2016’s Best Free Parental Control Programs

Keyloggers content filters and tracking utilities help keep your children safe.


The more the Internet evolves, the more steps we need to take to keep ourselves and the ones we love safe.



Software isn’t the only answer for digital security, but it is a valuable tool. Consider the following parental control programs available in 2016.

  1. Qustodio – Keep your children safe on OS X, Windows, and mobile devices with the free app from Qustodio. It provides a complete lineup of utilities to safeguard your kids from dangers.

Many parental control programs are developed for Windows, but Qustodio can also be used for Android, OS X, Kindle, iOS, and Nook.
You can control multiple devices for about $45 USD annually, or protect one device for free. For those with larger families, premium plans are available.

The free version allows you to set rules, schedules, and block inappropriate content. The paid version also includes text monitoring, social media protection, and individual app security. That being said, the free version is very comprehensive in itself.

Qustodio’s many features and customer support is recommended if you’re looking for quality parental control software, but there are alternatives out there, some of which might be more suited to your needs.

  1. FamilyShield’s filters can be applied on all devices running on a router’s Wi-Fi network.

A free service from OpenDNS, FamilyShield automatically blocks URLs that the developer has deemed adult-oriented.

A big advantage when using FamilyShield is that it can run on smart-phones, tablets, and PCs through the router’s network. As such, it can filter traffic on all devices running on a single network. It is easy to configure as well – within the control panel, simply modify the DNS server numbers, and you’re done. By doing so, you may also see an increase in your ISP’s speed.

  1. Norton Family – You can see what websites your kids have frequented and what’s happening on their social media accounts through the free version of Norton Family.

With Norton Family, you can block unsuitable content and track the online activity of your children. Monitor what they’re Googling and see who they’re friending on Facebook. You can make sure they’re not giving away details to strangers that could put your family in danger. You can also lock down your Internet connection at scheduled times.

With the paid version of Norton Family, you also get location tracking, video supervision, Android texting and app use, as well as scheduled lock down times for apps on Android devices. The software will set you back approximately $49.99 USD annually.

  1. Kidlogger allows you to monitor each thing your kid types, which may seem overprotective, but can really come in handy if you think they’re doing something troublesome.

With Kidlogger, you can monitor your child’s keystrokes, photos, instant messages, Skype calls and even their locations. If your kid is being persuaded into something, such software could be a live-saver.

You can track one device and keep 9 days’ worth of logs with the free version of Kidlogger. The premium version, which costs about $29 USD, allows you to track up to 5 devices, and logs are stored for an entire month. The software can be used on Mac, Windows, and Android operating systems.

  1. Refog – this free keylogger will let you monitor your children’s online activity, without blocking access to any website. You can essentially watch what your kids are doing over their shoulder, digitally.

People tend to shy away from keyloggers in general, as they are mostly used by cyber-criminals. That being said, the software can be used for good, and really come in handy in order to protect your kids, and prevent them from getting into trouble.

  1. Webfilter Pro provides comprehensive filtering options for both Firefox and Chrome, however, this extension can easily be disabled if your kids know how to navigate through the control panels in your browser.

As great as this browser add-on is, it can be simple to disable if your kid put his mind to it.

WebFilter Pro is a content-filtering add-on for Firefox and Chrome that is cloud-based. It can stop adult content from showing up on your screen, such as guns and drugs, as well as block malware, spam, proxy servers, media streaming sites, and even social media.

The free WebFilter Pro allows you to pick which sites you want blocked, and which sites you don’t. However, even though the filtering options are password-protected, the add-on itself can easily be disabled from the browser extension tabs.

  1. If you use Microsoft Edge, consider using Windows Live Family Safety. It is integrated into Windows 8 and 10.

Windows Live Family Safety provides numerous parental controls that allow you to restrict specific sites or types of content on web browsers. It also allows you to monitor your children’s activities and see which websites they’ve been frequenting.

You can also adjust what kinds of results kids can see when performing a query on search engines, as well as set limits on what can be done at specific times of the day. This can be useful to ensure video games aren’t being played during homework time, for example.

  1. Intended to regulate the behavior or children using computers, Zoodles Kid Mode is a unique browser to keep kids safe from anything inappropriate or scary. The web browser was designed specifically for children.

The issue most parental control apps have is that they’re not so effective on all types of content. While it can be handy to filter out content, there’s plenty of things online that aren’t adult-oriented that can frighten younger children.

To address this, Zoodles Kid Mode mixes their dedicated web browser with filtered browsing to produce a regulated playground – everything seen on the browser is 100% safe for kids to see, and there are no worries of anything adult-oriented from showing up.

Besides Windows, the Zoodles Kid Mode can also be used on Android, iOS, and Mac systems.

  1. It might be a little outdated, but the K9 Web Protection add-on is hard for kids of any age to uninstall.

K9 Web Protection can be used on Mac, iOS, and PCs, though it hasn’t been updated since 2014. The add-on blocks 70 unique website categories that involve relationships, drugs and hate speech. It also offers features mandatory SafeSearch on Google, time limit usage and prevents malicious adult websites from showing up.

However, what it doesn’t block are instant messaging programs. Also, you can’t customize the program per user, so what is blocked for a child is also blocked for a teenager. That being said, K9 is hard to remove, and is efficient for what it was developed for.

  1. FoxFilter is referred to as one of the greatest Firefox and Chrome parental control add-ons, but unfortunately, the workaround is to simply use another browser.

FoxFilter’s filters are great if you are around a child while the computer is being used, or if you trust them enough to not use another browser instead of Chrome or Firefox. It is effective in blocking shady content, and the filter can be fine-tuned so that it doesn’t accidentally block content you want seen.