Parental Control

My blog is focused on the whole life of a Christian, so I will write about products I believe in or avoid from time to time. My wife and I homeschool our children, and they accomplish much of their school online with Alpha Omega Publishing’s Monarch software, which is entirely online. I will probably write a rave review about AOP sometime soon, but today I wanted to recommend a family filter and parental control software for the household. I will compare Net Nanny, Circle by Disney and Qustodio.

Basis of Reviews

What was important to my wife and me was parental control over usage. I can find content filters anywhere, but we needed control over time, content and down to the apps on the computer itself. We also have 13 devices in the house if we include computers, mobile devices and gaming consoles. We have four children and they schooling is entirely online, so we have six computers in the house at any given time. We need a software that will not slow down life, make it impossible to do daily tasks and work as close to our expectations as possible. We also are an Apple Home; we have 1 PC, and 1 Android and rest are Apple.

2nd Place Net Nanny

Net Nanny is a versatile software that is web-based and can be installed on computers and mobile devices. We used it for about four months. We enjoyed the control tools, filtering and reports, but the iPhone filtering was a bit cumbersome because it forced our teenager (and us, we adults need filters too) to use their browser and then block safari.  Personally, I find this to be a major problem. The Net Nanny browser is decent but can be difficult on sites requiring a hefty amount of security, javascript, video, etc. There is something to be said about filtering and control over normal app usage.

Net Nanny also does not control device usage if the apps do not use the internet. This would be fine, but when my son decides to play a game on the computer instead of schooling, this could be a problem. This was our top reason for finding another solution.

Another problem was that time usage seemed to have some bugs that added quite a bit more time than was used. We discovered this with some controlled tests on some of our Apple Computers

Net Nanny PROS

Cost Effective, Great Filtering, Great Reports and Notifications

Net Nanny CONS

No Non-Internet App Control, Mobile device implementation, Time Control, No Way to Shut Down device usage entirely.

Net Nanny Website 

3rd Place Circle by Disney

This device came out last year with a bang! It is a small device that can connect to your home network via wifi or ethernet. I recommend you use ethernet, as the wifi function will significantly slow down the entire home internet. Circle had a very similar service to Net Nanny but only on home wifi or the internet. Once a mobile device left home, no filter. If you want, Circle offers CIRCLE GO for a monthly fee of $9.99 per month for up to 10 iOS Phones; Android support is still in the works. The problem is that you pay more for Circle Go than you would Net Nanny or Qustodio for all your devices including mobile devices. Still worth the price for protection.

What we loved about Circle was the ability to boil down reports, filtering and time limits to apps on the device, but only specific ones initially and then you could block anything that you see in the reports. The user interface was much friendlier than Net Nanny and Qustodio. Any changes you make to the parental controls are close to instant, where both Qustodio and Net Nanny had a bit of a delay.

We honestly loved Circle, and it would have had made 1st place had it not been for the biggest issue we had with it: Internet Interference. There would be times where the whole house would be down, slow speeds, or issues with sites that typically work fine. We did tests to ensure it was not our service provider or hardware, but each time we removed the Circle from the mix, everything returned to normal. We understand that speeds can be affected by the parental control software we decide on, but this was excessive. It would often block sites that had a secure certificate that Google had problems with including the schooling site we used. This was not acceptable for the Morans.

Circle PROS

Cost Effective, Great Filtering, Great Reports and Notifications, Decent App Control, Great Interface, Screen Time not just Internet Time.

Circle CONS

No mobile control outside of the home without separate subscription, no current Android solution, Internet Interference.

Circle by Disney Website

1st Place Qustodio

 

We have been using Qustodio for about one month and the function is very similar to Circle, but the setup is much like Net Nanny. Circle requires no software install, but Qustodio must be installed on all computers and mobile devices. We would rather this because the phones filtering works everywhere, not just at home.

The control features are in-depth including social media, app and software usage and device block. When I know one of my children are ignoring chores, I can tell the system to block all usage, and the computer will do nothing until I see the chores are done. This is a nice feature. I have not experienced any slow down or strange internet issues with Qustodio. The cost is nice, with a coupon code it cost me $65 per year for ten devices but standard pricing is similar to Net Nanny. The Mobile App seems to do limited function and then forces your phone to log into the website to do the rest. It would be valuable to have all reports, features and notifications come from the app itself.

Qustodio PROS

Cost Effective, Great Filtering, Great Reports and Notifications, Good App Control, Great Interface, Screen Time not just Internet Time, Device Block, Mobile filtering and control everywhere, Plans for schools and business

Qustodio CONS

Interface could be better, iOs function not as deep as Android

Qustodio Website