5 Best Parental Controls for Teenagers in 2024 — 100% Tested

Danica Djokic
Danica Djokic Writer
Updated on: June 18, 2024
Fact Checked by Eric Goldstein
Danica Djokic Danica Djokic
Updated on: June 18, 2024 Writer

Short on time? Here’s the best parental control for teenagers in 2024:

  • 🥇 Qustodio : Offers excellent parental control features for checking on your teenagers, like web and app monitoring, screen time supervision and scheduling, location tracking, and in-depth activity reports. You’ll also get a bunch of extras for monitoring your teens’ calls, SMS, and YouTube activities, plus a panic button they can activate if they’re in trouble. It’s also very intuitive and offers budget-friendly pricing plans.

There are many great parental control apps, but few are good for monitoring teens. A lot of them come with features that are too restrictive and invasive or simply don’t have the necessary tools to prevent your teenager from getting around your set rules.

I tested 30+ parental control apps to find the best ones for teenagers. I found 5 really good apps that come with essential features like screen time limits and app and web filters and also give you the option to give your teen some privacy.

My favorite is Qustodio, as it offers a healthy balance between safety and autonomy, excellent standard features, a wide range of extras, and easy-to-use apps.

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Quick summary of the best parental controls for teenagers: 

  • 🥇 1. Qustodio — Best parental control app for teenagers (with top-notch monitoring tools + extras).
  • 🥈 2. Norton Family — Excellent parental control app with flexible time management tools for your teen.
  • 🥉 3. FamiSafe — Great for monitoring your teen’s driving habits to keep them safe on the road.
  • 4. Bark — Good parental control app for monitoring your teenager’s social media apps.
  • 5. Mobicip — Decent parental control app for creating custom schedules for your teen.

🥇1. Qustodio — Best Overall Parental Control App for Teenagers 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 by far the best parental control app for teenagers that I tested — it offers excellent web and app filtering tools, including a dedicated YouTube monitoring feature, along with top-notch time limit features to control your teens’ screen time — this is why Qustodio is the best parental control app on the market.

With Qustodio, you’ll get top-notch web and app filtering tools. You can block or set time limits for apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, and choose from 25+ predefined content categories to determine what kind of content your kid can or can’t access when browsing.

🥇1. Qustodio — Best Overall Parental Control App for Teenagers in 2024

Alternatively, you can set time limits in 15-minute increments to control your teen’s screen time or restrict specific periods in hour-long chunks to make sure they’re not spending any time online when they’re supposed to be studying or sleeping. The app sends alerts when your teenager reaches their screen time limit.

I really like that Qustodio offers a dedicated YouTube monitoring feature, too. It lets you block access to both the YouTube site and app, which is handy as most teens nowadays watch YouTube on the app, set a time limit, and activate Safe Search so they don’t accidentally come across videos that are inappropriate for their age. Finally, I think it’s great that you get an overview of your teen’s YouTube website and app activity.

The Family Locator tool offers real-time location tracking, so you can keep up with your teenager’s whereabouts 24/7. There’s also a geofence tool, which allows you to set a safe zone of up to 0.12 miles (200 meters). You can also store location history for up to 30 days, which is useful if you want to spot patterns or regular visits to specific places.

Qustodio offers a variety of additional features, too. For example, you’ll get Call & SMS monitoring to can track calls and SMS on your kid’s mobile device and block certain contacts. Some teenagers may find this tool too invasive, though, so I only recommend it in cases where you absolutely need it. There’s also a Panic Button, which lets your teens send alerts to trusted contacts in emergencies. Also, you can activate the Uninstall Protection tool, so your teen won’t be able to secretly uninstall the app.

🥇1. Qustodio — Best Overall Parental Control App for Teenagers in 2024

With Qustodio, you’ll get activity reports daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to keep you updated about your teenager’s online behavior. You’ll get insight into blocked websites, app and web activity, web searches, calls and SMS, and YouTube activity.

Qustodio’s apps are very user-friendly. The setup is simple and supported by step-by-step guides. I managed to install the apps on my PC and my kids’ Android devices in roughly 5 minutes. Keep in mind that installing the app on kids’ devices takes some time because you need to give the app different permissions.

Qustodio offers paid plans that start at $54.95 / year and a limited free plan. All the paid plans are backed by a standard 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Bottom Line:

Qustodio is an excellent parental control app for teenagers. It features top-notch web and app filtering tools, lets you monitor popular apps, and blocks unfamiliar sites. Qustodio also offers real-time location tracking, activity reports, and a range of useful extras, like YouTube monitoring. The app is user-friendly and simple to set up, affordably priced, and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Qustodio review

🥈2. Norton Family — Top-Notch Time Management Features for Monitoring Your Teen’s Screen Time

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

Norton Family is an excellent pick for managing your teen’s screen time. You can schedule specific screen time limits for each day in 30-minute increments or simply use Norton Family’s predefined time limits. And, if your teen runs out of time and needs more, they have the option to request more screen time.

The School Time feature lets you manage your teens’ remote study time. You can restrict up to 8 hours using increments of 30 minutes, during which time your kid will only be able to access whitelisted website categories while studying, such as Reference/Educational or Technology.

Norton Family offers great web and app filtering for teens. It lets you block 45+ predefined website categories, and I like that you can just warn the kids about this content and give them the option to choose if they want to access it. For app management, Norton Family allows you to block popular apps and social media platforms such as Discord, YouTube, and Twitter. However, it doesn’t have a dedicated YouTube blocking feature like Qustodio.

🥈2. Norton Family — Top-Notch Time Management Features for Monitoring Your Teen’s Screen Time

The real-time location tracker helps you monitor your teenager’s location. It allows you to set geofences up to 2 miles (3,200 meters), which is larger than Qustodio, and sends you a notification if your child leaves or enters a designated area. There’s also a less-invasive Check-In feature that lets your teen share their location manually when you ask them.

Norton Family provides a bunch of additional features, too. With the Search Supervision tool, you can monitor your teenager’s online search behavior on YouTube and popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! Video Supervision helps you monitor which videos your kids watch on YouTube and Hulu, and you get Uninstall protection, which ensures your teen won’t be able to remove the Norton Family app from their device.

With Norton Family, you can receive daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly activity reports. These reports cover information about blocked websites, app usage, web searches, video views, and more.

Norton Family has a paid yearly plan that costs $49.99 / year. If you purchase the Norton 360 Deluxe or Select + Lifelock antivirus plans, Norton Family comes bundled with them. If you decide to subscribe, you’ll get a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.

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Bottom Line:

Norton Family offers excellent time management features, including daily screen time limits and restricted times where your teen only gets access to whitelisted content categories. Norton’s web and app filtering capabilities allow you to block specific content and apps too, and you get a couple of extras like Search and Video Supervision.


Read the full Norton Family review

🥉 3. FamiSafe — Excellent for Keeping Track of Your Teens’ Driving Habits

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

FamiSafe lets you monitor your teen’s driving habits. You get access to detailed driving reports, including information on average and highest speeds, distance covered, time spent driving, and instances of speeding and hard braking. Plus, the app alerts you when your teen starts driving over the maximum speed limit you set in the app, which is very convenient.

The real-time location tracking feature means you’ll always know where your teen drives. The app updates your kid’s driving location every 15 minutes and allows you to set geofencing in a radius between 0.06-0.60 miles (100-1,000 meters) and get alerts when your teen enters or leaves the designated area.

I really like FamiSafe’s unique reverse location tracking feature, as it lets you share your location with your teen, which is helpful if you need to meet them somewhere.

🥉 3. FamiSafe — Excellent for Keeping Track of Your Teens’ Driving Habits

I think FamiSafe’s web and app filtering is good. It filters content into 15+ categories, including violence, drugs, and mature content, and logs all browser history. I really like that it sends you a notification when your teen tries to access any blocked sites, even when they use incognito mode. However, unlike Qustodio and Norton Family, FamiSafe didn’t block all websites in my tests. You can also block apps like YouTube and TikTok and monitor your teen’s searches on these platforms.

FamiSafe’s Screen Time Controls are decent, too. Setting a restriction schedule for how much time your kid can spend on their device is pretty straightforward, and I loved that I could instantly block all access whenever I wanted to with the Instant Block option.

FamiSafe offers several plans that cost as low as $9.99 / month. There’s also a free plan with all the premium features included, but it lets you protect only 1 device. FamiSafe’s premium plans come with a 7-day money-back guarantee.

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Bottom Line:

FamiSafe is a great choice for parents of teen drivers. It offers useful features such as driving safety monitoring and real-time location tracking, so you know how your teen drives and where, as well as comprehensive web and app filtering and screen time control. It also comes with a reverse location tracker feature that lets kids monitor their parents’ locations. Its plans are backed by a 7-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full FamiSafe review

4. Bark — Great for Non-Invasive Social Media Monitoring

Web filtering
Excellent
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
N/A
bark.us

Bark is great for tracking your teen’s social media activities. Although it scans your teen’s messages on social media apps like TikTok and Snapchat, it only alerts you and shows you a message when it detects language that points to issues like cyberbullying, drugs, online predators, and more.

You also get a less invasive location-tracking option that lets you ask your kid to share their location with you and get directions to where they are on a map, instead of tracking them in real time.

That said, Bark still has a real-time location tracking feature for both Android and iOS devices if you want to keep a close eye on your teenager, as well as a geofencing feature that alerts you when your kid enters or leaves certain locations. Still, its geofences of up to 0.12 miles (200 meters) are much smaller than that of Norton Family, which allows you to set up zones of up to 2 miles (3,200 meters).

4. Bark — Great for Non-Invasive Social Media Monitoring

When it comes to web and app filtering, Bark does a good job. It lets you block social media apps, streaming services, and games, and enable safe search on YouTube, Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. That said, Bark can’t block offline apps, like Qustodio.

Bark’s Screen Time Management tool is pretty good. It allows you to schedule when your teen can use their devices and when they need to take breaks, and which apps and sites they can access during school hours, bedtime, or free time. However, it doesn’t allow you to set strict time limits for specific apps.

Bark’s plans start at $5.00 / month. Although there isn’t a money-back guarantee, you can take advantage of a 7-day free trial to test out its features before fully committing to a subscription.

Bottom Line:

Bark is good for non-invasive social media monitoring. It also offers a location-sharing feature that lets you ask your teen to share their location with you, and it only shows you your teen’s social media conversations when the message triggers one of its categories, like bullying. Bark doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee but has a 7-day free trial.

Read the full Bark review

5. Mobicip — Great Scheduling Tools for Your Teen

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

Mobicip offers customizable screen-time management and scheduling tools that are great for controlling your teen’s screen. You can set a Daily Free Time Limit for your teen but still allow them to request more time.

I like that I could create an unlimited number of custom app and web filters for specific times and days in 5-minute increments. Plus, its Vacation Mode lets you allow for more generous free time limits, which is great for the summer break or when they’re on vacation. But I don’t like that you can’t set up time limits for specific apps, like with Qustodio.

5. Mobicip — Great Scheduling Tools for Your Teen

I think Mobicip’s web and app filtering is great. You can restrict apps by categories (Social Media, Entertainment, and Games) and filter web content across 15+ predefined categories, which is good, but it’s fewer than Norton Family, which offers 45+ categories. That said, Mobicip lets you design custom filters using keywords if there’s anything specific that you don’t want your teen to access.

You’ll also get decent social media monitoring. Mobicip monitors your teen’s Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook accounts and alerts you when it detects inappropriate or concerning content.

Mobicip prices are competitively priced ($2.99 / month), it offers a 7-day free trial on all plans, and backs all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Plus, Mobicip has a free Basic plan, but it lets you monitor only 1 device and only offers website filters and activity reports.

Bottom Line:

Mobicip has excellent scheduling tools, as well as great customized app and web filters. It also offers one of the best parental control features for social media monitoring and a great location tracking feature. All of its plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Mobicip review

Quick Comparison Table

Parental Control App Starting Price Location Tracking Web Filtering

Categories

Uninstall Protection Number of Devices Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇Qustodio $54.95 / year

(up to .12 miles)

25+ 5 or Unlimited 30 days
2.🥈Norton Family $49.99 / year

(up to 2 miles)

45+ Unlimited 60 days
3.🥉FamiSafe $9.99 / month

(up to 60 miles)

15+ 5–10 7 days
4. Bark $5.00 / month

(up to .12 miles)

15+ Unlimited
5. Mobicip $2.99 / month

(up to .62 miles)

15+ 5–20 30 days

How to Choose the Best Parental Controls for Teenagers in 2024

  • Look for industry-standard features. All the parental controls I recommend offer essential features such as web and app filtering, screen time management, and location tracking.
  • Check if the app has teen-specific features. Screen time limits, app and site filtering, monitoring, uninstall protection, and YouTube monitoring are great features to have on your parental control dashboard if you’re trying to keep track of a teen’s online activities. You can’t go wrong with Qustodio, as it comes with most of these tools.
  • Search for comprehensive activity reports. Activity reports should cover every aspect of your teen’s digital life, so you can better understand your teen’s online habits and ensure they are engaging with safe and age-appropriate content.
  • Make sure it has easy-to-use apps. All the parental controls on my list have user-friendly apps for both parents and teens.
  • Pick a vendor that offers good value for money. All the parental controls I recommend offer affordable plans, money-back guarantees, or free trials and free plans, and let you monitor multiple or unlimited devices.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut

  • Kaspersky Safe Kids. It has excellent features, but when it comes to social media monitoring, it only lets you monitor VK, a Russian social media site.
  • mSpy. mSpy is more of a spy app than a parental control app — it lets you read your teen’s messages, see every image and video on their phone, and even look at their emails and social media chats. While some parents may find these features useful, they’re also pretty invasive.
  • Eyezy. Eyezy also lets you read your child’s messages, social media chats, and even see every contact on their phone, which won’t give your teen much privacy. It doesn’t have any screen scheduling features and only allows you to monitor 1 device.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best parental control app for teenagers?

In my opinion, the best parental control app for teenagers is Qustodio. This app offers a comprehensive suite of features that let you monitor your teen’s online activities, set healthy screen time limits, including for their time spent on social media apps like Instagram and TikTok, and ensure their safety through advanced features like location tracking. Plus, it comes with affordable prices.

How to choose the best parental control app for teenagers?

Consider factors such as features offered, pricing, and reliability. Check if the app provides web filtering, location tracking, time management, and control over app usage — features particularly relevant for teens. You should also make sure the app is easy to use for both you and your teen.

Different families have different needs, so the best app is subjective to each family’s unique circumstances. The good news is the parental control apps I recommend come with free plans, free trials, and money-back guarantees so you can try them risk-free.

What’s the best parental control for YouTube?

Qustodio offers the best YouTube monitoring features. It lets you filter out inappropriate content but also provides detailed reports on the videos your teenager watches, their search queries, and even comments they make. Plus, it lets you monitor both the YouTube site and the YouTube app, so your teen won’t be able to get around your monitoring by simply opening YouTube on their browser.

Are free parental control apps any good?

Free parental controls can be a good starting point, but I don’t recommend using them. They often lack more advanced features, such as social media monitoring, location tracking, and detailed activity reports, which are important for keeping an eye on your teen’s digital life.

A lot of free parental control apps also limit the number of devices you can monitor and they might even collect and sell user data.

Instead, I recommend getting an affordable paid app, like Qustodio — it has all the features you need to keep tabs on your teen’s online activities, it’s very safe, and it’s very affordable (prices start at just $54.95 / year).

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About the Author
Danica Djokic
Updated on: June 18, 2024

About the Author

Danica Djokic is a content writer at Safety Detectives. She has been writing SEO-optimized content for several years and specializes in cybersecurity, privacy, and online safety. With a passion for technology and a commitment to helping others stay safe online, Danica is dedicated to providing accurate and informative content that empowers readers to make informed decisions about their digital security. When she’s not writing about cybersecurity, Danica enjoys exploring the latest advancements in technology, reading, playing the piano, hiking, and enjoying the great outdoors.

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