents to monitor and control their children’s online activity.

The app can be installed on the child’s device or the parent’s device, enabling the parent to set limits on screen time, restrict access to certain websites or apps, and monitor text messages, social media activity, and location.

What should I look for in a parental control app for teenagers?

When selecting a parental control app for teenagers, it’s important to consider the features offered, ease of use, and compatibility with your teen’s device.

Look for an app that allows you to set customized restrictions, offers real-time alerts and notifications, and provides an intuitive user interface.

Additionally, consider the app’s customer support options and pricing plans.

Can I monitor my teen’s devices without them knowing about it?

In most cases, parental control apps can be installed and used without the teen’s knowledge.

However, we strongly recommend being transparent with your teen about monitoring their device usage to establish trust and respect their privacy. This conversation can also help you establish clear boundaries and expectations around their online behavior.

Are parental controls safe?

Parental controls are designed to help keep children safe online, but it’s important to choose a reputable app from a trusted provider.

It’s also important to use parental controls in conjunction with open communication with your teen and to respect their privacy and autonomy.

While parental control apps can be effective tools, they are not a substitute for parental supervision and guidance.

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