Best Parental Control Programs

Parental control software lets you monitor your child or teenager’s communications and protect them from inappropriate content and monitor their communications for any evidence of cyberbullying or inappropriate contacts.. Some packages allow you to monitor social media for potentially inappropriate encounters and cyberbullying and alert you to possible inappropriate chats or instant messages as well. Most programs allow you to set time controls to limit web browsing to specific days and times, and set individual user profiles for each member of the household. For more on parental control software, see More About Parental Control Software at the bottom of this page.

Here are the best parental control programs for 2015:

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Net Nanny
Our top choice is Net Nanny. Net Nanny is the only leading parental control program designed from the bottom up for use by parents to ensure their children’s safety. It includes many features not available in competing products. Read more...


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webwatcher
WebWatcher
WebWatcher provides very powerful monitoring software for a wide variety of devices. It provides the most complete monitoring options, which should be applied with care.
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mcafee_family_protection
McAfee Family Protection
McAfee Family Protection is a good choice if your children use only Windows PCs. McAfee offers excellent value, performing expected parental control tasks efficiently and also providing additional features not included with many parental control packages. Read more...


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intego_family_protector
Intego ContentBarrier
Intego ContentBarrier is an excellent choice if your children only use Macintosh computers and do not have smartphones or tablets. Intego ContentBarrier performs well. Read more...


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pc_pandora
PC Pandora
PC Pandora is a good choice if your children only use Windows PCs, which may limit its usefulness for most families, who likely need support for mobile devices and Macs. Read more...


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Note that some full-featured Internet security suites, such as McAfee LiveSafe and Trend Micro Total Security, include parental control software.

More About Parental Control Software

Typical features that are generally provided by parental control packages include the following:

  • A time scheduler to regulates how much time your children can spend on the Internet
  • Email alerts when your child
  • Web page filtering
  • Profanity masking, which prevents profanity from appearing on the screen
  • Filter web pages by category in real-time
  • Filter secure (https) web pages in real-time
  • Create custom web filtering categories
  • Safe search, enforced on all major search engines
  • Individual whitelist/blacklist filtering
  • Family-level whitelist/blacklist filtering
  • Time controls, scheduling
  • Monitor or block IM and chat
  • Custom user profiles
  • Send alerts by email
  • Web portal/dashboard
  • Reports