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We focused our testing on apps that place an emphasis on setting up filters and limits before your child uses the phone, instead of just tracking activities after the fact.
In evaluating these products, we took the following criteria into account: We also looked into whether these services allow parents to monitor kids' activity on social media, though in most cases, the features we found were pretty limited.
(One complaint: Norton's offering would be more powerful if it let you block out times for specific apps.) But Norton's best feature may be its location-tracking capabilities, which give you a fairly accurate picture of where your children (and their phones) happen to be. Norton Family Premier comes free if you spring for Norton's most expensive antivirus suite, Norton Security Premium.
That product nominally costs per year, but it's often discounted for as little as .
That's all well and good for inside the home, but what happens when your kids venture out into the world?
That's where the Circle Go companion app fits in, extending those parental control settings to other networks.
The web filters in Norton Family Premier can keep your child away from questionable websites, and it's easy to set times for when it's OK to use an Android phone.Norton and ESET also make antivirus software, and many antivirus products have parental controls built in.To see how well those controls stack up against the stand-alone services, please read The Best (and Worst) Antivirus Software for Parents.At that price, getting Norton Family Premier and Norton's excellent antivirus protection for more is kind of a no-brainer.
Don't expect to be able to block specific callers and texters with Norton Family Premier, and the app's text-monitoring features are a little overbearing.
Initially available for only OS devices, the app now works on many Android devices as well.