Best Parental Controls for Monitoring Your Wireless Network

Best Overall
Circle with Disney
Device: 
$129.00 then $9.99/mo. for plans
Pro Bullet Easy setup
Pro Bullet Screen time limits
Pro Bullet Online usage history
Best for Monitoring Devices
Qustodio
Starting at 
$54.95 
a year
Pro Bullet Time scheduling for internet and devices
Pro Bullet Detailed 30-day activity reports
Pro Bullet Call & text blocking
Best for Affordable Tracking
Norton Family Premier
 
$49.99 
a year
Pro Bullet Cheaper price than most competitors
Pro Bullet No limit on devices
Pro Bullet Location tracking
*Prices listed based on listed retailer prices as of this writing. Data effective 11/5/2019. Prices and availability subject to change.

As a parent, you want to know your kids are using the internet safely. But it’s easier said than done trying to monitor their online time on your own. Parental control software and hardware can help you and your kids navigate the internet safely in your home.

While there are a lot of options out there, we’ve chosen a few of our favorite parental monitoring software and devices.

Best parental control products

Compare our top parental control products

*Prices listed based on listed retailer prices as of this writing. Data effective 11/5/2019. Prices and availability subject to change.

Best parental control device: Circle with Disney

Circle with Disney review

Best overall
Circle with Disney
Device: 
$129.00 
then $9.99/mo. for plans
    Pros and cons
    Pros
    • Pro BulletEasy setup
    • Pro BulletCellular network device monitoring
    • Pro BulletOnline usage history
    • Pro BulletAutomatic detection for new devices
    Cons
    • Con BulletRequires hardware
    • Con BulletSteeper up-front cost

    Circle with Disney is a small and ironically box-shaped device that pairs with your router to allow for parental controls on your wireless home network.

    You’ll need to download the Circle app, from which you can find any devices connected to your wireless network and customize your parental monitoring. You can also do a lot to curate your kids’ internet time. It’s easy to set bedtimes, schedule off time, and customize their access to different websites and apps. You can even reward them with extra internet time.

    It’s easy to set bedtimes, schedule off time, and customize their access to different websites and apps.

    We recommend subscribing to Circle Go. For $9.99/month you’ll have the ability to monitor not just your wireless network at home but also the devices themselves. That means your kids can’t simply bypass your restrictions by switching to cellular data.


    Best for monitoring internet and devices: Qustodio

    Qustodio review

    Best for monitoring internet and devices
    Qustodio
    Starting at 
    $54.95 
    a year

      Qustodio pros and cons

      Pros
      • Pro BulletMultiplatform functionality
      • Pro BulletTime scheduling for internet and devices
      • Pro BulletDetailed 30-day activity reports
      • Pro BulletLocation tracking
      • Pro BulletCall and text tracking & blocking
      Cons
      • Con BulletAdvanced monitoring offered only for Facebook
      • Con BulletExpensive subscription cost

      Qustodio is a cross-platform tool that can monitor Windows, Apple products, Android, and a few other common household devices with internet access.

      Qustodio’s multifunctional approach makes it easy to protect and monitor every device in your home from the same platform. The service includes all the most important features, like website filtering and device and internet time limits, and gives you a detailed 30-day activity log.

      The free plan covers only a single device, which might have been passable in the 1990s, but nowadays you have smartphones, laptops, and tablets, all of which can access the internet. So we definitely recommend Qustodio’s paid plans. It has three plans that scale in price based on your monitoring plans, with the cheapest starting at $54.95/year with coverage over five devices.


      Best for affordable tracking: Norton Family Premier

      Norton Family Premier review

      Best for affordable tracking
      Norton Family Premier
       
      $49.99 
      a year

        Norton Family Premier pros and cons

        Pros
        • Pro BulletCheaper price than most competitors
        • Pro BulletNo limit on devices
        • Pro BulletLocation tracking
        Cons
        • Con BulletNo Mac support
        • Con BulletEasily disabled from protected devices

        If you’re managing a larger household, Norton Family Premier doesn’t limit how many devices you can monitor on one plan, making it a great budget option compared to some of its competitors. (Qustodio charges $137.95/year to protect 15 devices.)

        But it’s also not without its disadvantages. Savvy teenagers would have no trouble disabling Norton’s web extension, so it’s probably better suited for families with younger kids.


        Help your kids stay safe online

        In an age where internet access is ubiquitous and kids are given the freedom to browse at a younger age, installing a proper parental control system for your in-home wireless network is a great step to make the internet safer at home.