Qustodio Review: Quick Expert Summary
Qustodio comes with tons of features that can keep your kids safe online and offline. It has extremely user-friendly apps for kids and parents, offers excellent customer support, and provides the best-value parental control plan on the market that’s backed by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Qustodio has industry-standard parental control features like web and app filtering, time limits, location tracking, scheduling, and activity reports. I saw some online reviews claiming that VPNs can get around Qustodio’s web filtering, but I tested top VPNs with it and they couldn’t bypass its web filtering. I also really like how Qustodio can detect and block 9,000+ iOS apps (some parental control apps can’t fully restrict iOS apps).
In addition, Qustodio comes with:
- YouTube Monitoring — Lets you monitor your kid’s YouTube searches and what videos they watch.
- Location tracking — In addition to location tracking, this feature also lets you set up geofenced zones.
- Calls & SMS — Lets you monitor your child’s phone calls and text messages on iOS and Android.
- Panic Button — Allows your kids to send distress signals to trusted contacts on Android.
- And more …
Qustodio has kids apps for all popular devices (iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Chromebook, and Kindle) and parental apps for iOS, Android, and web browsers — all of its apps are really simple to set up and very intuitive, so it’s very easy to get used to them even if you and your kids have never used parental control apps before. What’s more, Qustodio provides really good customer support via an in-depth support library, a very responsive ticketing system, and its Care Plus service, which includes priority phone support but is only available in the US.
That said, there are some areas that I think Qustodio could improve — I think it would provide more convenience if kids had an in-app option to request extra screen time or ask for a restricted site to be unblocked. Also, its restricted time feature needs to provide parents with better scheduling control, and the geofencing feature needs to be more responsive. Finally, I’d really like to see Qustodio add support for live chat.
Qustodio has a decent free plan and a Premium subscription with several paid yearly plans. It allows monitoring for 5 or unlimited devices, depending on which plan you choose. Also, Qustodio backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
|🏅 Overall Rank||Ranked 1st from 20 parental controls|
|🖥️ Web & App Filtering||✅|
|⏲️ Time Limits||✅|
|📍 Location Tracking||✅|
|💸 Starting Price||$54.95 / year|
|📀 Supported Operating Systems||iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Chromebook, Kindle|
|📱 Number of Devices||5 or unlimited|
|🎁 Free Plan||✅|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||30 days|
Qustodio Full Review
I spent the past few weeks testing and researching Qustodio and talking with its support reps to see how good it is, and I can safely say that it’s the best parental control app on the market.
Qustodio has essential features to monitor your child’s web activity to make sure they have an enjoyable and safe internet experience. You also get access to call and SMS monitoring, which allows you to make sure your kid isn’t bullied or exposed to inappropriate messages.
Qustodio is a little pricey, but it’s worth it because it provides excellent value — plus, there’s a free trial, a free plan, and a 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you plenty of time to test it and see if it’s the best fit for your family.
Qustodio has the following essential parental control features:
- Web and app filtering — Lets you choose which sites and apps your kids are allowed to use.
- Time limits — Lets you specify how much screen time your kids are allowed.
- Location tracking — Shows you where your kids are and which places they’ve been to.
- Scheduling — Allows you to choose specific times of the day or week when a device can or can’t be used.
- Activity reports — Displays information about your child’s device use, including screen time, accessed sites, used apps, and more.
Qustodio also comes with many other useful features, including YouTube monitoring, call and text monitoring, and geofencing.
Qustodio’s web filtering lets you choose which sites your kids are allowed to access — you can set filtering rules for specific websites, but Qustodio also has 25+ predefined website categories (including Games, Profanity, Gambling, Mature Content, Pornography, and more), which I find very convenient. Remember that the rules you set for specific websites take precedence over the rules for categories. This means you can block an entire category while still permitting specific websites within that category.
Qustodio allows you to choose from 3 options when setting filtering rules for categories. You can choose to block the entire category, allow it, or allow it but receive alerts whenever your kid visits them. And for sites that you manually add, there’s an option to configure Qustodio to Ignore the site, so it won’t show up in any reports in the Qustodio app.
Qustodio’s web filtering is really good — it always prevented me from accidentally accessing unsafe websites on my test device, and I received an alert on the parent’s device every time I accessed chat and social network platforms. Plus, I found it very useful that Qustodio’s web filtering also applies to a browser’s incognito/private modes.
However, I wish Qustodio would provide kids with an in-app option to request access to a blocked website (like Norton Family has) — that way, if Qustodio or a parent accidentally blocks a safe site, the child could quickly request access to it without having to phone or message his parents.
I’m happy to say VPNs can’t circumvent Qustodio’s web filtering. Kids often use these tools to try and bypass parental apps, and I saw many articles that claim VPNs can get around Qustodio’s filtering. I tested Qustodio with top VPNs like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access — I tried accessing 10+ different blocked sites, and Qustodio always prevented me from connecting to them.
Qustodio’s web filtering only works on supported browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Amazon Silk Browser.
Fortunately, Qustodio can block unsupported browsers, so kids can’t browse in Tor, Brave, or Opera to bypass website restrictions. I tested this out and Qustodio always prevented me from using Tor and Opera on my smartphone. This is really great, as some top parental control apps (like Bark) don’t block unsupported browsers.
What’s more, Qustodio also has options that:
- Block unknown websites. These are sites that are not included in Qustodio’s website categories.
- Enforce safe search. When your kid opens Google, Bing, or YouTube, safe search is automatically enabled to protect them from potentially harmful content.
- Send alerts if your child tries to access blocked websites. This is helpful if you talk with your child about which sites are safe and dangerous to access and want to make sure you’re both on the same page.
Overall, Qustodio’s web filtering works very well (even top VPNs can’t bypass it), is very easy to use, and comes with really helpful extra features, like being able to block unsupported browsers and enforcing safe search.
Daily Time Limits
Qustodio lets you set up a daily screen time allowance in increments of 15 minutes for each day of the week. You can also block access to your kid’s device, while still allowing them to make emergency calls or use the Panic Button. Qustodio allows you to set time limits on iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Chromebook, and Kindle.
The daily time limit set for the given day is displayed in the kid’s app, so your kid will always know how much screen time they have left. It also shows how much time the kid has spent on each app they’ve used.
The Daily Time Limits feature is extremely intuitive and works really well — I tested it with my Android device (it usually only took me 5 seconds to set time limits), and it blocked access to my phone in less than 3 seconds once the time limit was up. I also found the Allow and Block buttons on the parent’s app very convenient — pressing Allow automatically lifts all restrictions for the select day(s), and clicking Block means your kid won’t get any screen time that day.
In addition, Qustodio lets you choose what happens when the screen time is up:
- Lock navigation:
- Android, Chromebook, and Kindle — Blocks all apps except basic apps like the calendar and the calculator.
- iOS — Blocks internet access on the device.
- Windows and macOS — Blocks internet access on all web browsers.
- Lock device:
- Chromebook and Kindle — Blocks access to the whole device.
- Android — Blocks access to the whole device and only allows emergency calls and the use of the Panic Button feature.
- iOS — Hides any app that is rated age 4+ by the app store. When the restriction is removed, all apps will appear in alphabetical order, which makes it a hassle to keep them organized. If that’s an issue, Qustodio recommends using the Lock navigation option instead.
- Windows and macOS — Logs out the user, preventing online and offline use.
You can select both Lock device and Lock navigation or just one. By default, Qustodio enables the Lock device feature.
You can also choose to receive alerts when your kid reaches their screen time limit. This is useful if you want to quickly find out when their screen time limit is up without constantly checking on it.
But I’d like to see an in-app option to request extra screen time like Norton Family includes — it’d be much more convenient than kids having to make an emergency call just to let you know they need an extra hour of screen time when they’re out with their friends. That said, Qustodio does allow you to add extra time from the main dashboard on mobile or instantly pause the internet on your child’s device from its Quick actions tool.
Overall, Qustodio’s time limits are really great. They’re very easy to use, work really well, and they’re available across all popular platforms.
In addition to standard time limits, Qustodio lets you restrict specific time periods. For instance, instead of just limiting your kids to 2 hours of screen time during weekdays, you can prevent them from using their phones or accessing the web between specific hours, like from 5pm to 7pm — this is helpful if you want to make sure they’re really doing their homework and not browsing social media in bed.
Setting restricted times is really simple — Qustodio divides the day into Morning, Afternoon, and Night, and you just have to highlight the restricted time periods in red. Plus, once you set a schedule, the kids app will tell your kid when their next pause is and exactly how many hours and minutes until it starts.
However, I’d like to see Qustodio provide better control over restricted times — right now, you can only restrict times in hour-long chunks. For example, you can prevent your kids from using their phones from 3pm to 5pm, but you can’t restrict device usage between 3pm and 3:30pm, and then allow it from 3:30pm to 5pm. If you only want to restrict device usage while your kids do a few quick chores on the weekend (like taking out the trash or cleaning their rooms), this limitation can be a bit inconvenient. Net Nanny lets you set time limits in 15-minute increments, which is more flexible.
Overall, it’s easy to restrict screen time for specific time periods, but I really hope Qustodio will provide finer control over that in a future update.
Games & Apps
Qustodio lets you set time limits for specific apps or disable access to them. This feature works on Android, Windows, macOS, Kindle, Chromebook, and even iOS — Qustodio claims it can detect, monitor, and restrict 9,000+ compatible iOS apps, which is pretty impressive since some parental control apps (such as Webwatcher) can’t block iOS apps.
Qustodio doesn’t display a list of all the apps on your kid’s device, like most parental apps do. Instead, it starts displaying apps when your child uses them (you can configure Qustodio to alert you when that happens), which I think is very convenient. This way, you see exactly which apps your child uses — so you don’t need to waste time going through a long list of system apps, like the calendar, calculator, and weather app, to find them.
When Qustodio detects an app, you can either block access to it or set a daily time limit. I tested Qustodio’s app detection and blocking, and it was always able to find and restrict access to apps that are popular with kids and teens, including YouTube (Qustodio has a dedicated blocking feature for this app), Instagram, TikTok, Netflix, Twitter, and Discord.
There’s a search function that helps you find specific apps to set rules or block them. Qustodio also has separate tabs for all apps, blocked apps, allowed apps, and apps that have time limits applied to them, so it’s very easy to find what you’re looking for.
|Qustodio Can Block:|
Unfortunately, Qustodio can’t monitor your child’s text message and posts on popular social media apps like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Bark can do this, although it will only send you alerts when it detects problematic content — so it won’t let you view all of your child’s messages and posts.
Overall, Qustodio provides a really good app blocking feature — it’s very convenient to use and it’s able to detect and block apps that are popular with kids and teens (even on iOS), but it can’t monitor text messages on social media apps.
Qustodio has a dedicated YouTube monitoring feature, which lets you track your kid’s YouTube website and app activity in the activity reports, allowing you to see their YouTube searches and what videos they watch. In addition, YouTube Monitoring also allows you to block both the YouTube site and app, or set time limits for the YouTube app. I’m happy to see this feature since YouTube is very popular with kids and teens, and because some parental apps (like Norton Family) don’t have a dedicated YouTube monitoring feature.
YouTube Monitoring is available on most platforms (except Chromebook and Kindle), but it works differently on each one:
|Android||See what videos your child watches and what they search for on the YouTube app and site.|
|iOS||See what videos your kid watches and what they search for on the YouTube site.|
|Windows and macOS||See more detailed information about the videos your kid watches on the YouTube site (like the YouTube channel name and the video thumbnail) and track their YouTube searches on the YouTube site.|
Also, you can enforce safe search in the Web Filtering feature — this will force YouTube to filter all content that’s flagged as inappropriate. This way, your child doesn’t risk accidentally coming across harmful YouTube videos.
Overall, Qustodio’s YouTube Monitoring feature is really helpful and an excellent way to keep your kids safe on YouTube — you can block YouTube’s site and app and track your child’s activity on both of them.
Qustodio shows you where your child is and where they’ve been. It displays a location timeline, which is a list of your child’s previous locations. I’m happy to see this feature, as some top parental control apps don’t offer this. True, this kind of location tracking can feel invasive, but it’s also helpful if your child loses their phone or if they get lost.
Family Locator is only available on Qustodio’s iOS and Android parental control apps — you can access it from the web, too, but the only thing that Qustodio allows you to do through the web is enable and disable it, so you won’t be able to track your child.
I tested the location feature, and it worked really well — it was easy to enable the feature (I only needed to enable location tracking inside the parental app and grant location permissions on his kids’ devices), and it accurately tracked my test device’s locations on my walk to the park and back home.
When I was on the move, I received frequent location updates every 5–10 minutes. But there was an option to update my test device’s location instantly, which Qustodio did accurately. Plus, on Android, you can even get directions to your child’s location via Google Maps.
I also liked the My places feature, which uses geofencing technology to track your children’s locations. Basically, you set up predefined zones (my friend added a dental clinic, a shopping center, and a cultural hub), and you receive notifications when your kids arrive at and leave those places. However, I wasn’t instantly notified when I arrived at or left the predefined zones with my test device — the notifications were usually delivered 10–15 minutes after that happened, so I’d like to see Qustodio make the feature more responsive in the near future.
Qustodio lets you create geofences that cover distances up to 0.12 miles or 200 meters, which is pretty good. That said, Norton Family provides much better coverage, as its geofencing feature supports distances up to 2 miles or 3,200 meters.
Overall, Qustodio’s location tracking feature provides the best way to track your children’s location. A geofencing feature is also available, although its notifications are sometimes too delayed.
Calls & SMS
This feature monitors kids’ calls and messages and blocks or whitelists incoming or outgoing calls. While this feature is useful, it’s very invasive, so I only recommend using it if you have reason to be concerned about your child and need a good way to detect concerning interactions immediately. If possible, I’d also recommend being open with your child about using this feature.
This feature is available on iOS and Android, and you need to manually set it up — luckily, Qustodio provides easy-to-follow guides that show you what to do. I configured this feature on my Android device, and it only took me around 3–4 minutes to do it. I also asked a coworker to test it on his iOS devices, and he said it only took him about 5 minutes to do it.
But because the feature is fairly invasive, the setup process involves platform-specific steps and requirements. To monitor an Android device, you’ll have to download the Qustodio kids app directly from Qustodio’s website — the Google Play version of the Qustodio app doesn’t support this feature. And to monitor your kid’s calls and messages on an iPhone, you need to have a Mac device as the feature isn’t available on the App store version of Qustodio’s parent app.
The Calls & SMS feature works really well and there are no bugs — it correctly blocks or allows calls according to the rules you set, and it always displays the contents of text messages (you can keep track of all of that in Qustodio’s activity reports). On iPhone, you’ll also be able to see your child’s FaceTime and WhatsApp calls and who your child is texting on iMessages.
It also lets you add specific contacts, which you can block or whitelist. I think this is pretty convenient — for example, if you see that a bully is spamming your child with offensive messages, you can simply block the bully’s contact while allowing your kid to continue exchanging calls and messages with his friends.
Bark has a similar feature, but it’s not as good — Bark doesn’t let you see all text messages (only content that requires an intervention, like bullying, violence, and suicidal ideation), and it also doesn’t let you block phone calls and contacts.
Overall, Qustodio’s Call & SMS feature works really well. It lets you monitor your child’s calls and text messages, which is very helpful if you’re worried about them interacting with dangerous people. It requires a manual setup, but it’s a pretty straightforward process.
Please remember — manually setting up the Call & SMS feature on Android and iOS devices requires you to manually download and install certain apps. Make sure you only download those apps from Qustodio’s site and not from third-party websites. Otherwise, you risk downloading malicious files and infecting your device with malware.
The Panic Button feature allows your child to send a direct alert to trusted contacts via text messages or email messages. This is an excellent feature your kids can use to stay safe while walking home from school or when they’re out with their friends. Many parental control apps (like Bark) don’t provide access to an SOS feature, so I’m really happy to see this included.
Setting up this feature is really easy — you just need to enable it in the parental app, add trusted contacts (Qustodio lets you add an email address or phone number for each contact) and wait for them to confirm, and then enable the feature on your kid’s device. Overall, it didn’t take me more than 3–4 minutes to set up the Panic Button on my Android smartphone.
On the child’s end, using the Panic Button is very straightforward, too — your kid only needs to tap the SOS button at the bottom of the app, and then tap on another SOS button and confirm the activation. To turn off the feature, the child just needs to tap the SOS button again and confirm their choice. You’ll then receive an email notifying you that your child has turned off Panic Mode, with a link to their location.
I tested the Panic Button when I was walking outside and it worked very well — the feature instantly sent me an SMS and email alert containing a link with my Android device’s location. The link included the street address, coordinates, time, date, and some helpful tips on what to do next.
Unfortunately, the Panic Button feature is only available on Android devices, so I’d like to see Qustodio add support for it on iOS in the future too.
Overall, the Panic Button is an excellent Android feature that lets your child send distress signals to trusted contacts if they’re in trouble.
The Panic button is not a replacement for emergency services. Qustodio won’t contact the police, fire department, ambulance, or any other local authorities on your behalf. If you strongly believe your child is in danger when they trigger the Panic Button, you should contact emergency services as soon as possible.
Qustodio provides daily, weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly activity reports in the Dashboard tab. You can also view the activity reports for specific dates. The activity reports show you the following metrics:
|Blocked websites||Lets you see which restricted sites your child tried to access and how many times they tried accessing each website (Competitors like Net Nanny don’t let you do this).|
|App & web activity||Allows you to see which apps and sites your kids have used and how much time they spent on each one.|
|Web searches||Shows which words your kids used the most in their web searches.|
|Calls & SMS||Shows who your child exchanged calls and messages with, how many calls and messages they exchanged, and when.|
|YouTube activity||Lets you see your kid’s YouTube searches and how many videos they watched. If you click See videos, you can also watch the videos your child saw.|
In addition, Qustodio also shows your child’s screen time, whether or not they reached the time limit you imposed, their screen time by the hour, and their daily average for the time period you’ve chosen. If necessary, you can also add extra screen time (in increments of 15 minutes) with just a few clicks.
You can also get more in-depth information on your child’s online activities. To do that, access the Timeline tab that’s under the Dashboard tab on the left-side menu.
The Timeline tab provides you with access to the following metrics:
|Web activity||Displays the sites accessed by your kids and lets you quickly whitelist, block, or ignore them, or set alerts for them. Qustodio also provides you with helpful information on the sites, including how trustworthy they are, how safe they are for children, and a screenshot of the site’s main page.|
|App activity||Shows which apps your child accesses and when, how long they’ve spent in the app, and lets you quickly whitelist or block them.|
|Searches||Lets you see your child’s full Google and YouTube searches.|
|Calls & SMS||Displays your child’s incoming and outgoing calls and shows you the caller’s phone number and name (as it’s written in your child’s phone contacts). You can also see the contents of incoming and outgoing text messages and who they’re from.|
|Locations||Shows your child’s current location (which you can refresh) and where they’ve been. The child’s location is updated every 3–10 minutes on average.|
Overall, I think Qustodio’s activity reports are very helpful, as they provide accurate and in-depth information about your child’s online activities and device usage.
Qustodio also comes with the following additional features:
- Uninstall Protection — Qustodio requires you to type in your parental app username and password when you want to uninstall its kids’ apps (this is something competing brands like mSpy lack). This way, your child can’t secretly uninstall the apps to prevent tracking. This feature is available on all platforms.
- Hide Qustodio — this feature lets you “hide” Qustodio on Windows and macOS devices. If you enable this option, your child will no longer see Qustodio’s web page when they try to access a blocked site. Instead, they’ll be redirected to Google’s search page. Enabling this option will also hide Qustodio’s icon in the tray and notification bar, and it will log your kid out of the device if you choose to lock their device when the screen time limit is up. This feature could help you better understand which apps and sites your kids use the most. That said, your children will still be able to find Qustodio’s app on their devices. Personally, I don’t really recommend using this option, as I think it’s better to openly discuss using a parental control app with your child.
Qustodio Plans & Pricing
Qustodio has a free plan and 2 paid plans: Basic and Complete. The free plan is limited to monitoring just 1 device, while the Basic and Complete plans can monitor 5 or unlimited devices, respectively. Although the paid plans are a little pricier than other top parental control apps, I think they offer excellent value considering the features on offer.
Qustodio also offers a 3-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its premium plans, so there’s plenty of time to see if it’s right for you and your family.
|Qustodio Free||Qustodio Basic||Qustodio Complete|
|Activity Reports||Daily and weekly reports||Daily, weekly, and monthly reports||Daily, weekly, and monthly reports|
|Screen Time Monitoring||✅||✅||✅|
|Daily Time Limits||✅||✅||✅|
|Restricted Time Periods||✅||✅||✅|
|Game & App Time Limits||❌||❌||✅|
|Saved Places Alerts||❌||❌||✅|
|Calls & SMS Monitoring||❌||❌||✅|
When you sign up, Qustodio gives you a 3-day free trial of its Complete plan (no credit card details are needed). When your free trial expires, you’re downgraded to Qustodio’s free plan, which provides access to screen time monitoring, daily time limits, restricted time periods, and web filtering.
However, the free plan has limits — you can only monitor 1 device, get daily and weekly activity reports, and you don’t get access to the customer support ticketing system.
Upgrading to Qustodio Basic adds the ability to monitor up to 5 devices, as well as some additional features like app filtering, location tracking, games and app blocking, and the Panic Button. It costs $54.95 / year and is only available as an annual subscription.
Qustodio Complete lets you monitor unlimited devices, so it’s an excellent choice for large families. It comes with all of the features discussed in this review, and it’s worth noting that this is the only plan to include key features like YouTube monitoring and call and SMS monitoring. This plan is also only available as an annual subscription, and it’s priced at $99.95 / year.
While Qustodio’s plans are a bit pricey, I think they’re worth it because they provide really great value for both small and large families. That said, I understand that not everyone is ready to commit to a yearly plan right from the start — if that’s a dealbreaker for you and you’d like more flexible options, I recommend checking out Bark and FamiSafe, as they both have pretty affordable monthly plans.
Qustodio accepts several payment methods, including credit/debit cards, and PayPal. Also, it backs all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Qustodio Installation & Setup
Qustodio has apps for parents and kids. It has parental control apps for iOS, Android, and web browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge), and apps for kids on iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Chromebook, and Kindle.
|Apps for Kids||Apps for Parents|
|iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Chromebook, Kindle.||iOS, Android, web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge).|
Both apps are simple to set up, but installing Qustodio on your kids’ devices will take longer because you also need to give the app different permissions. That said, I installed the parental and kids apps on my Android smartphone and the kids app on my Windows 11 PC, and it didn’t take me more than 5 minutes to do it on each device.
Qustodio Parental Apps (Installation & Setup)
If you use the web app, no setup is necessary — Qustodio redirects you to the web app’s login page after you create an account.
On mobile, you only have to download and install the apps from the app store. Then, just log into your Qustodio account and confirm that this is your own device (so not your kid’s device).
Important note on using the Calls & SMS feature on iOS — you’ll also need to download and set up Qustodio’s Call & SMS app on your macOS device. After that, you’ll need to use a cable to sync your child’s iOS device (which needs to have Qustodio’s kids app installed on it) with your macOS device. When you’re done, you can use the parental apps to monitor your child’s messages and calls.
Qustodio Kids Apps (Installation & Setup)
To start, you’ll need to log into Qustodio’s parental app and add a profile for your child — you’ll need to pick an avatar for them, add their first name, choose their gender (you can opt not to reveal it), and add their birth year.
Next, you have to use a dropdown list to select what kind of device your child has. For this tutorial, I used my Android smartphone — but Qustodio provides step-by-step instructions for each type of device on this page.
You now have to download and install Qustodio’s kids apps from the app store. When you’re done, log into your account, and confirm that this is your child’s device.
Important note on using the Call & SMS feature on Android — you’ll need to download Qustudio’s full Android app from its site because the Google Play version doesn’t support the Call & SMS feature. Qustodio has a download link and a QR code you can scan to download the app and install it on your device. Make sure you only download this version of the app from Qustudio’s official site. Once you download the app, install it and proceed with the setup instructions mentioned above and below.
After that, add a name for the device and choose which child profile will use the device.
Now, you need to give Qustodio’s app several permissions so that it can track and control your child’s device. First, you’ll need to allow reporting, usage tracking, and notification access.
Then, you’ll have to enable app display, location access, and activate device admin (to make sure your child can’t uninstall Qustodio without your permission).
And that’s it — you can now use the parental apps to keep tabs on your kids’ online activities.
Qustodio Ease of Use
Qustodio’s web and mobile parental apps are really easy to use — the interface is very user-friendly (even for parents who are not tech-savvy) and pretty much all settings and features come with short, helpful explanations.
Also, Qutodio’s mobile kids apps are minimalistic and very simple to navigate (so your kids won’t have any trouble getting used to them), and its desktop apps are hidden in the background, so they won’t bother your children.
Mobile & Tablets
Both of Qustodio’s Android and iOS apps are very simple to navigate, have a really intuitive design, their features work really well, and I never experienced any bugs when using them. Also, I like that both apps share a similar design, so it’s really easy to switch from Android to iOS and vice-versa.
The main dashboard has a Quick actions box that lets you instantly pause the internet on your child’s device or extend their time limit. This is very convenient because it means you can skip all the steps you normally need to take to set rules. The activity summary is on the main dashboard, too, and you can see all of your kid’s activity for certain days from there, with just a couple of taps.
I really like that all of its settings are neatly divided. This makes it super easy to find what you’re looking for without spending too much time. And once you’re in, setting rules and restrictions is pretty easy. It took me no longer than 10 minutes to create rules for my test device.
Both mobile apps are very feature-rich — the only difference is that Qustodio’s iOS app is missing the Panic Button feature.
Overall, Qustodio’s Android and iOS apps are very good. They’re intuitive and come with many useful features (however, the iOS app is missing the Panic Button feature).
I’m really happy with Qustodio’s web app — the interface is really simple to navigate, so you never feel lost using it. From the main window, you can pick which child to monitor, add a new child profile, or add new devices with just a few clicks.
And when you check a child’s profile, all information is presented in a very easy-to-understand way. It’s really easy to check and scroll through the activity reports, and you can set up new app and site restrictions in seconds — for example, it didn’t take me more than 10 seconds to add and block a new website. And I especially like the small question mark icons, which provide you with detailed, helpful explanations for certain features and settings.
I also like that the web app provides great security, as it automatically logs you out of your account after a few minutes of inactivity — so your kids can’t increase screen time or lift restrictions while you’re away from your device.
Qustodio’s web app comes with almost all features. The only thing that’s missing is the location tracking feature, which is only available on Qustodio’s mobile apps. However, you can still use the web app to track your child’s location in the activity reports’ Timeline tab.
Overall, Qustodio’s web app is really good. It’s beginner-friendly, feature-rich, and full of helpful hints and explanations.
Qustodio Customer Support
Qustodio’s customer support is very good. There’s a support library that includes detailed FAQs, tutorials, and troubleshooting tips. I also really like its ticketing system and Care Plus, which provides priority phone support. However, I’d like Qustodio to add a live chat option — it’s the fastest and easiest way to get in touch with customer support reps.
Qustodio’s support section includes a lot of helpful articles. From FAQs to setup guides with screenshots — I rarely needed to contact the support team because most answers were right there.
But that’s not an issue, as there’s a ticketing system that provides very responsive and helpful email support — I submitted multiple support tickets at random times of the day over the course of a week, and I always received a reply in about 24 hours, which is pretty fast. The replies always answered all my questions, and the support reps also replied to all of my follow-up questions.
There’s also Qustodio’s Care Plus service, but it’s only available in the US as part of the Complete plan. Care Plus provides priority phone support in English and Spanish, ongoing check-ins, and personalized help. I asked a colleague in the US to test the Care Plus service, and he was very happy with it — he scheduled a call and was contacted by a support rep over the phone on time, who was able to provide him with helpful and detailed answers to all of his questions.
Qustodio has excellent customer support overall. While it lacks live chat, it makes up for it with a comprehensive support library, responsive ticketing, expert representatives, and premium phone support with Care Plus.
Is Qustodio Really the Best Parental Control App in 2023?
I think Qustodio is an excellent parental control app since it comes with tons of useful parental control features and is also extremely easy to set up and use.
Qustodio has all essential parental control features, like web and app filtering, time limits, location tracking, scheduling, and activity reports. Some online reviews claim that VPNs can bypass Qustodio’s web filtering, but I tested a few top VPNs while using Qustodio, and they weren’t able to circumvent its web filtering feature. I’m also really happy that Qustodio can detect and block 9,000+ iOS apps (some parental control apps can’t restrict iOS apps).
In addition, it provides access to other great features — it has YouTube Monitoring, which displays your child’s YouTube searches and the videos they watch, and location tracking, which allows you to create geofenced zones (you receive alerts when your kids enter or leave them). What’s more, you also get Calls & SMS, which lets you monitor calls and text messages on Android and iOS, and Panic Button, an Android feature that lets your child send emergency signals to trusted contacts.
Also, Qustodio’s kids and parental apps are really easy to install and use. Plus, you get really great customer support (an in-depth support library, responsive and helpful support reps, and priority phone support via Care Plus, which is only available in the US).
However, I’d also like to see Qustodio make a few improvements — like adding in-app options for kids to request extra screen time or access to a blocked site, providing better scheduling control via the restricted time feature, making the geofencing feature more responsive, and adding live chat support.
All in all, Qustodio is the best parental control app in 2023 — it provides excellent monitoring, filtering, and time limits, has tons of other helpful features, and is really user-friendly. It has a decent free plan and paid yearly plans that are backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Qustodio safe?
Yes. Qustodio provides tons of features that help you keep your kids safe online — it provides excellent web filtering to protect your kids from inappropriate sites (like drugs, pornography, alcohol, and violence), and it also lets you monitor your kids’ YouTube usage to make sure they’re not watching dangerous and disturbing videos. There’s also a Panic Button, which allows your child to send out distress signals to trusted contacts if they’re in danger. Plus, you can monitor your kids’s text messages to make sure they’re not being bullied.
Qustodio’s reps also told me that the data collected by Qustodio from monitored devices is stored securely and not associated with any identifiable information. Also, Qustodio doesn’t share your data with third parties.
Can my child delete Qustodio?
No, as Qustodio comes with uninstall protection — it requires you to type in your parental account username and password to make changes to its apps. So, make sure you store your login credentials outside of your child’s reach.
Can VPNs bypass Qustodio’s web filtering?
No — I actually tested popular VPN providers with Qustodio on both mobile and desktop and they weren’t able to bypass its web filtering. What’s more, once Qustodio detected the VPN apps on my devices, it even gave me the option to restrict them.
Does Qustodio block incognito/private modes?
No, but Qustodio’s web filtering also covers browsers’ incognito/private modes. I tested this on Chrome and Firefox, and I wasn’t able to access restricted sites using incognito/private mode.
What browsers does Qustodio work on?
Qustodio can monitor and block sites on Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, and the Amazon Silk Browser. It also has an option that blocks unsupported browsers (like Opera and Tor), so that your child can’t use them to bypass parental controls on their device.
What apps does Qustodio block?
Qustodio can detect and block almost any apps that are popular with kids and teens — in my tests, it was able to block apps like YouTube, Discord, Netflix, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, WhatsApp, and more. A support rep told me that Qustodio can block all apps on Android, Windows, and macOS, and that it can block 9,000+ apps on iOS (some parental controls, like Webwatcher, can’t restrict iOS apps at all).
Can Qustodio block YouTube?
Yes, Qustodio has a dedicated YouTube feature that can detect and block both YouTube’s site and YouTube’s app on all major platforms. In addition, Qustodio also lets you set time limits for the YouTube app and see what your child searches for on YouTube and what videos they watch.
Does Qustodio let you monitor calls and text messages?
Yes, you can do that by using Qustodio’s Calls & SMS feature, which is available for iOS and Android devices.
However, to use this feature, you’ll need to perform manual setups. On Android, you’ll need to manually download and install Qustodio’s full Android app from the official website. And, on iOS, you’ll need to download and install a separate Calls & SMS app on your macOS device and use a cable to sync your kids’ iOS devices with your macOS device. Fortunately, Qustodio has helpful tutorials that make the setup process very simple.
Does Qustodio have a Facebook monitoring feature?
That said, you can still use Qustodio to monitor and restrict access to Facebook — you’ll receive alerts whenever your child uses Facebook’s site and app. Also, you’ll be able to use Qustodio’s features to block Facebook’s site and restrict Facebook’s app, or set time limits for the Facebook app.
What devices does Qustodio work on?
Qustodio has apps for kids and parents on multiple devices:
- Apps for kids — iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Chromebook, Kindle.
- Apps for parents — iOS, Android, web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge).
Is Qustodio free to use?
Yes, Qustodio comes with a free plan, which you’re downgraded to after the 3-day free trial expires. I think the free plan is pretty good — it provides access to screen time monitoring, time limits, restricted time periods, and web filtering (including the option to enforce safe search). However, the free plan limits you to daily and weekly activity reports and 1 device, and it doesn’t provide access to Qustodio’s customer support ticketing system.
Qustodio’s free plan could be enough for some people, but I’d mostly recommend using it to test the service. Then, if you’re happy with Qustodio, you should definitely upgrade to its paid plans — that way, you also get location tracking, app filtering, YouTube monitoring, support for 5 or unlimited devices (depending on which plan you choose), and more. Plus, Qustodio backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Can I read messages that are sent and received on my kids’ devices?
Yes. Qustodio has a feature that allows you to monitor your child’s messages on iOS and Android — you need to perform a manual setup, but Qustodio provides very helpful tutorials, so the process doesn’t take long. In addition, Qustodio also lets you monitor and block your kids’ calls.
However, Qustodio can’t monitor your child’s messages on social media apps like Instagram and TikTok — if that’s something you’re interested in, I recommend checking out Bark instead.
Does Qustodio work without Wi-Fi?
Qustodio doesn’t necessarily need Wi-Fi to work, but it does need an internet connection. Without an internet connection, you won’t be able to access the Qustodio parent app on mobile or the web. Your kid also won’t be able to see the main dashboard on their app, but they will be able to use the Panic button, even if they’re offline. If your kid’s device is offline, you’ll have to wait until they’re back online for Qustodio to start monitoring their device.