Updated on: March 1, 2023
Short on time? Here’s the best antivirus with parental controls:
- 🥇 Norton 360 Deluxe — Excellent antivirus with more advanced parental controls than many standalone parental control apps, including content filtering, time supervision, location tracking, and more. Norton covers up to 5 devices and comes with a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee.
I downloaded and tested every single antivirus with parental controls that I could find. I looked for the best software that included all the anti-malware and child-protection features to keep my family safe online in 2023.
Kids are spending more and more time on the internet, and a lot of school tasks are now online. So, I wanted an antivirus that could keep a child 100% safe from hackers, predators, and addictive apps — without interfering with their education.
The good news is that I found 5 quality antivirus programs with excellent parental control features — including content filtering, device and app usage limitations, app blocking, location sharing, geo-fencing, remote monitoring, and more — all of which will help you protect your kids from the dangers of the digital world.
Quick summary of the best antiviruses with parental controls:
- 1.🥇 Norton 360 Deluxe — Best overall antivirus suite with parental controls in 2023.
- 2.🥈 Bitdefender Total Security — Cloud-based antivirus with excellent parental controls.
- 3.🥉 McAfee Total Protection — Advanced antivirus protection with intuitive parental controls.
- 4. Kaspersky Premium — Good antivirus with excellent location tracking and geo-fencing.
- 5. Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best malware protection & parental controls for macOS.
- Bonus. Panda Dome Advanced — Decent antivirus with easy-to-use parental controls.
- Comparison of the Best Antiviruses With Parental Controls.
🥇 1. Norton 360 Deluxe — Best Antivirus Software With Parental Controls in 2023
Norton 360 Deluxe is my favorite program for protecting kids from online threats in 2023. It scored a perfect 100% malware detection rate in my tests, and it comes with excellent parental controls — which are better than many standalone parental control apps I’ve tried (in fact, Norton’s standalone parental control app ranked #3 on our list of the top standalone parental controls).
Norton’s parental controls are very easy to use. I had no problem checking notifications and adjusting settings for my test devices. Less tech-savvy parents will appreciate the 4 built-in restriction levels — these automatically adjust all the permissions and settings for different developmental stages, so you don’t have to set up all of the content filtering permissions yourself.
Norton’s parental controls include:
- Screen time management.
- School Time scheduling.
- YouTube/video monitoring.
- Content filtering.
- Website & app supervision.
- Location tracking.
- And more…
The School Time scheduling feature is great. It allows you to restrict certain websites during scheduled “school hours”, without impacting access to educational content. For example, you can prevent your kid from accessing sites like YouTube, Snapchat, and Roblox during school hours but still give them access to school-based websites.
Norton also lets you restrict, filter, and manage what your kids can access online, and keep an eye on what sort of things they’re searching for, what apps they’re downloading, and what sites they’re visiting.
Norton’s location tracker is another helpful feature. Location services also include geo-fencing, which alerts you if your child leaves a defined radius, and there’s a handy Check-In feature that allows your kid to easily send you their location from their mobile with just a few taps. It’s also great that you can check your child’s location as far back as 30 days.
The parental controls are included with the Norton 360 Deluxe plan ($24.99 / year), and you can manage them from any device — this plan also includes a powerful malware scanner, a VPN with unlimited browsing data (one of the best VPN-antivirus bundles), web browsing protections, system cleanup tools, coverage for up to 5 devices, and a lot more. Norton also offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Norton 360 Deluxe is my favorite antivirus with parental controls. Its antivirus scanner scored a perfect 100% detection rate in my tests, and the parental controls are some of the best on the market. Norton’s parental controls — which include different restriction levels based on age, time supervision, content filtering, and even location tracking — make it simple to juggle settings and notifications for multiple kids on up to 5 devices. All Norton plans come with a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full Norton review here >
🥈 2. Bitdefender Total Security — Cloud-Based Antivirus With Excellent Parental Controls
Bitdefender Total Security includes one of the most lightweight antivirus scanners on the market, along with some excellent parental controls. It scored a perfect 100% in my malware-detection tests, and it didn’t slow any of my devices down during scanning.
When it comes to parental controls, Bitdefender offers:
- Website & content filtering.
- App monitoring.
- Screen time limits.
- Location tracking.
- New contacts monitoring.
- And more…
It didn’t take me long to get Bitdefender’s parental controls running smoothly, and all of the parental control features worked well. I also found setting up a child’s profile to be a very easy and streamlined process — it only took a few clicks to do.
I was particularly impressed with the location tracking, which was able to pinpoint my test device’s location down to a few meters. And like Norton, Bitdefender makes it easy for kids to send a notification with their location throughout the day.
I also really like that Bitdefender allows you to see new contacts added to your kid’s phone — this is a very useful and unique feature (even most standalone parental control apps don’t offer this).
Bitdefender Total Security ($35.99 / year) protects up to 5 devices across all operating systems. It also comes with advanced web protections, device optimization tools, a password manager, VPN (with 200 MB/day data), and much more. There is also a higher-tier Premium Security plan ($59.99 / year), which includes the same features as Total Security, plus unlimited data for the VPN and coverage for up to 10 devices. Every Bitdefender plan is covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Bitdefender Total Security has an excellent malware scanner and great-quality parental controls. They include all the essential features — limiting internet usage, blocking dangerous apps and websites, setting screen-time limits, location tracking, geo-fencing, and more. Bitdefender’s parental controls are also available with the cheaper Internet Security package (Windows only), but Total Security and the higher-tier Premium Security cover all operating systems. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Try Bitdefender Total Security Now
Read the full Bitdefender review here >
🥉 3. McAfee Total Protection Premium — Comprehensive Antivirus Suite With Intuitive Parental Controls
McAfee Total Protection is a comprehensive internet security suite with excellent parental controls — which include top-quality location tracking features. During my tests, McAfee’s malware scanner detected every single malware file on my PC and Android tablet. However, unlike Bitdefender and Norton, McAfee’s scanner did slow down my devices slightly when running in the background.
McAfee has really good parental controls, including:
- Location tracking and geo-fencing.
- Device and app usage monitoring.
- Website, app, and content filtering.
- Flexible screen-time scheduling.
- And more…
McAfee’s website, app, and content filtering works really well. In my tests, it blocked the majority of inappropriate websites I tried to access — this included violent websites, social media websites, and websites promoting hate speech. I was also able to block violent video games that I didn’t want kids playing (like Call of Duty) — which is super cool!
McAfee’s location tracking allows you to track your child’s device to within 10 meters, and I was able to accurately see where my test device was on an interactive map. The geo-fencing alerts also notify you when your child arrives at and leaves specific places, such as school or a friend’s house. And like Norton and Bitdefender, there is a quick-update button that allows your kids to easily notify you of their location.
However, McAfee’s parental controls are only compatible with Windows, Android, and iOS devices — not Mac computers. If you need to protect a MacBook, I suggest using Intego’s dedicated Mac antivirus or a standalone parental control app that works with Mac, like Qustodio.
McAfee Total Protection Premium Family ($64.99 / year) includes the parental controls, but you also get additional features like a VPN with unlimited data, a password manager, web protections, a web boost tool, and coverage for unlimited devices across all operating systems. The plan is also covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
McAfee Total Protection Premium Family is an excellent internet security suite. Its malware scanner detected all of the malware on my devices, and I was particularly impressed with McAfee’s location tracking feature, which allows you to monitor your kid’s location at all times. McAfee Total Protection Premium Family covers an unlimited number of devices and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Try McAfee Total Protection Now
Read the full McAfee review here >
4. Kaspersky Premium — Excellent Location Tracking + Geo-Fencing Features
Kaspersky Premium provides effective protection against all types of malware, and it also comes with really good parental controls. Its antivirus scanner blocked 100% of the malware I placed on my devices during my tests, and it didn’t cause any noticeable slowdown to my system during the scans.
Kaspersky’s parental controls are very user-friendly — I had no trouble setting up or using any of the features. The parental controls include:
- Location tracking and geo-fencing.
- Screen time scheduling.
- Content filtering for sites and apps.
- YouTube search monitoring.
- And more…
I really love the location tracking and geo-fencing features, which provide real-time GPS location updates and send alerts if your kid leaves the areas you marked as safe. Norton, Bitdefender, and McAfee also all have good location tracking and geo-fencing, but I was still pleased to see how well Kaspersky’s worked.
I also appreciate how well Kaspersky’s web filtering works. It blocked the majority of inappropriate websites I tried to visit — even when I had my web browser in incognito mode or when I turned on a VPN.
It’s also pretty cool that Kaspersky sends notifications when your child’s battery is at 15% or less, so you can get in touch, make plans before their device dies, or charge their device. This is a really unique feature that isn’t available on any other antivirus-parental control package on this list, or any of the best standalone parental control apps I tested.
Kaspersky Premium ($22.99 / year) includes parental controls on up to 20 devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. You also get complete antivirus protection, and it’s covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, note that the parental controls are only included for the first year, after which you need to pay extra to keep them.
Kaspersky Premium is a reliable antivirus that includes excellent parental controls for 1 year. Using Kaspersky’s parental controls, you can easily see where your child is, receive notifications if they go outside of a specified area, get alerts if their phone battery is low, and much more. Kaspersky Premium is available as a 1, 2, or 3-year plan on up to 20 devices, with 1 year of parental controls for free. All Kaspersky purchases have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full Kaspersky review here >
5. Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best for Mac Users
Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 is my favorite antivirus with parental controls for Mac computers — it’s excellent at detecting Mac-specific malware, and its parental controls are a vast improvement on Apple’s built-in parental controls. Although Norton, Bitdefender, and most other antiviruses have Mac compatibility, they’re primarily built for Windows, leaving their Mac apps lacking key features. Intego, on the other hand, has built an antivirus dedicated to macOS — and it’s the best Mac-specific antivirus on the market in 2023.
Intego’s parental controls include:
- Content filtering.
- Device usage scheduling.
- Anti-predator chat monitoring.
- App blocking.
- And more…
Intego blocks sites based on dozens of filter categories — from sexual content to online shopping — so you can tailor your child’s access to online content with much more control. In comparison, Apple’s built-in content filters only offer the ability to “block adult websites”.
I was also impressed with Intego’s anti-predator feature. Intego monitors all incoming and outgoing messages for unsafe language — which you can pre-define and add as many words to as you wish — and then Intego automatically blocks any incoming or outgoing messages with these keywords and sends you an alert. This is a unique feature that not even Norton or Bitdefender offer — not to mention many standalone parental control apps.
However, Intego doesn’t offer location tracking or geo-fencing features. This is a really big letdown, especially as these features are standard on McAfee, Norton, and every other parental control app on this list.
Intego’s Mac Premium Bundle X9 ($34.99 / year) includes parental controls, malware scanning, web protections, and advanced system cleanup. It covers up to 5 Macs on 1- or 2-year plans and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 is the best internet security app for Mac users — its malware scanner does a great job at detecting Mac-specific malware and its parental controls offer a significant improvement over macOS’s built-in controls. You can try out Intego risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Try Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 Now
Read the full Intego review here >
Bonus. Panda Dome Advanced — Intuitive Antivirus With Parental Controls
Panda Dome Advanced is a decent antivirus. It’s very user-friendly and comes with some useful parental controls, a good malware scanner, and real-time protection. Its malware engine caught 95% of my test malware and its real-time protection scored 100%. Although its malware engine isn’t quite as good as Norton or Bitdefender, which both achieved 100% malware detection rates, overall Panda still offers good protection against most malware threats.
Panda’s parental control features are very easy to use and include:
- Location tracking & geo-fencing.
- Screen-time scheduling.
- Website, app, and content management.
- Panic button for emergency situations.
- And more…
I really like Panda’s location features. It has a real-time GPS location tracking feature that lets you see exactly where your children are, plus it offers geo-fencing so you can configure a “safe area” and it will alert you every time your kid leaves that area.
The screen-time scheduling is only basic, especially when compared to top standalone parental control products like Qustodio. However, the content filtering is very thorough — you can define a large number of categories that you want to block access to and also add specific websites to block. Panda also allows you to see exactly what your kids have been looking at, trying to access, and how long they’ve been spending online.
Panda’s parental controls don’t include more advanced features, like Intego’s anti-predator tools, or have the advanced functionality like Norton’s School Time or YouTube monitoring, but it’s a decent and easy-to-use set of basic parental controls.
Panda Dome Advanced ($28.49 / year) includes parental controls, malware scanning, web protections, and a limited-data VPN for 1 to unlimited devices. Alternatively, the slightly more expensive Panda Dome Premium ($66.99 / year) adds system clean-up tools, a password manager, and an unlimited-data VPN, making it Panda’s best overall value plan. Every Panda plan is covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Panda Dome Premium offers decent malware protection and useful parental controls. It lets you manage and monitor the content your kids can access, and it comes with some good location tracking tools. Panda’s plans are quite expensive, but they come with a number of useful additional features. All plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full Panda review here
Comparison of the Best Antiviruses with Parental Controls
|Antivirus||Starting Price||No. of Devices||Screen Time/App Usage Limits||Location Tracking||Geo-Fencing||Content Filtering||YouTube Controls|
|1.🥇Norton||$24.99 / year||Up to 5||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅
|2.🥈Bitdefender||$32.99 / year||Up to 10 (with Bitdefender Premium Security)||✅||✅||✅||✅||❌|
|3.🥉McAfee||$54.99 / year||Unlimited||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅
|4. Kaspersky||$22.99 / year||Up to 10||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅
(website and app)
|5. Intego||$34.99 / year||Up to 5||✅||❌||❌||✅||❌|
|Bonus. Panda||$28.49 / year||Unlimited||✅||✅||✅||✅||❌|
How to Choose the Best Antivirus Programs With Parental Controls in 2023
- Check for malware protection. Parental controls are only truly effective when combined with an antivirus engine protecting your family’s devices from malware and hackers, so make sure you pick a quality antivirus-parental control bundle with a powerful anti-malware engine. I tested the anti-malware engines of every antivirus on this list to ensure that they could protect against the most advanced security threats, including ransomware, spyware, and adware.
- Test to see if the features work properly. I’ve tested every parental control app on this list to ensure it offers reliable content filters, accurate location tracking, and effective, easy-to-use tools. Out of every app I tested, Norton and Bitdefender scored the highest marks.
- Choose an app that’s easy to use. No one wants overly complicated software, especially when you’re talking about your kids’ safety. Every antivirus on this list is easy to use for you and your kids, and they all offer generous money-back guarantees.
- Pick a program that offers a good value. There are some really excellent standalone parental control apps, but most of them lack the cybersecurity protections offered by antivirus packages (one exception is Norton Family, which can be combined with Norton’s 360 Deluxe and 360 Advanced antivirus plans). The top antiviruses on this list all bundle top-quality malware protection with excellent parental controls at a competitive price.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut:
- Trend Micro Internet Security. Trend Micro has an effective real-time antivirus scanner, a variety of other features, and affordable pricing. However, Trend Micro’s parental controls are pretty basic — you can block access to certain websites, apps, and set usage time limits, but the content filtering is inconsistent, there’s no location tracking, and there’s minimal reporting where parents can review their kids’ activities.
- Avira Prime. Avira has an excellent malware scanner and it comes with web protections, a game booster, and system clean-up tools. However, Avira’s antivirus package doesn’t offer any sort of parental controls.
- ESET. ESET has near-perfect malware detection rates and excellent diagnostics tools, but its parental controls are quite lacking. It lets you set screen time limits and has geo-fencing and location tracking capabilities, but its content filtering didn’t block inappropriate content on Google Image and YouTube searches during my tests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I really need to use parental controls?
Yes, you really need to be using parental controls with your kids. There are all kinds of dangers hiding on the internet:
- Online predators can deceive children and get personal details and images.
- Scammers can trick kids into giving away sensitive social security and financial data.
- Malicious websites can embed malware in files that are aimed at children.
- Predators can use AR games like Pokémon Go to target kids.
There are also reports of children experiencing trauma after using the internet unattended — especially after being exposed to violent, hateful, and graphic content. And studies have shown that children and teens are particularly susceptible to the harmful consequences of screen addiction. From mood disorders to developmental delays, there’s a ton of data showing that kids need limits on screen time. The antiviruses on this list will help you protect your kids against all of these threats.
What is the most effective parental control for my family?
You are the most effective tool for protecting your family online. The fact is, no parental control app can completely protect our kids. Even if you block every potentially inappropriate app, read your child’s every text message, block every streaming site, and ban every sensitive word from your child’s search engine, kids will find a way to break the rules.
Many studies have suggested that honest, age-appropriate conversations are the best way to keep your kids safe online. That’s why Norton’s parental controls come with a Smart Talk template to help parents and kids come together to set smart limits for device usage.
The best parental controls can help you keep track of your child’s browsing and search history, limit access to risky apps and websites, limit screen usage, and much more. But ultimately, it’s up to us as parents to help our kids safely navigate the digital world.
Can my kids deactivate their parental controls?
Sometimes, yes — every parental control app offers a different level of control to your children. Some can’t be changed without a password, while others send you a notification if any changes are made
What’s the benefit of using an antivirus with parental controls?
Standalone parental control apps are great, but they don’t protect against malware. Malware and phishing sites are also targeting our kids, and parental controls alone aren’t enough to keep them safe. Children are at a very high risk of accidentally compromising their devices with malware, and if that happens, your whole family network could eventually become infected.
There are some excellent parental control apps on the market, but if you want to keep your kids and their devices safe from every threat, you’ll need an antivirus, too. The top antivirus packages include better parental controls than many standalone parental control apps.