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5 Best Antivirus Software With Free Parental Controls in 2022

Ben Martens Ben Martens
Updated on: August 1, 2022
5 Best Antivirus Software With Free Parental Controls in 2022

Short on time? Here’s the best antivirus with parental controls:

  • 🥇 Norton 360 Deluxe — Excellent antivirus that comes with advanced parental controls that are better than many standalone parental controls and that include content filtering, time supervision, location tracking, and lots more. Norton 360 covers up to 5 devices and comes with a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee.

I downloaded and tested every single antivirus program with parental controls that I could find — looking for the best software that included all the anti-malware and child-protection features that would keep my entire family safe online in 2022.

With my daughter spending more and more time on the internet (and a lot of school tasks being virtual), I wanted an antivirus that could keep her safe from hackers, predators, and addictive apps, without interfering with her education.

The good news is that I found 5 quality antivirus programs that come with valuable parental control features — such as content filtering, device and app usage limitations, app blocking, location sharing and geo-fencing, remote monitoring, and more — all of which help me protect my daughter from the dangers of the digital world.

Whether you’re looking for strong location tracking and geo-fencing for a mobile device, or just simple content filtering and antivirus protection for your desktop, there’s a program on my list that’s just right for you and your family in 2022.

Quick summary of the best antiviruses with parental controls:

🥇 1. Norton 360 Deluxe — Best Antivirus Software With Parental Controls in 2022

🥇 1. Norton 360 Deluxe — Best Antivirus Software With Parental Controls in 2022

Norton 360 Deluxe is my favorite program for protecting my daughter and her devices from online threats in 2022. It scored a perfect 100% malware-detection rate in my tests, and it comes with excellent parental controls — which are better than most standalone parental control apps I tried.

Norton’s parental controls are very easy to use. I had no problem checking notifications and adjusting settings for my daughter’s 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 monitoring.
  • Content filtering.
  • Website & app supervision.
  • Location tracking.
  • And more…

Limiting device-usage time is very important, but with a lot of virtual schoolwork, kids now need to be on their devices for several hours every day. Norton’s School Time scheduling allows you to give them unlimited screen time for schoolwork, while blocking distracting websites and apps until schoolwork time is over.

Norton’s other parental control tools then allow you to restrict, filter, and manage exactly what your kids can access online — and when. They also let you 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. I had no problem following my grade schooler’s location through her tablet, and I liked knowing that I could check her location as far back as 30 days. Norton’s location services also include geo-fencing, which alerts you if your child leaves your 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.

The parental controls, which can be managed from any device, are included with the Norton 360 Deluxe plan ($49.99 / year) — which also includes a powerful malware scanner, a VPN with unlimited browsing data (which is one of the best VPNs on the market that comes bundled with an antivirus), web browsing protections, system cleanup tools, coverage for up to 5 devices, and a lot more.

Bottom Line:

Norton 360 Deluxe is my favorite antivirus with parental controls. Its antivirus scanner is very effective at detecting malware, scoring a perfect 100% detection rate in my tests, and I think the parental controls are the best on the market (better than most standalone apps I tested). 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 as many as 5 devices. All Norton purchases come with a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee.

Try Norton 360 Deluxe Now

Read the full Norton review here >

🥈 2. Bitdefender Total Security — Cloud-Based Antivirus With Excellent Parental Controls

🥈 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 has:

  • Website & content filtering.
  • App monitoring.
  • Screen time limits.
  • Location tracking.
  • Call filtering.
  • New contacts monitoring.
  • And more…

It didn’t take me long to get Bitdefender’s parental controls running smoothly on both my daughter’s tablet and phone, and all of the parental control features worked well. I was particularly impressed with the location tracking, which was able to pin-point my daughter’s location down to a few meters. And like Norton, Bitdefender makes it easy for kids to send a notification with their location when they safely arrive somewhere. I also really like the feature that lets me see all new contacts being added to my daughter’s phone — this is a very useful but pretty unique feature (not even Norton offers this).

Bitdefender Total Security ($36.00 / year) protects 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. The cheaper Internet Security package ($32.00 / year) also includes the parental controls, but it only works on Windows and lacks some additional features like the device optimization tools. There is also a higher-tier Premium Security plan ($69.99 / year), which includes the same features as Total Security plus unlimited data for the VPN and coverage for up to 10 devices.

Bottom Line:

Bitdefender Total Security has an excellent malware scanner along with great-quality parental controls that 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

🥉 3. McAfee Total Protection Premium — Comprehensive Antivirus Suite With Intuitive Parental Controls

McAfee Total Protection is a comprehensive internet security package 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, as well as my daughter’s Android tablet. However, unlike Bitdefender and Kaspersky, McAfee’s scanner did cause a bit of slowdown on my devices when running.

McAfee has really good parental controls, which have all the protections parents need to keep their kids safe online, including:

  • Location tracking and geo-fencing.
  • Device and app usage monitoring.
  • Website, app, and content filtering.
  • Flexible screen-time scheduling.
  • And more…

McAfee’s location tracking allows you to track your child’s device location to within 10 meters, and I was able to accurately see where my daughter was on an interactive map. The geo-fencing alerts also notified me the moment that she arrived and left specific places, such as school and her friend’s house. And like Norton and Bitdefender, there is a quick-update button that allows kids to easily notify parents of their location themselves.

I also like how easy it is to use McAfee’s parental controls — both my partner and I found it very simple to schedule device usage and limit specific apps, and my daughter easily understood McAfee’s weekly usage reports so we could collaborate on setting goals and limits for her education apps and games.

McAfee Total Protection Premium ($54.99 / year) comes with the full set of parental controls as well as additional features like a VPN with unlimited data, a password manager, web protections, system optimization tools, and coverage for up to 10 devices across all operating systems. However, keep in mind that McAfee’s parental controls are only compatible with Windows, Android, and iOS devices, not Mac computers.

Bottom Line:

McAfee Total Protection Premium is an excellent internet security suite with some of the best location tracking on the market. Its malware scanner detected all of the malware on my devices, and its parental controls made it very easy for me to keep my daughter safe online. I was particularly impressed with McAfee’s location tracking feature, which allowed me to monitor my kid’s location at all times. McAfee Total Protection Premium covers up to 10 devices and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try McAfee Total Protection Now

Read the full McAfee review here >

4. Kaspersky Total Security — Excellent YouTube Monitoring + Geo-Fencing Features

4. Kaspersky Total Security — Excellent YouTube Monitoring + Geo-Fencing Features

Kaspersky Total Security provides really good protection against all types of malware and its intuitive parental controls include great geo-fencing and YouTube 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 also 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 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 that Kaspersky’s YouTube content filtering works both on the YouTube website and on Android’s YouTube app — most antiviruses, including Norton, only enable monitoring on YouTube.com, but not the app.

And I think it’s pretty cool that Kaspersky sends notifications when your child’s battery is low, so you can get in touch and make plans before their device dies.

Kaspersky Total Security ($39.99 / year) brings you complete antivirus protection and the full suite of parental controls on up to 10 devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. The slightly cheaper Kaspersky Internet Security ($20.97 / year) includes just the basic parental controls — content filtering and screen-time management — but not the more advanced features.

Bottom Line:

Kaspersky Total Security is a reliable antivirus with excellent geo-fencing and YouTube controls. Using Kaspersky’s parental controls, I could easily see where my child was, receive notifications if she went outside of a specified area, get alerts if her battery was low, and much more. Kaspersky’s Total Security is available as a 1- or 2-year subscription plan, and all Kaspersky purchases have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Kaspersky Total Security Now

Read the full Kaspersky review here >

5. Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best for Mac Users

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. Intego, on the other hand, is exclusively built for macOS — and it’s the best Mac-specific antivirus on the market in 2022.

Intergo’s parental controls include:

  • Content filtering.
  • Device usage scheduling.
  • Anti-predator chat monitoring.
  • App blocking.
  • And more…

While Apple’s built-in content filters only offer the ability to “block adult websites”,  Intego blocks sites based on dozens of filters — from sexual content to online shopping — so you can tailor your child’s online access with far more detail.

I was also impressed with Intego’s anti-predator feature. Intego monitors all incoming and outgoing messages for unsafe language — which the parent can pre-define and add as many words to as they wish — and then automatically blocks any incoming or outgoing messages with these keywords and sends an alert to the parent. This is a unique feature that not even Norton or Bitdefender offer.

However, unlike McAfee, Norton, and all the other products on this list, Intego unfortunately doesn’t offer any location tracking or geo-fencing features.

Intego’s Mac Premium Bundle X9 ($39.99 / year) includes malware scanning, parental controls, web protections, and advanced system cleanup. It covers up to 5 Macs on 1- or 2-year plans.

Bottom Line:

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

Bonus. Panda Dome Advanced — Intuitive Antivirus With Parental Controls

Panda Dome Advanced is a decent antivirus that’s very user-friendly and comes with some useful parental controls. It comes with a good malware scanner and real-time protection. Its malware engine caught 95% of the malware in my tests and its real-time protection scored 100%. Although its malware engine isn’t quite as good as Norton or others on this list, which all have 100% malware-detection rates, overall Panda still offers a 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, but it does the job. However, the content filtering is very thorough — you can define a large number of categories that you want to block access to, as well as add specific websites you wish 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 malware scanning, parental controls, web protections, and a limited-data VPN for up to 10 devices. Alternatively, the slightly more expensive Panda Dome Complete ($42.99 / year) additionally comes with system clean-up tools and a password manager, making it Panda’s best overall value plan.

Bottom Line:

Panda Dome Advanced offers decent malware protection as well as useful parental controls. It enables you to manage and monitor the content your kids can access, and it comes with some good location tracking tools. Panda’s plans aren’t the cheapest on the market, but they come with a number of useful additional features. All plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.

TRY PANDA DOME ADVANCED NOW

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 $49.99 / year Up to 5 ✅ (website only)
2.🥈Bitdefender $32.00 / year Up to 10 (with Bitdefender Premium Security)
3.🥉McAfee $54.99 / year Up to 10 ✅ (website only)
4. Kaspersky $39.99 / year Up to 10 ✅ (website and app)
5. Intego $39.99 / year Up to 5
Bonus. Panda $28.49 / year Up to 10

How to Choose the Best Antivirus Programs With Parental Controls in 2022

  • Malware protection. Parental controls are nothing without an antivirus engine that can keep hackers from invading your family’s devices, so make sure you pick a quality antivirus with an effective anti-malware engine. I tested the anti-malware engines of every product on this list to ensure that they could protect against the most advanced security threats, including ransomware, spyware, and adware.
  • Parental controls. Content blockers are notoriously inaccurate, either flagging innocent content or letting kids access dangerous parts of the web. Location trackers and geo-fencing features are great in theory, but it’s important that they are accurate and responsive. I’ve already tested all of the parental controls on this list to check they will offer you peace of mind without driving you crazy with false notifications. However, as they also all have 30-day (or 60-day) money-back guarantees, I’d recommend spending the first few weeks testing them yourself to ensure you’re happy with the functionality.
  • Ease of use. No-one wants overly complicated software, especially when you’re talking about your kids’ safety, so make sure you’re comfortable with how the software works while the money-back guarantee period is still valid. This list only contains products that have helpful user interfaces to ensure even the most sophisticated controls are easy to access, understand, and use.
  • Value. Lots of companies offer standalone parental control apps, but they lack the basic cybersecurity protections that antivirus packages provide — and it’s equally as important to protect your family from malware threats. The programs on this list all bundle top-quality antivirus scanners 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.
  • Avast Family Space. We no longer recommend any Avast or AVG product on this website due to allegations of selling user data. For more information about the allegations and our decision, go here.

Do I really need to use parental controls?

Yes, you really do. 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.
  • Media 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 numerous reports of children experiencing trauma after being exposed to violent, hateful, and graphic content on the internet.

Furthermore, 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 that kids need limits on screen time.

All the programs on this list help protect kids against all of these threats.

Whether you’re trying to keep your child and your devices safe from predatory users, or you’re just trying to safeguard your child’s mental health against the consequences of screen use, parental controls are a necessity.

What is the most effective parental control for my family?

You are the most effective tool for protecting your family online. The fact of the matter 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 and your devices 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 their children’s device usage.

Despite our best efforts, our kids are going to encounter the dangerous and disturbing parts of the internet some day. The tools on this list can help you keep track of your child’s browsing and search history, limit access to risky apps, and limit screen usage. But ultimately, it’s up to us as parents to help our kids navigate the digital world.

Can my kids deactivate their parental controls?

Sometimes, yes. There are different levels of control with different parental control apps — some of them can’t be changed without a password, while others send the parent’s device a notification if any changes are made.

Some programs, like McAfee, give kids options to reach out and make requests for certain websites to be unblocked. I found that enlisting my daughter in the decision-making process has made her more tolerant of my parental control choices.

Unfortunately, however, many apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, and Signal offer encrypted messaging, so there’s no way to track what our kids are doing in those apps. That said, all the programs on this list include app blocking features, so you don’t have to worry about your children downloading encrypted messaging apps.

What’s the benefit of using an antivirus with parental controls?

Standalone parental control apps are great, but they don’t protect against malware.

When I first started using a parental control app, my only thought was keeping my daughter safe from predators and making sure she wasn’t using her devices too much. But after her device got infected with ransomware, I realized that malware and phishing sites are also targeting our kids. Children are at a very high risk of accidentally compromising their devices, and if that happens, your whole network could become infected with malware.

Bundling parental controls with antivirus software makes sense because it puts all cybersecurity protections into one place.

While there are some really powerful and comprehensive parental control apps on the market, if you want to keep both your kids and your kids’ devices safe, you’ll need an antivirus. The products on this list are some of the best antivirus programs around, and their included parental controls are better than many standalone apps.

About the Author

Ben Martens
Ben Martens
Senior Editor
Updated on: August 1, 2022

About the Author

Ben Martens is a cybersecurity journalist with a background in internet ethics, malware testing, and public policy. He resides in Oregon, and when he's not advocating for the rights of internet users, he's walking with his dog and inventing stories with his daughter.