Price: $ 55 / year
One of the biggest pitfalls in most parental control programs is limited to a particular device or platform. Qustodio overcomes it by working over all your children's units.
Here's what we like
- Easy to install
- Excellent app and web portal
- Very flexible, more than just content blocking
And what we don
- You can Don't customize reporting labels or categories
How (and where) it works
If you've done some research to investigate different content filtering and app management solutions for your family, you've probably discovered something fast. There are lots of solutions that are quite limited. There are solutions that lock down web browsing, which locks down a single computer, or that works very well on a tablet or phone, but does not work at all on computers, and then there are solutions that are a combination of these.  Filtering and monitoring of device management may have worked well 10+ years ago when all you tried to watch was a single computer. Today, however, many families have several units and it is not atypical for a child to have a computer, phone and tablet depending on their age and the amount of technology in their household. If the goal is to keep your children away from adult content and keep an eye on their app usage, it is clear that a PC-only solution is not worth anything if they can only download their phone or tablet and do what they want without supervision.
Above all, this Qustodio, a tool for flexible content filtering and application management, really shines. While the free account is limited to a single device (perfect for testing if the product will meet your needs or if you only need to secure a single device like your child's iPad), a platform platform premium account is allowed on multiple devices. Armed with a premium plan – $ 54.95 per year for 5 units, $ 96.95 to 10 or $ 137.95 for 15-you can get the same protection on your child's computer (Windows or MacOS), Android and iOS devices and even Kindle tablets.  It not only works on all the different operating systems and devices, but it works all over the device. No matter which app or browser your child uses, the Qustodio system covers it. Using another browser, private browsing mode or other solutions that defeat other simplified systems cannot work.
In addition, Qustodio also offers additional features such as usage time tracking, application blocking (with rules and timings such as limiting games or video books during lesson hours or in overtime hours), monitoring social media (currently limited to Facebook only), mobile site tracking and only in Android, SMS monitoring and panic button. 19659025] Qustodio achieves all this by combining applications on device with administrative profiles so that these devices can control access to limited content and applications in a more granular way than many other tools can achieve. Let's take a look at how to set up, what daily use looks like, and what we liked about the whole experience.
Despite the sophistication of the system under the hood, the installation process itself is extremely easy. Here's how it should be: You shouldn't have a computer science degree to secure your children's devices.
Each Qustodio setup has two parts: the parental control account and the application installed on the child's device (s). To get started, you just need to create a parent account, either on the site or use the control flap on your phone or tablet.
Once you have created an account, create a profile for your child with basic information: their name (or nickname), age and gender. You can choose an avatar for your child but you cannot upload a photo as any other profile system.
Basic profile in place is the time to go over to their units. On computers, you only visit the website and download the software and on supported mobile operating systems, visit the app store and download the app.
After you start the app, you log in with the parent account and assign the unit to the child profile it belongs to. In addition to assigning the profile, on mobile devices such as phones and tablets, you are prompted to approve some additional changes to the device to allow Qustodio to tighten control over it. For example, IOS allows you to install an administrator profile that helps the company manage and protect that device in the same way as when you get a business iPhone through work that the device is often handled and shut down by your IT unit department.
Finally, while they never mention it during the app installer, if you read the company's blog and documentation, they mentioned another tool that is not explicitly part of the software package but provided by the company: Qustodio Family Digital Agreement (PDF) .
It's a writable "contract" you can go through with your kids as a way of discussing internet security, good consistent habits and getting purchases, so to speak in an action plan for secure internet and device usage. If you are struggling for a way to talk to your children about using a filter / monitoring tool, or just internet security in general, it is a very useful tool to start the discussion. While in it, you can also check out their parental section resources.
Daily use: Qustodio in Action
How to use Qustodio on a daily basis is highly dependent on your family's needs, your child's age and what you are trying to get out of the experience. If your only goal is to filter clearly remarkable content so that your child cannot accidentally (or intentionally) access pornography or other inappropriate content, Qustodio uses more or less a fire-and-forgotten operation to unlock access.
But If you want to use Qustodio as a behavior management tool to help your child better manage their screen time and app usage, it is also a good practical tool for that. Let us break down how the various functions work.
App Monitoring and Limitations
On both computer and mobile platforms, Qustodio will monitor and report on usage usage. Here's how the dashboard chart shows (shows all activity over all devices):
In addition to telling you which apps your child uses on their phone, tablet and computer, you can also set app-based limitations like range from "they can never use this application" to "they can use this application for these days on those occasions". You can set these restrictions from both the web-based family portal and the app with ease.
While the web portal is a bit dated (but perfectly functional) and resembled a company's time clock, the mobile app looked below, has a much more polished modern look.
For the most part, we found this functionality to be straightforward and usable – it was easy to see which apps had been used and the interface for setting rules and limitations is simple but there were some things we would like to see when it comes to increasing the usability of the reports.
It would be good if you could choose to ignore and / or combine some apps. The app reporting for desktops is, for example, super accurate (so careful that it also recorded things like using calculator.exe and Nvidia Drive Update app). If it wasn't interesting for you, it would be nice to filter it out. It would also be nice to combine things together (for example, combining time spent in a game starter who picks up or picks up games with the gameplay itself).
Much smaller suggestions aside, however, the monitoring and rule / limitation setting worked exactly as expected and we have no complaints about the core functionality.
Web Monitoring and Limitations
Web activity and limitation work almost identical to the app system. You see which websites they have visited, if they have tried to visit some restricted sites, and you can easily block, allow or otherwise restrict content.
In addition to the main panel, there is a word cloud to search terms and you can drill down to individual search queries by looking at the detailed view of search engines (such as google.com and bing.com, where you can see exactly what your child was looking for after like "how long was the FDR president?" or similar.
As we discovered, you can find out that your child has learned to write a whole lesson question to Google is a good way to get focused answers (if you are you wonder why exactly your child was looking specifically for "What was the financial impact of the Dust Bowl on the Canoe Economy in the 1930s?" between "how to build a Minecraft cactus farm" and "cute puppy videos".
Social Media, Message, and site monitoring  While the app and web stuff are pretty straight forward, this is a bit more complicated and consequently more difficult to implement consistently across devices.
For example, Qustodio can monitor SMS appl. Notifications on Android devices but it cannot, due to security restrictions and how the messaging application is implemented, monitor SMS messages on iOS. The same applies to monitoring telephone calls. On Android it will report a call log, on IOS it will not. Location tracking works on both platforms, but it works better (again due to underlying operating system differences) on Android. There is a panic button feature, but it only works on Android.
Although it can track Facebook usage (including wall posts and who you whom your child is talking to, but not what they say to each other) it does not monitor any other social media. However, it will report the use of social media, just as it would report another app and allow limitation and blocking of these apps. For example, you can't see what your child said on Snapchat but you can see how long they used it and block the app.
As we mentioned above, each family will find different aspects of the service more useful in terms of how they adapt to their needs. In our testing, conducted with a real child, we found that the daily reports were most useful because our primary focus was not to unlock apps or web content, but to help the child learn how to handle their own app usage.
For that purpose, the daily reports were super helpful. In addition to the ability to appear in the parent panel at any time with the help of the mobile app or website, the parent account receives a daily email distribution showing which apps are being used and how long, which sites visited, Facebook posts and other aspects of the child's user experience being monitored. of the service
. These daily reports turned out to be incredibly useful when it comes to sitting down with our willing test topic and talking about app usage, homework planning time properly and good sleep hygiene habits like not using YouTube to fall asleep. We have a strong feeling that you will find the daily report also quite useful, regardless of your motivation for using Qustodio.
Having tested the service with children of different ages and with different families, we have nothing but positive things to say about the service. It worked well with children in elementary school and just as well with older children.
Any complaints we have (wishing we could combine apps together into categories for more useful reporting) are much smaller in the large system and Qustodio is delivered on exactly what was promised: simple app and web monitoring with extra practical features, as site monitoring, thrown in at the top.
The range of functions (and the flexibility of using them) ensures that the service is not only for young children or just for older children, but can be used – by adapting how you apply it and how you talk about using it with your child – as the child grows.
Price: $ 55 / year
Here's what we like
- Easy to install
- Excellent app and web portal  Very flexible, more than just content blocking