Net Nanny Review: Quick Expert Summary
Net Nanny offers lots of parental control features to keep your child safe both online and offline. It has easy-to-use apps, great customer service, and reasonably-priced plans that are backed with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Net Nanny has all industry-standard parental control features like web and app filtering, screen time management, location tracking, and activity reports. It can only block 120+ apps on iOS devices, but it’s able to block access to any app on Android, including apps like phone and camera. It also has extra features that allow it to monitor YouTube activity (only in a browser), lock the settings menu (on Android), and protect the app from being deleted (not available on iOS).
While I really like Net Nanny, it has a few drawbacks that are hard to ignore — its YouTube monitoring feature is unable to monitor activity in the YouTube app, it can’t block as many iOS apps as top competitor Qustodio, and it doesn’t let you set time limits for specific apps.
Net Nanny allows 1-20 simultaneous connections depending on which of its 3 annual plans you choose. No matter which you pick, though, all of the plans include a 14-day money-back guarantee.
|🏅 Overall Rank||Ranked 8th from 13 parental controls|
|🖥️ Web & App Filtering||✅|
|⏲️ Time Limits||✅|
|📍 Location Tracking||✅|
|💸 Starting Price||$39.99 / year|
|📀 Supported Operating Systems||iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Kindle Fire|
|📱 Number of Devices||1 – 20|
|🎁 Free Plan||❌|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||14 days|
Net Nanny Full Review
I spent weeks researching and testing the Net Nanny parental control app on my Android and Windows devices to determine how it compares to its top competitors. It’s safe to say that Net Nanny is one of the best parental control apps on the market.
Net Nanny includes all essential parental control features to help you keep your child safe while browsing the web, social media, and YouTube. It also lets you manage when and how long your child is allowed to use their device, and it allows you to track their location in real-time. All of its apps are intuitive and make it easy to view how your child is using their device at a glance and manage all of its settings.
Net Nanny has 3 annual plans, which only differ based on what type of devices are supported and how many simultaneous connections are allowed. All of Net Nanny’s plans include a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Net Nanny Features
Net Nanny has the following parental control features:
- Website and app filtering — choose which websites and apps your child can access.
- Screen time limits — limit the amount of time your child is allowed to use their device each day.
- Location tracking — find out where your child is and where they’ve been.
- Scheduling — set daily device usage schedules.
- Activity reports — view what your child has been doing online, including search history, app usage, screen time, and more.
- YouTube monitoring — view YouTube search and watch history (only works with browsers).
Net Nanny also allows you to lock the settings menu to keep your children from attempting to disable the app, and it provides uninstall protection that requires your account password to delete the app (not available on iOS devices).
Net Nanny’s web filtering works pretty well. It allows you to choose what type of content your child is able to view online — it uses advanced text-analysis to scan each website your child visits in real-time. Net Nanny is then able to determine the context of words like “breast” or “drug”, allowing your child to visit websites that may be talking about anatomy, cooking, medicine, etc., while blocking access to websites with adult content or those related to street drugs.
It can automatically monitor for 10+ categories of content, including Nudity, Gambling, Drugs, and more, but you can also create custom rules and monitor any keywords you want. Net Nanny gives you 3 options for monitoring and filtering content — you can allow or block access to a particular category, or you can allow your child to access the content but receive an alert when they do. It also lets you create lists of websites that are always allowed or blocked regardless of the filtering rules.
I really like that Net Nanny allows you to create custom filters — if you want to detect or block a type of content that Net Nanny doesn’t automatically monitor, creating a new rule is incredibly easy. You just create a list of keywords for Net Nanny to detect, and it will either block the category or alert you when your child accesses content containing any keywords you’ve listed.
Qustodio is able to detect 25+ categories of content, but it doesn’t allow you to create custom filters. Net Nanny’s web filtering also works using a VPN. I tested it against some of the best VPNs on the market and they weren’t able to bypass Net Nanny’s parental controls.
Net Nanny also has a couple of extra features that help prevent your child from viewing mature content:
- Force safe search — automatically turns on safe search when using Chrome, Edge, Safari, Firefox, and YouTube.
- Mask profanity on websites — scans text on websites and replaces profane words with “#####”.
Net Nanny’s website filtering worked really well in all of my tests — I tested it on my Android and Windows devices using Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Brave browsers. I was impressed that Net Nanny was able to block restricted websites on every device and browser I tested, even while in incognito mode. Bark and Qustodio aren’t able to block websites on the Brave browser, letting children bypass the filter if the browser isn’t fully blocked.
If your child is blocked from a website, they can easily request access to it. This sends an alert to the parent dashboard where you can decide whether or not to add it to the list of allowed websites.
Overall, Net Nanny’s website filtering is really good — it provides flexible filtering options, lets you create custom rules, is easy to use, and has extra features like the ability to force safe search and mask profanity on websites.
Net Nanny allows you to quickly block apps on your child’s device. It’s able to detect and block any app on Android devices, but it can only block 120+ apps on iOS devices. Qustodio is able to block 9,000+ apps on iOS, so it might be a better fit for families who exclusively use Apple devices. Net Nanny is, unfortunately, unable to block any apps on Windows and macOS devices.
When a blocked app is launched, Net Nanny will prevent the app from being used by placing an overlay on the screen. It will also send a report to your parent dashboard every 6 hours with apps that have been used, and it will alert you every time a new app is installed on an Android device your child is using (these alerts don’t work for other devices).
I like that Net Nanny is able to block access to any app on Android devices, whether online or offline. It even allowed me to block access to my phone’s Camera app, and a warning screen overlaid the entire screen, preventing me from taking photos and videos. Parental control apps like Bark are only able to block apps from accessing the internet, and can’t prevent your child from using offline apps and playing games that don’t require an internet connection.
Overall, Net Nanny’s app filtering works really well, but it could be better on iOS devices. Its app filtering works on Android, iOS, and Kindle Fire, is easy to use, and allows you to block access to online and offline apps. That said, Net Nanny is only able to block and detect 120+ apps on iOS devices (Qustodio can block 9,000+ apps on iOS)
Screen Time Management
Net Nanny lets you set a limit on the total amount of time your child is allowed to use their devices, but it doesn’t let you set limits for specific apps. It lets you set different limits (in 15-minute increments) for each day of the week, and you can easily add more time if your child reaches their limit. When your child reaches their time limit, you have the option of disabling the internet or pausing the device. Choosing to pause the device will block all apps except the phone and messaging apps so your child can still contact you.
Time limits are tracked across all devices your child has access to (that have Net Nanny installed) in aggregate. For instance, if your child uses their phone for one hour and then later in the day uses their desktop for an hour, it will count as two hours of screentime. However, if your child is using their phone and desktop at the same time for one hour, it will only count as a single hour of screentime.
I tested this feature on my Android device and was impressed by the results. Net Nanny sent multiple notifications to the device warning that I only had 30, 15, 10, and 5 minutes of screen time left. As soon as the time limit was reached, Net Nanny overlaid the screen and told me the device had been paused because I was out of screen time, and I was then only able to use the phone and messages app without the overlay popping up again. While it would be easy enough for your child to text or call you to request more screen time, it would be nice if they could also open the app and send a request to your parent dashboard.
Overall, Net Nanny’s screen time limits work really well. It’s incredibly easy to set or adjust different time limits for different days, and Net Nanny gives you the option to turn off the internet or disable your child’s device once the time limit has been reached.
Net Nanny lets you automatically pause the internet or disable your child’s device at different times throughout the week in addition to setting time limits. This makes it really easy to prevent your children from using their devices at bedtime or when they should be doing things like homework.
Scheduling is really easy to set up, and it works well, but it could be improved — it lets you plan the schedule in 15-minute increments (Qustodio only allows for hour-long blocks), but it only allows you to either disable the device or pause the internet. Bark allows you to set special rules for bedtime that would allow your kids to access certain apps like YouTube but block access to other online apps like social media and games.
Overall, Net Nanny’s scheduling feature is pretty good, but there’s some room for improvement. It allows more precise scheduling than Qustodio, but it doesn’t allow the same flexibility offered by Bark.
Net Nanny’s location tracking shows you a Google Maps view of your child’s Android or iOS device in real-time. It also lets you label addresses and get alerted when your child leaves or arrives from those addresses, and it tracks a history of where your child has been.
Net Nanny’s location history displays updates every 2-3 minutes. This can be pretty invasive, but it allows you to locate your child’s device at any time in case they lose their phone or aren’t responding to texts or calls. Net Nanny sends updates far more frequently than other top parental control apps like Qustodio, which sends location updates every 5-10 minutes.
Setting up location tracking is really easy and just requires you to enable location services on the device your child is using (Net Nanny prompts you to do this during setup). During my tests, it worked really well at tracking my Android device — every time I took a walk, I was alerted about leaving home, was shown practically every address I walked past in the location history, and was then alerted again when I got back home.
Net Nanny allows you to get alerted when your child leaves or arrives at a specific address, but it would be nice to be able to set predefined areas. Qustodio allows you to create geofencing zones as large as 0.12 miles (around 200 meters), while Norton Family allows zones up to 2 miles (3,200 meters).
Overall, Net Nanny’s location tracking is very precise and works exactly as intended. That said, it would be nice to see Net Nanny add the ability to create geofencing zones beyond just a single address.
Net Nanny can give you information about what your child is watching and what they’re searching for on YouTube. It displays the name and thumbnail for each video, shows you how long your child watched it, and gives you a direct link to watch the video yourself.
One major drawback of this feature is that it only works for browsers, meaning it can’t monitor the YouTube app directly (competitors like Bark and Qustodio can do this). This is really unfortunate because most children use the YouTube app to watch videos on their phones. You can work around this by blocking the YouTube app and forcing your child to use the browser, but it would be nice if Net Nanny could monitor the YouTube app so that you could track what your child is watching regardless of whether they use the app or a browser.
I tested Net Nanny’s YouTube monitoring feature with my Android and Windows devices, and it worked exactly as intended on both. It blocked me from watching videos that contained mature content and alerted me of all activity within 5-10 minutes.
Overall, Net Nanny does a good job of monitoring the YouTube website, but it can’t monitor activity within the YouTube app like Qustodio and Bark.
The Net Nanny parent dashboard gives you a lot of information about how your child is using their device. The Family Feed gives you a general overview of activity, while each tab on the dashboard gives you more in-depth information related to Net Nanny’s different features. Net Nanny lets you view reports about:
|Searches||Shows your child’s search history, including when the search was done, what site it was made on, and which device they used.|
|Location||Displays a live Google Maps view of your child’s device location and lets you view location history updated every 2-3 minutes.|
|Screentime||Gives you a weekly and monthly overview of how much time your child is using their devices each day.|
|YouTube||Lets you know what your child is searching for on YouTube and which videos they’ve watched, including the title and thumbnail, as well as how long they watched each video.|
|Blocks & Alerts||This tab logs each time your child attempts to visit a blocked website or otherwise views content that triggers an alert in the parent dashboard.|
Net Nanny sends a report to the Family Feed every six hours displaying what apps your child has been using. If Net Nanny is able to block a particular app in the list, it will let you do so directly from the usage report, which is really convenient.
I like how much information Net Nanny offers in its reports, but its top competitors’ reports are much more in-depth — Qustodio is able to report a full history of the websites your child is viewing (Net Nanny only displays search history), and it lets you know how much time your child is using individual apps (Net Nanny only tracks their total screentime).
Overall, Net Nanny provides a lot of useful information about your child’s activity, but I’d like to see it include more metrics in the future.
Net Nanny Plans & Pricing
Net Nanny offers 3 separate annual plans — all plans include all Net Nanny features and allow you to create an unlimited number of child profiles, and the only difference between the plans is what and how many devices you can protect.
Priced at $39.99 / year, Net Nanny’s basic plan only protects a single Windows or macOS device. This could be useful for families who only have a family computer at home and don’t allow their children to have phones yet, but it doesn’t provide a very good value.
Net Nanny offers two Family Protection Pass plans that work on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Kindle Fire devices. The only difference between the two plans is that one allows 5 simultaneous connections and costs $54.99 / year, and the other allows 20 connections for $89.99 / year. If you need to protect more than 20 devices, I suggest looking into Norton Family or Bark, which both allow an unlimited number of connections on all plans.
Net Nanny’s plans are moderately priced, but I don’t like that they don’t include a monthly plan or a free trial. The only way to start using Net Nanny is to pay up-front for an annual plan, which may not be the best option for all families. However, Net Nanny does offer a 14-day money-back guarantee, which should be enough to test it and see if it’s right for you. That said, Qustodio not only offers a 3-day free trial (with no credit card details required), but it also provides customers with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Overall, Net Nanny offers reasonably-priced plans starting at $39.99 / year, but it doesn’t offer monthly plans or a free trial, so it can be somewhat expensive to start. Net Nanny also offers a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Net Nanny Installation & Setup
Net Nanny has native apps for parents on Android and iOS, as well as a web app. It also has apps to monitor your child’s Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Kindle Fire devices.
Both the parents and kids apps are incredibly easy and intuitive to install — I installed the parent app on my Android phone and the child app on my child’s Android phone and Windows desktop device without any issues. Setting up the child app on mobile devices takes a bit longer because you have to give the app permissions, but the setup still only took me about 5-10 minutes total.
Net Nanny Parental App Installation & Setup
You can access the Net Nanny parent dashboard from any internet-connected device using a web browser without having to install or set up anything.
The Net Nanny app for parents is incredibly easy to set up on mobile devices — simply download and install the app from the app store, log in, and you’re ready to go.
Net Nanny Kids App Installation & Setup
Install the Net Nanny child app and log in using the same email and password for your parent dashboard, you’ll then be prompted to create a child account. This involves entering their name, gender, and age. From there, the app will guide you step-by-step through creating your child’s profile.
For each permission, Net Nanny will automatically navigate to the correct settings menu before moving on to the next step. This can be really useful for less tech-savvy users who may not know how to enable the permissions manually.
On Android devices, you’ll need to enable Google safe search after finishing the child app setup. Net Nanny gives instructions on how to do this, and it’s as simple as opening the Google app on your phone, navigating to settings, selecting “Hide explicit results”, and tapping the toggle switch to “on”. It should be noted that there are no protections against disabling this feature, but if your child does search for something that could be an issue, Net Nanny’s web filtering can step in to block the search page.
And that’s it! You will now be able to monitor your child’s device from the parent dashboard or app.
Net Nanny Ease of Use
Net Nanny’s apps for parents are really easy to use, and its apps for children are also sleek, simple, and intuitive. During my tests on Windows and Android devices, all of Net Nanny’s apps worked exactly as intended and I never experienced any glitches or crashes.
Net Nanny’s web app is really easy to use and intuitive to navigate. It’s very simple to manage all of Net Nanny’s parental control features — a simple menu includes options to toggle certain features on and off. Net Nanny also provides detailed descriptions and help menus for each of its settings in case you don’t know how something works.
The home page displays a ton of information and may seem cluttered at first, but Net Nanny does a good job of organizing everything in an intuitive way. The Family Feed on the left side of the page acts as a sort of overview, displaying blocked sites, app usage reports, location alerts, and more.
Overall, I really like Net Nanny’s web app — it has a sleek and intuitive interface, and it displays a lot of information in an organized way, making it easy to view reports and manage all of your parental control settings.
Mobile & Tablets
Net Nanny’s child app makes it easy for your child to check how much screen time they have left. It also allows you to synchronize the device with the Net Nanny servers in case it stops monitoring (this never happened during my tests), and it also allows you to easily pause the parental controls by enabling unrestricted mode. When you tap the Enable Unrestricted Mode button on the child app, Net Nanny will have you log into your account. It will then prompt you to choose how long you want to pause the parental controls (from 5 minutes to 12 hours). You can manually end restricted mode and resume monitoring at any time.
I also really like Net Nanny’s parent app for Android and iOS — it’s really easy to use and has a nearly identical interface to the web app. The parent app for mobile devices is fully functional, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to manage all of the parental controls from any device you’re using.
Net Nanny’s child app for Windows and macOS is very minimalistic, plus it hides in the system tray. If your child clicks the Net Nanny icon in the system tray, they can view how much screen time they’ve used and how much they have left. I like how simple the desktop app is, but Net Nanny’s mobile app for children is a little more functional, giving you the option to synchronize the device with the Net Nanny servers (in case monitoring is ever interrupted) or enable unrestricted mode (turning off all parental controls and monitoring).
Net Nanny doesn’t have a parent app for desktop devices, but you can access your parent dashboard from any web browser.
Net Nanny Customer Support
Net Nanny offers customer support via live chat and email. It also provides an in-depth FAQ page, but it doesn’t have troubleshooting guides or tutorials like Qustodio.
Net Nanny’s live chat support is available during business hours from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 7 pm EST. In my experience, whenever I reached out to their live chat, I was connected with a representative in less than a minute, and they promptly addressed my questions. While Net Nanny’s live chat support is excellent, it would be convenient if it were available 24/7.
I always got a response back within 1-2 hours when I requested email support during business hours. If I sent an email after hours, though, I didn’t get a response until the next morning. I sent a test email over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised when I received a response about 6 hours later.
Net Nanny’s FAQ page is pretty detailed and answers questions about device compatibility, installation, troubleshooting, features, and settings. It’s able to answer most basic questions you may have about the app, but it would be nice to see Net Nanny add troubleshooting guides for more in-depth topics about all of its features.
Overall, Net Nanny provides pretty good customer service, but it could be a bit better — it provides live chat, email support, and a detailed FAQ page, but it’s missing troubleshooting guides and tutorials, and its live chat isn’t available non-stop.
Is Net Nanny One of the Best Parental Control Apps in 2023?
Net Nanny is a really good parental control app — it has all industry-standard parental control features needed to keep your child safe from the dangers of the internet, it provides several extras like YouTube monitoring and uninstall protection, it’s very easy to use across all devices, and it has great customer service.
Net Nanny does have a few drawbacks, though — its YouTube monitoring feature is unable to monitor activity in the YouTube app, it can only block 120+ apps on iOS devices (Qustodio can block 9,000+ iOS apps), it doesn’t let you set time limits for specific apps, and it only offers annual plans, which can be a bit expensive for some families.
But overall, it’s safe to say Net Nanny is one of the best parental control apps. It has great web filtering, screen time management, and location tracking features, but some of these features aren’t as functional as those offered by top competitors like Qustodio. Net Nanny offers three separate annual plans that all include a 14-day money-back guarantee, which should give you enough time to test it and see if it’s the best option for your family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my child delete the Net Nanny app?
Net Nanny has an app removal protection feature that prompts you for a password if you try to delete the app, but it doesn’t work on iOS devices. If the app is ever deleted from your child’s device, or monitoring ever stops working for any reason, Net Nanny will send an alert to your parent dashboard so you can quickly fix the issue. Qustodio offers the same app removal protection, but it works on all devices, including iOS.
Is Net Nanny safe?
What devices does Net Nanny work on?
For parents, Net Nanny has native apps for Android and iOS — you can also access the parent dashboard from any device with a web browser. For children, Net Nanny has apps that are able to monitor Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Kindle Fire Devices.
All of Net Nanny’s apps are really easy to use, and its apps for parents have a consistent interface across all platforms. Its mobile app for children, however, is more functional than its desktop counterpart — which honestly is a bit of a shame because some of the best parental control apps in 2023 have super functional desktop applications.
What apps can Net Nanny block?
Net Nanny is able to detect and block any app on Android, but it’s only able to block 120+ apps on iOS devices. It’s, unfortunately, unable to block Windows and macOS apps. For families with lots of Apple devices, I would recommend Qustodio — it’s also able to block all apps on Android, Windows, and macOS, but it can detect and block 9,000+ iOS apps.
Does Net Nanny monitor texts and phone calls?
No — Net Nanny is able to monitor web history, social media usage, and YouTube activity (only in browsers), but it can’t monitor your child’s text messages or call history.
If you want a parental control app to monitor text messages and phone calls, check out Qustodio or Bark. Both of them are able to monitor texts, but Qustodio is more functional, letting you view all text messages and call history, and it can block calls and contacts.
Can Net Nanny monitor YouTube activity?
Yes, but only on web browsers — Net Nanny isn’t able to monitor activity within the YouTube app. However, you can block the app and force your child to use a browser to watch YouTube. Qustodio is able to monitor YouTube activity in both the web browser and the app.