Parenting is often called the most difficult, unpaid job in the world and if you ask, most parents would agree without a doubt. Parents of multiple young children would tell you to leave at the sight of you coming over to ask a question, that to them has a no-brainer for an answer. Besides being difficult, and a great sacrifice on the part of parents, parenting can be a thankless endeavor too. Most people who raise their young know they’re in it not for the praise or recognition, but out of sheer love for their children.
But like most things that have become easier as we’ve evolved technologically, parenting is no different. The invention of baby strollers meant children didn’t need to be carried everywhere. And when you did need to carry, sling carriers took most of the effort out of it.
Similarly, breast pumps meant mothers could save milk for their children for later use and pump when convenient. And for those that don’t or can’t breastfeed, pediatric milk formulas were designed to provide all the nutrition and nourishment a young child would need.
Baby monitors fulfilled a need many parents were clamoring for too. Children could now be left to their own devices without constant supervision by either parent, and they could rest assured that their child is safe with just a tap of a button. But while that’s great from a technological standpoint, not many solutions exist for parents in the digital age. Or so you’d think.
Every turn of age has brought with it further and numerous issues that require solving.
Baby strollers, for instance, are a great method of traveling with young children, but the strollers themselves are big and bulky to move. The solution comes in a flurry of detachable and collapsable strollers. This was the case until people with cars realized they needed the safety of the stroller inside the confines of a car cabin. Isofix child safety points were added in the seats of cars as a result, and remain the standard to this day.
In the same way, baby monitors are widely in use but besides being effectively a spy camera, they don’t offer much more than advertised. Perhaps this is due to the realization of the limits of this technology, but as far as long-distance parenting goes, this has remained stagnant as well. To learn more about how to pull off long-distance parenting successfully, here is an informative read.
So what do parents need in a world that is largely dependent on smartphones? Shouldn’t the next generation of parental aids coexist with the technology already at hand? We’d argue that besides coexisting with existing technology, the aids of tomorrow should leverage them for better use.
Such tools exist today and have unique use cases that can be utilized by parents globally. Let’s go over the five best ones designed to help parents:
If you visit the Xnspy website, you’ll soon realize that it is much more than an Android app to monitor a child’s phone activity. The application has widespread use both in personal and corporate spheres and is seeing adoption in educational institutes as well. The reason behind such widespread use is the suite of features the Xnspy provides. This has made it one of the defacto choices for us to recommend to parents of children with independent devices.
Features of Xnspy
The monitoring app is more than your run-of-the-mill device tracking app and has a plethora of features that warrant its inclusion on the list.
For starters, Xnspy allows for the most comprehensive tracking of social media and instant messaging apps on phones and tablets. Besides this, parents can also keep tabs on browser history, app data, text and call records, and even locate their children through the app’s geo-tracking feature. This location monitoring aspect also has an additional functionality where parents can set up specific zones on the map that would then notify them if the child visit those premises. Such a level of control has been unprecedented in the past, and apps of the sort continue to pave way for others to provide greater functionality to parents.
Another unique feature that Xnspy has over its competitors is remote listening and screen recording. That is especially helpful for parents who would like to know what their children are talking or gossiping about and the device usage they log. Given the exponential instances of cybercrimes and cyberbullying against children, Xnspy is a great tool that sides with the parents’ concerns.
Xnspy plans start from $4.99/month for the Basic version and $7.49/month for the Premium offering.
#2: Net Nanny
Net Nanny is similar in functionality to Xnspy in many ways that it is also an iPhone and Android app to monitor a child’s phone activity. But the application largely takes on the role of a parental control app rather than a monitoring one. Still, the use of AI (artificial intelligence) to help block dangerous content online is a welcome one. The application is sophisticated enough to learn from usage patterns, adjust preferences accordingly, and has routinely been one of the most parental tools available online.
Features of Net Nanny
With the app, parents can block harmful, dangerous, and obscene content on their children’s devices. They can also block specific apps and monitor screen time. That is a feature that it shares with Xnspy. Other than that, it can be used to track the real-time location of a child and has a powerful internet filter that can be tailored to the child’s specific needs.
Net Nanny costs $39.99/year for one device, $54.99/year for 5 devices, and $89.99/year for 20 devices.
#3: Norton Family
Norton Family exploded in popularity and adoption once pandemic-enforced remote learning measures took on globally. The app was ubiquitously deployed in-home and through school-loaned devices where parents and teachers could manage their child’s remote learning environment.
The app works similarly to Net Nanny and is also a parental control suite provided by one of the biggest names in the antivirus and anti-malware industry. This gives the application a leg up in terms of development, where parents can easily install the app on Android, iOS, and Windows devices. Where it falls short is in its support for macOS.
Features of Norton Family
Norton Family has excellent web supervision controls that allow parents to fine-tune internet accessibility and let them see what their children are browsing on the internet. Like the previous entry on the list, it too can block content online. Parents can also set time limits for children and block specific features of the device once the allowed time has elapsed.
With remote learning becoming ever the norm, the app limits functionality to other social or messaging apps during times of study. This keeps the child locked down to specific times to use the device.
Norton Family has one plan, which costs $49.99 per year.
Qustodio can be seen as a direct competitor to Xnspy and performs much in the same way, too. The app is marketed as being the all-in-one parental control solution and has additional digital wellbeing options too. The app is compatible with a wide range of devices. Everything from Windows devices to Android and iPhones, Chromebooks, and Kindles are supported by Qustodio.
Features of Qustodio
In a nutshell, the remote monitoring software can filter content and apps, monitor device activity, set time limits, track calls and text messages, and even report on the exact location of devices. Meant to be an app that cuts down on the harms ever-present to young children and teens, Qustodio provides the support and control parents need to ensure that.
Qustodio has three plans. You can expect to pay $67.94/year for control of 5 devices, $96.95/year for 10 devices, and $137.95/year for 15 devices.
#5: Kaspersky Safe Kids
Kaspersky Safe Kids is another powerful monitoring app in the utility belt of parents. The app can help block access to inappropriate content online, set screen time limits, and track location with ease.
The best selling point for this app is that it has two versions: free and premium. Parents have the option to try out the free trial before making a purchase decision.
Features of Kaspersky Safe Kids
The free version of the app allows an online content filter, safe search in YouTube, app usage control, and screen time management. With the Premium offering, you get all the benefits of the free version a few additional ones, such as YouTube search history, real-time alerts, battery tracker, and a GPS child locator.
The app costs $14.99 per year for its Premium plan.
Regardless of where you stand on the adoption scale, it is clear that the next surge in parental aids is going to be in digital format. With so much of our lives already encompassed by smart devices, it is clear that the trend towards providing solutions to parents needs to come as an application. At the very least, this should give the popular saying, ‘there’s an app for that” a new meaning.