Reports include information about which websites your child visits, apps they use and words they search for as well as how long they spend in each application. However, its cell phone monitoring program includes profanity masking. Not only does it deny your child access to X-rated websites, but it also checks the pictures and ads on safe sites. On top of physically testing these apps, we research news and organizations dedicated to educating children and parents about healthy technology habits.
Both have extensive guides for parents that are worth checking out. We also spoke with advocates and read advice on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC and National Suicide Prevention websites about how to recognize cyberbullying and how to talk to your kids about online dangers. Cell phone parental controls programs are subscription based, meaning you have to pay either a monthly or annual fee to continue using that program.
You often must also purchase this subscription for each device you wish to monitor, though there are a few apps that will give you multiple licenses for a decent price. Our favorite is Mobicip.
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There is no age requirement when it comes to owning a smartphone, unlike social media accounts that typically require a person to be 13 or older to sign up. Before giving your child their own smartphone, sit down and talk with your child about internet etiquette, privacy, security, cyberbullying, malicious websites, harmful content and time management.
This is a lot of info to bombard a child with, so take your time and spread out these topics over several conversations rather than running through them like a lecture or presentation. Make sure, when your child is ready for a cell phone, that you set clear rules. Be prepared to set firm rules on the things that matter most to you, but be open to negotiating rules such as how to earn more screen time. The Family Contract for Smartphone Use from ConnectSafely is a good tool to help you set specific rules and responsibilities for both children and parents.
For more information and advice on deciding when to get your child a smartphone, check out When Is Your Kid Old Enough for a Smartphone? While setting rules is an important part of helping your child establish healthy smartphone habits before they hit adulthood, they still need to understand why these rules exist. An excellent way to explain smartphone rules to kids is to talk about how you use your smartphone. Although this may cause you to question your own smartphone habits, it can teach your child the potential advantages and hazards of smartphones.
By setting an example your child wants to emulate, you become a powerful influence in developing healthy smartphone habits for your child. If your child has an iPhone, you can take advantage of its built-in Screen Time parental controls to place restrictions on apps, purchases, explicit content, Siri, privacy and other settings. While Screen Time may not have the comprehensive tools of some parental control apps, it might meet your needs and save you money in the long term.
Screen Time is available on devices running iOS 12, which was released on September 17, Google also has an app called Digital Wellbeing, which allows you to self-restrict app access on devices running Android 9. This app is geared towards adults tracking and managing their own screen time, but we like the potential of using this app to help older children and teens learn about healthy smartphone habits.
However, it also has a few unique features such as an extensive library of kid-friendly books, videos, games, audiobooks, apps, and educational content.
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These are the current parental control offerings from the four largest U. If you need legal advice before using parental control apps on your kids' phones, you should contact an attorney or legal counsel. Because wiretap laws vary by state, we do not advocate using smartphone parental apps to record phone calls, either audio or video. Best cell phone companies Find the right phone carrier for you. The best cheap smartphone deals in June Best prepaid phone plans know your data. Verizon Wireless review. Cellular One National Plan Review.
Qwest Cross Country Review. Liberty Wireless Review. Look for apps with clear-cut reports that make it easy to track relevant information. We especially liked the colorful reports in Qustodio. Most programs let you choose from a variety of reports, including monthly or hourly reports with graphs, lists of frequent contacts, browser history, newly installed apps, message history, calendar events, pictures taken, GPS location and keystrokes.
You can set a window of time when your child can access apps and the browser and adjust it whenever needed. Some of the apps we tested allow you to remotely unlock the phone for a few minutes of open access if your child requests it. Additional features include social media monitoring, a non-jailbreak version, parental controls, and even a keylogger.
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Keylogger: Monitor everything typed into the device, including passwords, search history, and messages. Non-Jailbreak Version Available: Other phone spy apps require rooting or jailbreaking. Parental Controls: mSpy lets you automatically block inappropriate websites, unwanted apps, and incoming calls. Overall, mSpy is ideal for parents looking to monitor their children. The company also has tech support standing by to walk you through the process. FlexiSPY is best known for its Call Interception feature, which allows you to record and secretly listen to phone calls.
However, this feature is only available on rooted or jailbroken devices. Live Call Interception: Intercept any phone call on the target device, then listen to and record the conversation. RemCam: Remotely activate the camera on the target phone to quietly take a picture, then view that photo through your FlexiSPY account. Highster Mobile is another popular phone tracking app. You can use Highster Mobile to track GPS data, text messages, call logs, photos, browsing history, contacts, calendar, app data, and more, for example.
One-Time Fee: Other options on this list, including mSpy, charge monthly subscription fees. However, it will record all call logs, including the date, time, numbers, and duration of those calls. View Browsing History: Monitor which websites visited on your target devices. Track GPS Data: Know where your target device is at all times, including its location history and current location.
Message Monitoring: Track all text messages sent on the device, including deleted messages. View Photos: All photos uploaded on the device are viewable to your Highster Mobile account. PhoneSheriff has a catchy name. It also has enough features to compete with SpyFone and other top phone spying apps on our list.
The app is designed to be easy for everyone to use. Block Anything: PhoneSheriff will block virtually anything unwanted from your phone — including specific apps, websites, and contacts. You can prevent the phone from calling or messaging a particular person, for example. Create Time Restrictions: Block all phone activity during certain times of the day.
You might block all app usage during homework time, for example, or prevent phone calls overnight. Geo-Fencing Alerts: Receive an alert when the target device travels outside a specific geo-fenced area. You can designate the space on your map via your PhoneSheriff control panel. Profanity Alert: Setup your custom list of vulgar words. Overall, PhoneSheriff is a tracking app catered towards parents who want to track their kids. Favorite unique features include time restrictions, profanity filters, and a geo-fencing alert.
Although is provided to parents, some of its features may appeal to other phone spy app users like jealous spouses. Core features on iKeyMonitor include all of the following:.
Free 3 Day Trial: Most phone spying apps offer a 3 to 7-day trial — but not all of them do. View All Keystrokes: iKeyMonitor is essentially a keylogger — similar to the ones hackers use. The software lets you view every keystroke typed across all apps — including everything from web browsers to messengers to email apps. Capture Passwords: Like any keylogger, iKeyMonitor captures passwords typed into the device.
Take Screenshots: iKeyMonitor lets you take a screenshot periodically while the phone is in use. You can record screen activity as often as you like, which is useful for matching keylogging data with apps on the phone.
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It captures all information typed into the unit — from passwords to websites visited. The screenshot and screen recording capability is also a nice touch. The high-powered tracking software comes with an appropriately high price tag. SpyEra lets you intercept and record phone calls. The software is compatible with iOS and Android. The purchase of one license also lets you install it on multiple cell phones. Overall, SpyEra is excellent phone tracking software available at a reasonable price compared to other options on this list.see url
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Core features of SpyEra include:. You can also install it on BlackBerry and Symbian devices. Remotely Activate the Microphone: SpyEra lets you remotely activate the microphone on the phone to listen to surrounding noise — including any ambient noise in the environment.
Access All Media Files: Remotely access all media files on the target device, including photos and videos. Phone Call Monitoring and Recording: Remotely monitor and record phone calls made over the device. Overall, SpyEra is ideal for remote call monitoring and recording. The ability to activate the microphone to listen to ambient noise can also be helpful.
Mobile Spy is designed as monitoring software for parents and employers. It comes with an advanced dashboard that lets you monitor all activity remotely.