The only parental control app you will ever need for iOS devices.
Why the Gold Star status: OurPact enables you to ‘parent’ technology and strike the right balance in your household for screen time and social media. With OurPact, you can:
- Set screen time allowances by an App, so you can give your children more limited time for Netflix and gaming apps, but more freedom to use their devices for educational purposes.
- Set limits on texting and social media apps. Our Pact works for any app.
- Set schedules, so there can be one for the school week, the weekend and vacations.
- Turn the device off at any time plus set bedtimes so it shuts off every night.
- Create multiple profiles for the same child, so you can have different rules set for her iPad and her iPhone.
- Block all adult content on your child’s iOS device.
You’ll be wishing you’d downloaded OurPact sooner. It makes managing screen time nearly pain free! One thing to note: OurPact is for iOS devices only. It will not control your computers or gaming consoles.
Investment required: It will take about 15 minutes to download and set it up plus another 10 minutes for each child profile. It’s helpful if you’ve determined ahead of time of usage rules your children will have and what schedules you want to set up. Cost: $6.99 with a 7-day free trial. It is so worth it! (there is a free version, but the functionality is very limited)!
Best used for limiting time on computers and gaming stations.
Why the Gold Star status: Circle is a router that works with your home Wi-Fi. With it, you can
- Set time limits and schedules for your computers and gaming consoles.
- Block the Wifi connection on a specific device.
- Create Bedtimes for these devices.
Investment Required: $99 for the router version. We are tepid on Circle and only mention it for its ability to set controls for computers and gaming stations. Here are the issues as we see them:
- You cannot set controls for iPads and iPhones outside the house. If you want this functionality, you have to subscribe to My Circle which is $9.95/month plus your $99 investment in the Circle router.
- Circle does not work for any app. Thus, you can give your child a time limit for Netflix, but when it shuts off, your child can just start playing other games that are not controlled by Circle.
- You cannot set time limits on texting.
- While you can use Circle to set time limits for gaming stations, it’s a bit tricky because you have to assign the gaming console to a specific child. Sometimes a child plays alone, sometimes with a sibling, so you may find yourself toggling settings a little too often.
Monitor all of your children’s social media accounts and text messages in one place.
Why the Gold Star status: Some parents want to monitor their child’s texting and social media activity without feeling they’re invading their child’s space. Rather than scrolling through your child’s social media feed or randomly grabbing her phone to review texting history, Bark offers parents another solution. You can:
- Connect your child’s text messaging and social media accounts
- Receive a notification if Bark’s algorithms flag anything potential concerning–they screen for harmful interactions and content
- Use Bark in conjunction with other screentime management platforms
- Monitor “Finstas” and “RInstas” (private or Fake Instagram accounts) provided you know the email.
Bark aims to help foster trust and connection between parents and kids. Kids understand that a parent is not reading through all of their communications and know that parents only receive alerts if there is a potential concern. Parents feel reassured that they are able to stay on top of their kids’ online activity without expending tremendous energy and treading on privacy.
Investment required: Several minutes depending on how many accounts you want to monitor. The cost is $9/month for the whole family.
Monitor actual texting and web browsing history in real time.
Why the Gold Star status: Qustodio is a free parental control app that offers simple tools to manage kids’ screen time, filter content and monitor or block apps kids use. Best of all it automagically reports kids’ online activity to you once installed.
Investment required: Several minutes depending on how many accounts you want to monitor. There is no cost for the app.