5 Best Bark Alternatives in 2024 — Intuitive + Safe

Updated on: May 8, 2024
Fact Checked by Sam Boyd
Kamso Oguejiofor-Abugu Kamso Oguejiofor-Abugu
Updated on: May 8, 2024 Writer

Short on time? Here’s the best Bark alternative in 2024:

  • 🥇 Qustodio : Provides better screen time management, web and app monitoring features, and more. Plus, its uninstall protection is very effective, making it hard for kids to disable its features. And unlike Bark, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bark is one of the best parental control apps in 2024. It offers a balance between trust and surveillance, emphasizing open communication with your children instead of strict monitoring. This is something I really appreciate, as many less popular parental control apps can be quite invasive and foster unhealthy relationships with your children.

That said, like any tool, Bark has its shortcomings. From its absence on major app stores to geographical limitations, Bark leaves certain boxes unchecked for many parents. As a result, you may be on the lookout for alternatives that align more closely with your unique preferences.

To guide you through choosing the best alternative, I tested dozens of parental control apps and found 5 that are better than the rest. My favorite out of these 5, however, is Qustodio[. It offers more comprehensive features than Bark, makes it harder for kids to disable or bypass its settings, and provides a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

TRY QUSTODIO NOW

Quick summary of the best Bark alternatives:

  • 🥇 1. Qustodio — Best alternative to Bark in 2024 with tons of useful monitoring features & extras.
  • 🥈 2. Norton Family — Reliable Bark alternative that covers unlimited devices (good for large households).
  • 🥉 3. FamiSafe — Great parental control app for older kids with a convenient driving monitoring tool.
  • 4. Mobicip — Solid parental control app with advanced scheduling & time management features.
  • 5. Kaspersky Safe Kids — Decent Bark alternative with comprehensive & flexible screen time controls.

🥇 1. Qustodio — Best Bark Alternative in 2024

Approved by our experts
Qustodio
Approved by our experts
Most readers pick Qustodio
Web filtering
Excellent
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
qustodio.com

Qustodio is an excellent Bark alternative for several reasons. It offers more features, is harder to disable, and provides more affordable plans. In fact, it’s our favorite parental control app in 2024.

Qustodio has better web filtering than Bark. It has 25+ predefined website categories, allowing you to select the sites you don’t want your kids to access. You can also choose to grant access to specific websites but receive an alert when your kid connects to those sites, which I really appreciate. Qustodio’s web filtering applies to Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Amazon Silk Browser, whereas Bark only monitors Chrome and Edge. It also allows you to block unsupported browsers like Tor — which Bark doesn’t.

🥇 1. Qustodio — Best Bark Alternative in 2024

I also prefer Qustodio’s app filtering to Bark’s. Like Bark, Qustodio allows you to block several apps (on iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS) that are popular with kids and teens, including YouTube, TikTok, Netflix, Instagram, Twitter, and Discord. However, it can block offline apps, too, like games — something Bark can’t do.

I like the level of flexibility that comes with Qustodio’s screen time management. Aside from the typical functionality of setting up a daily screen time allowance, it’s possible to restrict screen time between specific periods of 1-hour increments (say from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.). You can also set time limits for specific apps — a feature most parental control apps lack, including Bark.

🥇 1. Qustodio — Best Bark Alternative in 2024

Qustodio offers a more comprehensive call and SMS monitoring feature than Bark, too, providing parents with detailed insights into their children’s communications to enhance safety and responsible device usage. It also lets you block and whitelist incoming or outgoing calls. Bark is less invasive and doesn’t allow you to view your kid’s messages in real-time — only showing you content when a potential issue is detected, such as bullying or violence.

Lastly, Qustodio is cheaper than Bark. With plans starting from $54.95 / year and including more features than Bark, it offers more value for your money. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans. Bark, on the other hand, doesn’t offer a refund, but it does have a 7-day free trial.

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Enter promo code Holiday15 at checkout.

Bottom Line:

Qustodio is the best alternative to Bark in 2024. It offers a more comprehensive suite of features, including better web and app filtering, real-time call and SMS monitoring, and enhanced screen time management. Furthermore, it’s tougher to disable, adding an extra layer of security, and is more cost-effective. If you’re seeking a reliable and affordable tool for monitoring and protecting your children’s online activity, Qustodio is the best option, and it’s risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full Qustodio review

🥈 2. Norton Family — Effective Monitoring for Unlimited Devices

Web filtering
Excellent
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
60 Days
us.norton.com

Norton Family is an impressive Bark alternative — and like Bark, it can monitor an unlimited number of devices. With its wide range of filtering and tracking features combined with ease of use, Norton Family stands out as a reliable choice, particularly for larger families or households where kids have multiple devices.

I’m a fan of Norton Family’s web filtering tool, which has an impressive 45+ predefined website categories and lets you monitor and block sites on your child’s device. It works for popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, whereas Bark only monitors Chrome and Edge. I particularly like how Norton Family allows your child to request access to a blocked site while surfing the web on the kid’s app. However, unlike Qustodio, Norton Family’s web filtering doesn’t work on browsers like Brave and Opera.

🥈 2. Norton Family — Effective Monitoring for Unlimited Devices

Norton Family’s app filtering feature works well to block apps that are popular with kids and teens on Android, iOS, and Windows. That said, unlike Bark, it can’t monitor your child’s text messages and posts on social media apps.

Like Bark, Norton Family has a very effective location-tracking feature. You can track your child’s current location and see where they’ve been. It further allows you to set up geo-fenced zones of up to 2 miles or 3,200 meters, which is significantly more than Bark.

🥈 2. Norton Family — Effective Monitoring for Unlimited Devices

I like that Norton Family has very solid uninstall protection. If your kid tries to uninstall Norton Family, the app will request your parental account login credentials, stopping your kids in their tracks. Bark has uninstall protection, too, but I found the app itself pretty easy to bypass so I never needed to uninstall it (I could just turn off Bark’s VPN on my test Android).

As for customer support, Norton Family has several options, including 24/7 live chat and phone support — these are options that most competitors, including Bark, lack.

Norton Family only has one standalone plan, which covers an unlimited number of devices, comes with a 30-day free trial (longer than Bark’s 7-day free trial), and costs $49.99 / year. However, Norton Family is free as part of Norton’s 360 Deluxe internet security package ($49.99 / year*). Norton 360 Deluxe is the best antivirus plan on the market, and it comes with excellent malware protection, web protection, device optimization tools, a VPN, a password manager, dark web monitoring, and much more. All Norton plans are backed by a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.

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Bottom Line:

Norton Family is a comprehensive Bark alternative with the capacity to monitor an unlimited array of devices. While it may not track social media interactions like Bark, it compensates with superior geofencing capabilities and reliable uninstall protection. It also offers an expansive customer support network and a generous 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out risk-free.

Read our full Norton Family review

🥉 3. FamiSafe — Best for Older Kids (With Driving Safety Monitoring)

Web filtering
Very good
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
7 Days
famisafe.wondershare.com

FamiSafe is the best alternative to Bark for older kids, particularly those who’ve started driving. Few parental apps delve into monitoring driving habits, making FamiSafe a great option if you want to keep track of your teen’s activities on the road.

I really like FamiSafe’s Drive Safety tool. It provides detailed insights on average and top speeds, distance covered, and the duration of drives. It also highlights hard brakes and instances of speeding. If your teen exceeds a pre-set speed limit, you’re instantly notified, ensuring they remain safe on the road. In my evaluation, the reports generated were accurate, easy to understand, and offered a comprehensive look into driving habits.

🥉 3. FamiSafe — Best for Older Kids (With Driving Safety Monitoring)

Apart from its hallmark driving feature, FamiSafe covers the basics and more. It provides web content filtering that detects and blocks unwanted content on your kid’s device. This works across a wide variety of browsers, including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Brave, and Edge (way more than Bark’s web content filtering feature). FamiSafe performed well in a good number of my tests, but it failed to prevent me from searching for terms like cocaine and heroin (Qustodio performed much better).

Also, unlike Norton Family, your child can’t request access to blocked sites on PC or Mac. They can only do so via iOS, Android, and Chromebook.

🥉 3. FamiSafe — Best for Older Kids (With Driving Safety Monitoring)

That said, FamiSafe excels in location tracking, offering precise real-time location tracking and a geofencing capability that allows you to set boundaries of up to 3,280 feet or 1,000 meters. Another standout feature is the ability for kids to view their parents’ location, perfect for coordinating meet-ups with them or in case of emergencies.

FamiSafe provides several plans starting at $9.99 / month. The monthly plan is limited to 5 devices, the quarterly plan covers 10 devices, and the annual plan provides coverage for an unlimited number of devices. All plans are covered with a 7-day money-back guarantee, which is pretty short, especially compared to Norton Family’s 60-day money-back guarantee. That said, Bark doesn’t offer any refund policy.

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Bottom Line:

FamiSafe is the best option for parents of older kids, especially those who drive. Its unique Drive Safety tool, which tracks driving behaviors, ensures that teens maintain safety behind the wheel. Beyond this, FamiSafe offers excellent web filtering across multiple browsers and reliable location tracking with advanced geofencing capabilities. If you prioritize driving safety for your teen, FamiSafe is worth considering. It comes with a 7-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try it out risk-free.

Read our full FamiSafe review

4. Mobicip — Best For Advanced Scheduling and Time Management

Web filtering
Very good
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
mobicip.com

Mobicip is a strong Bark alternative that excels in detailed scheduling and time management features, including unique tools like a vacation mode.

I’ve really come to appreciate Mobicip’s scheduling feature. It offers unmatched flexibility by allowing you to create custom app and web filters for specific times in the day or specific days of the week, right down to 5-minute increments. This level of granularity can be particularly useful for parents who need to micromanage screen time, such as those with very young children or children with learning disabilities.

4. Mobicip — Best For Advanced Scheduling and Time Management

Mobicip’s Vacation Mode is another thoughtful addition. For family trips or relaxed weekends, this mode lets you briefly loosen the usual restrictions or offer more free screen time to your kids.

The web filtering feature in Mobicip is also really good. It allows you to actively curate which websites are accessible by blacklisting or whitelisting specific sites. The “Whitelist only mode” is an extra layer of caution, ensuring only parent-approved sites are accessible. You can further filter content by setting website permissions for 15+ predefined content categories, including alcohol and addiction, games, social, and more. While this is a solid approach, it doesn’t quite match up to the broader filtering options like those offered by Qustodio or Norton Family.

There’s also an app filtering feature that lets you limit the apps your kid can access on their device. Mobicip lets you restrict apps by using 3 predefined categories — Social Media, Entertainment, and Games. Mobicip’s social media monitoring feature lets you block social media apps on your child’s device, limit usage, and monitor their accounts. However, Mobicip only monitors 3 social media platforms (Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram), whereas Bark monitors over 30 social media apps.

Mobicip offers 3 plans starting from $2.99 / month, which is pretty affordable compared to Bark. However, only the most expensive plan — Mobicip Premium — includes social media monitoring and app limit features. All plans come with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Mobicip shines with its detailed scheduling capabilities, which allow parents to manage screen time down to 5-minute increments. It also offers a unique Vacation Mode and really good web and app filtering options, but its social media monitoring tool is pretty basic, especially when compared to Bark’s more extensive monitoring feature. That said, Mobicip offers more budget-friendly prices and includes a 30-day money-back guarantee, making it a worthy alternative to Bark.

Read our full Mobicip review

5. Kaspersky Safe Kids — Comprehensive Screen Time Control

Web filtering
Very good
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
kaspersky.com

Kaspersky Safe Kids is another good alternative to Bark — it provides a rich assortment of features that includes web filtering, location tracking, scheduling, and a very good time limit tool.

I like the level of customization that comes with Kaspersky Safe Kids’s screen time feature. It’s possible to send your kids a warning when they reach the screen time daily limit, block access to their device once their time is up, and opt to receive reports about how long your kid used their device for and what time of day they used it the most. Bark also provides weekly reports, but they’re not as detailed and only list the activities that trigger an alert. I also like how Kaspersky lets you select which apps can bypass the daily time limits.

5. Kaspersky Safe Kids — Comprehensive Screen Time Control

Kaspersky Safe Kids also offers social media monitoring, but it’s very basic. It shows your child’s timeline posts and how many friends they have — but only on VK, a Russian social media site. Bark’s social media monitoring is far better, as it can monitor 30+ popular social media platforms.

I could block websites with Kaspersky Safe Kids using its 10+ predefined site categories, which include Video Games, Violence, and Adult Content. This isn’t bad, but competitors like Qustodio and Norton Family provide access to more predefined site categories (25+ and 45+ categories respectively).

The app filtering feature is also pretty good — allowing filtering apps via categories (such as Browsers, Online Shopping, and Games), age restrictions, or even just completely blocking the app. However, Kaspersky Safe Kids can’t block iOS apps like Qustodio can.

Priced at $18.99 / year, Kaspersky Safe Kids is an affordable option. It gets even better if you get the Kaspersky Premium package, as it offers a free 1-year subscription to Safe Kids as well as excellent antivirus protection. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Kaspersky Safe Kids stands out with its detailed screen time controls and customizable app filtering options, making it a strong Bark alternative. While its social media monitoring is limited to VK and it lacks some of the broader site category options Bark offers, it’s very affordable, especially when bundled with the Kaspersky Premium package. It’s also backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full Kaspersky Safe Kids review

Quick Comparison Table

Parental Control App Starting Price Standout Features Number of Devices Free Plan Money-Back Guarantee
🥇1. Qustodio $54.95 / year Web filtering, YouTube monitoring, panic button, call and text monitoring 5 or unlimited 30 days
🥈2. Norton Family $49.99 / year Location tracking, web filtering, app filtering, uninstall protection Unlimited
(30-day free trial)
60 days
🥉3. FamiSafe $9.99 / month Driving safety monitoring, parent location tracking 5, 10, or Unlimited 7 days
4. Mobicip $2.99 / month Customizable scheduling, app filtering 5–20 30 days
5. Kaspersky Safe Kids $18.99 / year Real-time location tracking, web and app filtering Unlimited
(7-day free trial)
30 days

How to Choose the Best Bark Alternatives in 2024

  • Prioritize a comprehensive monitoring system. The effectiveness of a parental control app lies in its monitoring capabilities. Top brands like Qustodio and Norton Family have features that can scan text messages, images, and videos, notifying you of any suspicious content.
  • Pick a parental control app with strong scheduling and filtering options. The best parental control apps allow you to set strict screen time limits and filter out inappropriate content seamlessly. In my tests, Qustodio offered the most intuitive controls, ensuring kids engage in healthy screen time patterns.
  • Choose an app with cross-platform compatibility. In today’s multi-device world, you need a solution that functions effortlessly across all devices — be it Android, iOS, or Windows. Qustodio and Norton Family offer consistent protection on all major platforms.
  • Opt for apps with an intuitive user interface. A complicated setup or confusing UI can be really frustrating. All my recommended alternatives shine with their user-friendly interfaces, making it easier for you to navigate and set desired controls for your kid’s devices.

Is Bark (Still) One of the Best Parental Control Apps in 2024?

Bark sets itself apart by fostering communication between parents and children about digital safety rather than merely enforcing restrictions. In a digital age where children are prone to exposure from an early age, Bark’s approach of promoting trust over surveillance feels refreshingly contemporary.

Bark can monitor over 30 social media platforms and apps at an account level. By simply linking your child’s social media to Bark, you’re equipped with a tool that flags any problematic content. It intelligently monitors your child’s device, ensuring parents are alerted to dangerous content categories like bullying, anxiety, weapons, drugs, and more, while keeping your child’s standard interactions private to them.

I also like how user-friendly Bark’s apps are — they provide seamless navigation and management of all your parental control settings. What’s more, Bark has extensive customer support that comprises email support, video guides, FAQs, and a chatbot.

However, no tool is without its drawbacks. Bark’s focus on only flagging potential threats means parents don’t get a full view of their child’s online activity, which parents of younger children might find inadequate. There’s no detailed time tracking for apps, and tech-savvy youngsters might find ways to bypass Bark’s features. Additionally, Bark’s geographical availability is somewhat limited.

Despite these limitations, Bark is still an enticing option. It lacks a money-back guarantee like some competitors, but it does offer a 7-day free trial. Plus, its ease of use and extensive social media monitoring solidify its place as one of the best parental control apps in 2024.

Why Look for an Alternative to Bark?

Choosing the right parental control app is an important decision for parents, and while Bark offers many benefits, there are reasons why it might not be the ideal choice for everyone:

  • Desire for enhanced features: Every family’s dynamics differ, and what works for one family might not work for another. Parents who’ve experienced Bark might find they need more intricate features or controls than Bark currently provides, causing them to search for a substitute.
  • Need for greater oversight: Trust is vital, but some parents, particularly those with younger children, may prefer an app that offers more direct monitoring. Bark’s “trust over surveillance” model may not resonate with everyone.
  • Ease of installation and comfort with established platforms: Bark’s absence from the Google Play Store for Android users can be very inconvenient and potentially risky. Not only does it add an extra step to setting Bark up, but downloading APKs from external sources may carry security risks. Parents may feel uneasy without the security that well-established platforms like the Google Play Store offer.
  • Geographical limitations: Bark is only available in a handful of countries: the US, Australia, South Africa, and Guam. This eliminates it as an option for a significant number of potential users who reside outside these territories.

Bark offers a unique approach to parental controls, but individual needs and preferences can lead parents to explore other options. In a diverse market, one solution doesn’t fit all, and there are plenty of great options to explore.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut

  • mSpy. mSpy is a strong surveillance tool that provides good parental control features like web filtering and location tracking. However, it’s more of a spy tool than a parental control app, and it’s much more invasive than Bark.
  • Net Nanny. Net Nanny provides industry-standard features like web and app filtering, location tracking, screen time management, and activity reports. However, its features aren’t as good as the other parental control apps on this list.
  • Eyezy. Eyezy is a powerful surveillance tool, but it provides more spying features than basic parental control features. Plus, it only works on iOS and Android devices — Bark supports iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a better parental control app than Bark?

It depends on your needs, but overall, Qustodio provides more comprehensive features than Bark. Its web filtering supports all major browsers (Bark only supports Edge and Chrome), and it can block unsupported browsers like Tor and Brave as well. Unlike with Bark, you can set time limits for specific apps rather than the whole device and also block offline apps like games. What’s more, you can’t easily bypass Qustodio’s settings like you can with Bark.

Is Bark a good parental control app?

Yes, Bark is a good parental control app. Unlike traditional parental control apps that merely block content or set time limits, Bark uses advanced algorithms to scan for potential threats or concerning behavior, such as bullying or inappropriate messaging. This monitoring extends to over 30+ social media platforms at the account level. Bark also provides website and app filtering, location tracking, scheduling, and activity reports. Plus, it has very intuitive apps and great customer support.

Which is better: Bark or Famisafe?

Bark is generally better. It’s exceptional at monitoring over 30 social media platforms and sending alerts for potentially harmful online interactions, such as bullying, hate speech, or any type of inappropriate content. FamiSafe, on the other hand, is great for kids learning to drive. It has a unique Drive Safety tool that offers an in-depth analysis of driving habits, capturing details like average speeds and braking patterns and even alerting you about speeding. This ensures that you’re well informed about your teen’s road safety.

Can kids bypass Bark?

Yes, kids can bypass Bark. Bark only monitors Chrome and Edge browsers, so your child can easily hide their browsing history by using a different browser like Opera or Brave. Qustodio, on the other hand, makes it much harder for kids to disable its features.

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About the Author
Kamso Oguejiofor-Abugu
Updated on: May 8, 2024

About the Author

Kamso Oguejiofor is a former Content Writer at SafetyDetectives. He has over 2 years of experience writing and editing topics about cybersecurity, network security, fintech, and information security. He has also worked as a freelance writer for tech, health, beauty, fitness, and gaming publications, and he has experience in SEO writing, product descriptions/reviews, and news stories. When he’s not studying or writing, he likes to play basketball, work out, and binge watch anime and drama series.