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

Updated on: May 28, 2024
Fact Checked by Eric Goldstein
Kristel van Hoof Kristel van Hoof
Updated on: May 28, 2024 Writer

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

  • 🥇 Bark : Scans Whatsapp messages and alerts you when it detects concerning or inappropriate content. It also lets you create a customizable schedule of when your child can use WhatsApp. Bark has a 7-day free trial, so you can test it risk-free.

My biggest issue with WhatsApp is that it doesn’t offer any in-app parental control features. It also doesn’t do anything extra to make sure its age restrictions are enforced, so anyone can create an account and use WhatsApp.

Also, many parental apps don’t let you monitor your child’s WhatsApp. This is because the app uses end-to-end encryption, making it difficult to access its content.

After testing 30+ parental apps, I managed to find the best ones for WhatsApp. My favorite is Bark, as it allows me to actually read my child’s WhatsApp messages if they are flagged as concerning. Plus, it comes with tons of convenient features, like daily time limits and app filters.

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Quick summary of the best parental controls for WhatsApp:

  • 🥇 1. Bark — Best overall parental control app for WhatsApp with non-invasive monitoring tools.
  • 🥈 2. mSpy — Excellent for monitoring WhatsApp on Android (takes screenshots and logs keystrokes).
  • 🥉 3. FamiSafe — Great parental control app for WhatsApp that can monitor specific keywords.
  • 4. Eyezy — Solid parental control app with custom keyword tracking on iOS devices.
  • 5. Qustodio — Really good parental control app for setting time limits on WhatsApp usage.

🥇1. Bark — Best Overall Parental Control App for WhatsApp

Approved by our experts
Bark
Approved by our experts
Most readers pick Bark
Web filtering
Excellent
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
N/A
bark.us

Bark is the best parental control app for WhatsApp. It uses AI to scan your child’s WhatsApp messages for concerning or inappropriate content against 15+ categories that focus on a wide range of issues, including cyberbullying, violence, and sex. When a message triggers its filters, Bark uploads a snippet of the message to your app. I like this way of monitoring since it respects my child’s privacy while still giving me valuable insights.

I really like that Bark lets you control the sensitivity levels for each filter category. You can choose whether you want to receive an alert every time it detects content that falls under that category or if you only want to be alerted in “severe” cases. On top of that, Bark includes recommended actions to help you figure out how to handle the situation with every alert — which is super convenient.

🥇1. Bark — Best Overall Parental Control App for WhatsApp

There’s also an option to set screen time limits for WhatsApp. I really like that the app allows you to set different rules for different times of the day — so you can, for example, block WhatsApp during school time but allow access in the evening.

And, if you don’t want your child to use the app, you can disable the WhatsApp app completely. If you’re worried about your kid bypassing the WhatsApp restrictions on their phone by simply going to the browser, there’s an option to block WhatsApp’s URL as well.

I also like how Bark’s apps are user-friendly. The layout of the app is pretty simple, so you won’t have any trouble navigating it even if you’re completely new to parental control apps. Every feature is clearly labeled, and it’s very easy to set rules and restrictions. Plus, it’s great that the provider allows you to monitor an unlimited number of devices, which is ideal for large families.

Bark offers two subscriptions, Bark Jr. and Bark Premium. However, only the Bark Premium plan, which costs $14.00 / month, provides access to the features you need to monitor WhatsApp. Unfortunately, Bark’s plan doesn’t come with a money-back guarantee — instead, you get a generous 7-day free trial.

Try Bark risk-free for 7 days!
Use Bark's 100% free trial to see if it’s the right parental control for you.

Bottom Line:

Bark is the best parental control app for WhatsApp. It scans your child’s WhatsApp messages for inappropriate content and alerts you when it detects concerning content by sending you a snippet of the conversation. Bark also offers other useful features like scheduling and screen time limits, as well as web filtering. You get all of these features in the Bark Premium plan, which you can test for free as part of Bark’s 7-day free trial.

Read the full Bark review

🥈2. mSpy — Good WhatsApp Monitoring on Android

Web filtering
Good
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
N/A
mspy.com

mSpy allows you to access WhatsApp messages, images, and contacts. It also shows you when your kid used WhatsApp for voice calls and how long the voice call lasted — it’s a super useful feature if you want to know everything that your child is sending and receiving.

On Android, mSpy can take screenshots of your child’s WhatsApp conversations. The screen recorder feature captures screenshots when it detects changes within WhatsApp, like when your child receives a message. This means you can constantly follow your kid’s WhatsApp conversations in real-time. Also, mSpy allows you to block WhatsApp Web in its web filtering feature (Android only).

🥈2. mSpy — Good WhatsApp Monitoring on Android

Plus, you get a keylogger feature on Android. This allows you to track every keystroke your child types on their phone. I liked that you can set up the app to alert you when your child uses a particular word or phrase.

But I don’t like that you need to root or jailbreak your child’s phone to use some of mSpy’s features. Not only is this a technical process, but it strips your device of a lot of security measures that it has in place and it can also brick it and render it useless. That’s why I prefer Bark.

mSpy has 4 plans that monitor WhatsApp: the Premium plan ($11.67 / month), the Family Kit ($24.00 / month), the iOS Ultimate Kit ($35.00 / month), and Android Extreme ($23.99 / month). Unfortunately, mSpy doesn’t provide a free plan, a trial period, or a money-back guarantee.

Save 50% on mSpy today!
You can save 50% if you act right now.

Bottom Line:

mSpy gives a full picture of your kids’ WhatsApp activities, including the messages and images they send, and voice calls. It also has a keylogger and screen recorder for extra WhatsApp monitoring on Android. One downside is that you’ll have to jailbreak your device for some of these features to work. I also don’t like that it’s missing a money-back guarantee or a free trial.

Read the full mSpy review

🥉3. FamiSafe — Great Keyword Monitoring on WhatsApp

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

FamiSafe lets you know when your kid types certain words on WhatsApp. I really like this feature since it allows you to add slang or phrases that your kids use with their friends. And, if you don’t want to manually add keywords, FamiSafe lets you configure the app to check words from predefined categories, such as violence and drugs, with a single tap.

It’s also great for scheduling WhatsApp time for your kid. In my tests, I was able to customize it, so my kid could only use WhatsApp during certain hours (just like with Bark), like in the evening after dinner but not during school hours.

🥉3. FamiSafe — Great Keyword Monitoring on WhatsApp

You also have the option to set a time limit specifically for WhatsApp. This essentially means that your child won’t be able to use WhatsApp after their allowed time, which enables you to effectively manage and control how much time they’re spending on WhatsApp. But if you don’t want your kid to spend any time on the app, you can block WhatsApp entirely.

The parental app also offers activity reports. Although there wasn’t much information in there, it did give me an overview of how much time my child spent on WhatsApp.

FamiSafe’s best-value plan is the annual plan, which costs $59.99 / year — it covers an unlimited number of devices. All the plans come with a 7-day money-back guarantee.

Save 50% on FamiSafe today!
You can save 50% if you act right now.

Bottom Line:

FamiSafe offers customized keyword monitoring for suspicious messages on WhatsApp. I like that, unlike most apps that come with this feature, it comes with predefined categories, so you don’t have to manually add keywords if you don’t want to. It’s also great that you can set time limits for WhatsApp and that its plans are backed by a 7-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full FamiSafe review

4. Eyezy — Good for Tracking WhatsApp Messages on iOS

Web filtering
Good
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
N/A
eyezy.com

Eyezy’s keylogger alerts you when it detects words on your child’s WhatsApp on iOS. This feature works pretty much the same as that of mSpy and FamiSafe — you set up keywords and get alerts whenever your child types them in the app. However, with Eyezy, you also get it on iOS.

I really like that Eyezy lets you monitor all of your kid’s WhatsApp conversations, as well as pictures and videos that your kid sends or receives in the app. In my tests, it worked as advertised, but I didn’t like that I had to wait for up to 15 minutes for the app to update the changes.

4. Eyezy — Good for Tracking WhatsApp Messages on iOS

Eyezy’s web filtering allows you to block WhatsApp Web, too. This is handy if you want to make sure that your kid doesn’t go to the web version after you block the app on their device. However, I found it a bit annoying that it took Eyezy about 15 minutes to apply the changes. For comparison, Bark blocks sites instantly.

Unfortunately, using these features requires you to jailbreak your kid’s device, which compromises the device’s security, so it’s not ideal. I only recommend this for users that really know what they’re doing.

Eyezy offers mobile and desktop plans starting at $7.99 / month. Unfortunately, there’s no free plan, trial period, or money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Eyezy has a neat keyword tracker that pings you when your child types a certain word you don’t want them to use. It also has a great keylogger feature that lets you see everything your child types on WhatsApp, and there’s an option to block WhatsApp’s app and web version. But setting up Eyezy requires you to root or jailbreak your child’s device, and I’m not a fan of how it doesn’t provide a free plan, trial period, or money-back guarantee.

Read the full Eyezy review

5. Qustodio — Set Time Limits for WhatsApp Usage

Web filtering
Excellent
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
qustodio.com

Qustodio allows you to control your child’s WhatsApp usage by setting daily time limits for the app. When your child reaches the time limit on WhatsApp, Qustodio will automatically block the app, and they’ll no longer be able to access it. Just like Bark, Qustodio also allows you to block WhatsApp completely, which is a great feature if you’re worried about your child’s safety on the app.

Qustodio’s web filtering feature allows you to prevent access to WhatsApp Web, so your child won’t be able to get around the WhatsApp app restrictions by logging in through the web version. Alternatively, you can configure the app, so your child has access to the web version, but it sends you alerts every time they visit the site.

5. Qustodio — Set Time Limits for WhatsApp Usage

Qustodio’s activity reports allowed me to easily track my child’s WhatsApp usage. It displays the daily time spent on the app and saves usage history for the past 30 days.

Qustodio’s Complete plan, priced at $99.95 / year, is very affordable and comes with all the features you need to monitor your child’s device. It also lets you monitor an unlimited number of devices and is backed by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Qustodio allows you to set daily time limits for WhatsApp, which is handy if you want to control how much time your kid is spending on the app. If you don’t want your kid to use WhatsApp, you can block the app completely — including the web version. All of these features are only available in Qustodio’s Complete plan, which provides the most value and is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Qustodio review

Quick Comparison Table

Parental Control App Starting Price Monitors WhatsApp Messages Time Limits for WhatsApp Number of Devices Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇Bark $5.00 / month
(sends you a snippet of any messages that trigger an alert)
Unlimited
(Only a 7-day free trial)
2.🥈mSpy $7.08 / month 1–3
3.🥉FamiSafe $9.99 / month
(sends you a snippet of any messages that trigger an alert)
5, 10, or Unlimited 7 days
4. Eyezy $7.99 / month 1
5. Qustodio $54.95 / year 5 or Unlimited 30 days

How to Choose the Best Parental Controls for WhatsApp in 2024

  • Select a parental app that can monitor WhatsApp activity. There aren’t many parental controls out there that actually let you see what your kid is doing on WhatsApp. I recommend Bark.
  • Check for other essential parental control features. Features like web filtering can help make sure that your kid won’t bypass their WhatsApp restrictions by signing into their account on the web. Other tools like time limits will let you decide how long your child can use WhatsApp. Most of the parental control apps I recommend offer these features and more.
  • Test the app for good performance. Make sure that it doesn’t slow down the device and doesn’t excessively drain the battery.
  • Opt for a user-friendly app. Every parental control app I recommend comes with beginner-friendly apps for desktop, Android, and iOS, so you can easily set it up even if you haven’t really used a parental control app before. If the provider also has a kids app, it too needs to be beginner-friendly.
  • Choose a parental control app that provides excellent value. The top options on my list give a great range of effective features, enabling you to supervise your child’s WhatsApp usage, offer free plans or trials, reasonable prices, and a money-back guarantee.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut

  • Norton Family. Offers screen time and scheduling features, but it doesn’t support time limits for specific apps. It also doesn’t let you monitor WhatsApp messages or any other media on the app.
  • Kaspersky. Kaspersky Safe Kids has social media monitoring, but it only works with Russian social media sites. It also doesn’t allow you to block WhatsApp on iOS.
  • Net Nanny. Although it offers a great screen time feature, you can’t set time limits for WhatsApp, and there’s no social media monitoring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I restrict the amount of time my child can spend on WhatsApp?

Yes. All parental apps on this list allow you to set screen time limits on WhatsApp. However, I recommend Bark, as it provides a screen time schedule feature with customizable rules, which allows you to block WhatsApp during specific times on certain days. If you find that your child is still spending excessive time on WhatsApp, Bark lets you completely block the app, too.

Is it possible for me to view WhatsApp messages sent to my child’s phone?

Yes. Some parental apps can scan your WhatsApp messages to varying degrees. For example, parental control apps like mSpy give you full access to all of your kid’s activity on WhatsApp, including their messages, pictures, voice calls, and contacts.

But instead, I prefer apps like Bark that only show you messages that trigger its alert system. This way, you don’t have to spend hours scrolling through the app to find specific instances of concerning content, and you still get to see the messages that are potentially inappropriate. You can give Bark a try for free for 7 days to see how it monitors your child’s WhatsApp and which types of messages trigger alerts.

Is it possible to use a free app for monitoring WhatsApp?

Unfortunately, no. Free parental control apps are typically limited in functionality and can be easily bypassed or disabled by children. Whether your intention is to monitor the actual content of WhatsApp messages or impose screen time limits, it’s important to invest in a premium parental control app that actually works. My top recommendation is Bark, as it integrates with WhatsApp and delivers real-time alerts whenever your kid sends or receives a suspicious message on the app.

Which parental control app offers the best WhatsApp monitoring features?

My top recommendation for monitoring WhatsApp is Bark, as it allows you to keep your kid’s activity on WhatsApp in check without compromising their privacy. The app doesn’t give you full access to their WhatsApp conversation, but it sends you alerts and a snippet of the conversation when it detects inappropriate or concerning words and phrases.

Do parental control apps provide WhatsApp monitoring for group chats?

Yes, all apps on this list that offer WhatsApp monitoring include support for group chats — it works the same for all types of WhatsApp conversations, regardless of whether they’re group or individual chats. I prefer Bark for monitoring WhatsApp, as it uses machine learning to scan each conversation for inappropriate content and sends you alerts and a snippet of the message whenever its filters pick something up.

Quick Overview of My Top Recommendations:

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8.6
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8.2
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8.6
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7.8
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9.6
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About the Author
Kristel van Hoof
Updated on: May 28, 2024

About the Author

Kristel van Hoof is a former tech researcher and writer for SafetyDetectives with a keen interest in online privacy and cybersecurity. For more than 3 years now, she has been testing and reviewing VPNs and other products for online data protection. When she’s not writing for Safety Detectives, she's dancing with her kids, traveling around the world, and cooking her favorite dishes.

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