Parental control apps like Qustodio can be great tools to help keep your kids safe online. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about Qustodio, including its features, pricing, and how it compares to competitors.
Overview of Qustodio
Qustodio is one of the most popular and full-featured parental control apps available. It offers advanced monitoring and filtering across devices, time management tools, location tracking, and more.
The company was founded in 2012 in Barcelona and now has over 2 million users worldwide. Qustodio is designed for families with kids ages 4-15 and works across multiple platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Kindle.
Some of the key features of Qustodio include:
- Web filtering – Block access to millions of inappropriate websites across 30+ categories like drugs, violence, pornography, etc. Filtering works across standard and private browsing modes.
- Time limits – Set daily screen time allowances and restrict device access during certain hours.
- App blocking – Block distracting or inappropriate apps like social media, games, messaging, etc. Monitor app usage.
- Location tracking – See your child's location on a live map and set up geofence alerts when they arrive or leave specific places.
- Text message monitoring – Review texts on child's Android device and block contacts. (Extra setup needed for iOS devices).
- Panic alert – Kids can send emergency alerts to trusted contacts (Android only).
- Activity reports – Monitor your child's device and app usage, texts, locations visited, and attempts to access blocked content.
Benefits of Using Qustodio
There are many benefits that make Qustodio a top choice among parents looking for digital safety tools:
- Works across multiple devices and platforms – Install on kids' iOS, Android, Windows devices and parent's iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Edge.
- Very easy to set up and use – Simple account creation and device installation. Intuitive parental dashboard.
- Real-time alerts – Get notifications when your child tries to access blocked content or breaks rules.
- Powerful web filtering – Block millions of sites across categories like pornography, violence, drugs, hacking, extremism, radicalization, suicide, etc. Filtering works in regular and private browser modes.
- Flexible time limits – Easily set daily screen time limits across devices. Restrict access during certain hours like bedtime. Give time extensions.
- Detects new apps – As your child downloads new apps, Qustodio automatically detects them and lets you block as needed. Useful for constantly evolving apps like social media and games.
- Works on iOS – Many parental control apps don't work fully on iOS, but Qustodio can filter web activity and block thousands of apps.
- SOS alert button – Kids can discretely reach out for emergency help (Android only currently).
- Affordable pricing – Lower cost compared to competitors while still offering robust features. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Key Features of Qustodio
Let's take a more in-depth look at some of Qustodio's standout features:
Powerful Web Filtering
Qustodio gives you granular control over what websites your child can access. You can block content in the following ways:
- Block lists – Manually block specific URLs.
- Category blocking – Block 30+ predefined categories like pornography, violence, drugs, alcohol, dating, extremism, etc.
- Keyword blocking – Block sites that contain certain keywords, like gambling, porn, etc.
- Block all unknown sites – Only allow access to pre-approved sites and block everything else. Useful for very young kids.
Web filtering works across standard and private/incognito browser modes so kids can't bypass the rules. And it works on popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari.
You'll also get alerted when your child tries to access something blocked. In the activity logs, you can see all attempts to visit inappropriate sites.
Application Monitoring & Blocking
In addition to filtering website content, Qustodio also lets you control mobile apps. As your child downloads new apps, Qustodio will detect them and allow you to block as needed.
- See which apps your child is using and for how long. This helps identify any problematic app addictions.
- Set daily time limits for specific apps like YouTube or TikTok to prevent overuse.
- Completely block distracting or inappropriate apps like messaging apps, dating apps, VPNs, etc. Works on thousands of iOS apps too.
- Block installation of new apps without your approval.
- Block in-app purchases to prevent unwanted charges.
Application monitoring gives you visibility and control over your child's constantly evolving app usage.
Time Management Tools
Qustodio makes it easy to control and limit screen time:
- Set a daily time allowance for your child's device use. The device will lock once the limit is reached.
- Restrict device access during certain times, like during school hours or bedtime.
- Get alerts when your child exceeds their daily limit or tries to use the device during restricted hours.
- Kids can request time extensions which send an alert to your device for approval.
- The schedule can be customized for weekdays, weekends, holidays, etc.
- Time limits work across multiple devices like phones, tablets, computers, and gaming systems.
With Qustodio's scheduling rules, you can ensure a healthy balance of technology and offline activities.
Qustodio uses GPS and network data to pinpoint your child's device location and show it on a live map so you know where they are. Features include:
- See your child's current location at any time. Location updates every 5 minutes when they are moving.
- View a timeline of your child's location history going back weeks or months. Retraces their steps.
- Create geofences around locations like home, school, parks, or friends' houses. Get alerts when your child enters or leaves the zone.
- Family members can easily share locations for meetups or emergencies.
- Location tracking works on Android and iOS mobile devices.
Many parents find location tracking provides peace of mind about their child's physical safety and whereabouts. But discuss with your child first and set appropriate boundaries.
Text Message Monitoring (Android & iOS)
On Android devices, Qustodio lets parents view all texts sent and received through the native messaging app. You can:
- Read your child's texts to make sure they're not being harassed or contacted inappropriately.
- Be alerted about texts that contain suspicious keywords, profanity, threats of violence, drug references, suicidal ideation, etc.
- Block texts and calls from specific phone numbers.
- Monitor texts across mainstream apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Telegram, etc.
For iPhones, Qustodio's text monitoring requires some additional setup:
- Download the Qustodio Calls & SMS app on a Mac computer.
- Connect your child's iPhone to the Mac via USB and enable text forwarding.
- Qustodio will then sync and display texts from your child's iOS device on the dashboard.
Text monitoring can provide important insight into your child's communications, but transparent conversations about privacy are crucial. Only use it if you have specific concerns around their safety.
Panic Alert Button (Android only)
Qustodio offers a Panic Button exclusively for Android devices. When activated, it will:
- Send an alert text message containing your child's location to trusted contacts.
- Send an email alert as well with location details like address, coordinates, date and time.
- Work even if Qustodio app is hidden.
This can give children a discreet way to call for help if they feel unsafe or get lost. Make sure your child understands when and how to properly use this emergency feature.
Detailed Activity Reports
Within the Qustodio dashboard, parents get access to detailed activity reports monitoring:
- Screen time – See how much time your child spends on each device and set limits.
- Websites visited – View full browsing history including access attempts to blocked sites.
- Keyword searches – Monitor terms searched on Google, YouTube, Bing.
- Apps used – Times and duration for all apps and games.
- Locations – Browsable timeline of all locations visited.
- Calls & texts – History of all incoming/outgoing communications.
Activity reports refresh constantly, so you have real-time visibility into your child's digital habits. Use the data to have informed conversations around healthy technology use.
Qustodio Pricing Plans
Qustodio offers paid plans for families as well as a free option with limited features.
Qustodio's free plan covers one child profile and gives you access to:
- Time limits and scheduling rules
- Basic web filtering
- App blocking
- Daily/weekly activity reports
The free plan is a great way to test Qustodio and see if you like it before committing to a paid plan. Just note that advanced features like text monitoring, location tracking, and expanded app blocking require an upgrade.
Qustodio has premium plans for monitoring 5 or an unlimited number of child profiles. Pricing is annual only.
- $54.95 per year
- Monitor up to 5 child profiles
- Advanced web filtering
- App monitoring and blocking
- Location tracking
- Time limits and scheduling
- Text message monitoring for Android
- Panic button for Android
- $99.95 per year
- Unlimited child profiles
- Everything in Basic plus:
- Text monitoring for iOS
- YouTube monitoring
- Game and app time limits
- Geofence alerts
While pricier than some competitors, Qustodio's paid plans include all the features most parents need for comprehensive monitoring and control across multiple devices. And there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Ease of Use
Qustodio is designed to be very easy for parents and kids to use, with intuitive apps and dashboards.
- The parental control dashboard is very user-friendly with clear menus and settings.
- Apps are available for Android, iOS, and Web to manage Qustodio from anywhere.
- Setting up child profiles, installing on devices, and configuring rules like time limits only takes minutes.
- In-app tips and FAQ library provide guidance if you need assistance.
- Kids just need to install Qustodio's light, non-intrusive app on their devices. No complex settings.
- The app works quietly in the background and won't impact device performance.
- On Android, kids get notifications when Qustodio blocks something or time limits are reached.
- There are no confusing controls or settings for kids to fiddle with.
For families new to parental controls, Qustodio is a great choice thanks to its sheer ease of use on both ends.
Qustodio offers several customer support options:
- Help center – Library of tutorials, how-to guides, FAQs, and troubleshooting. Covers everything from installation to advanced features.
- Email support – Submit support tickets through Qustodio's website. Agents typically respond within 24 hours.
- Phone support – For Qustodio's Premium plan subscribers in the U.S., “Care Plus” provides priority phone support including setup assistance.
- Live chat – At the time of writing, Qustodio does not offer live chat. Email and phone are the main channels.
While live chat is missing, Qustodio's email-based support is quite responsive. And the detailed help center articles answer most common questions.
How Qustodio Compares to Other Parental Controls
Qustodio stacks up very competitively against leading alternatives like FamiSafe, Bark, Norton Family, and more when it comes to features and value.
Both Qustodio and FamiSafe offer robust parental controls for iOS and Android with web filtering, screen time management, location tracking, and more.
- Qustodio has better web filtering across browsers.
- FamiSafe is slightly cheaper for unlimited devices.
- FamiSafe has better app blocking on iOS.
- Qustodio has text message monitoring.
- FamiSafe offers better social media monitoring and content analysis.
For most families, Qustodio generally provides stronger overall device monitoring and management capabilities. But FamiSafe excels at analyzing social media content and risks.
Bark focuses more on monitoring online activities and text messages through AI and alerting parents about issues.
Qustodio has much stronger time management and access blocking controls. But Bark offers deeper content analysis of texts, email, YouTube, social media, etc.
Vs. Norton Family
Norton Family is a solid parental control app from the antivirus leader.
Qustodio has better text message monitoring but fewer platforms supported compared to Norton Family. Both offer free plans.
Overall, Qustodio remains one of the top options for parents considering its combination of powerful device restrictions and content filtering tools.
Qustodio Review Conclusion
After thoroughly testing and researching Qustodio, there's no question it's one of the top parental control solutions available today. The range of platform support, intuitive interface, and unique features like text monitoring and panic alerts make it a great choice for most families.
However, Qustodio isMissing live chat supportCan be expensive for larger familiesRequires setup for full iOS monitoring
For parents looking for robust parental controls across many devices, Qustodio is hard to beat. There are free and paid plans to accommodate families large and small, so give it a try to see if it's a good fit.
- Qustodio is one of the most full-featured parental control apps with advanced monitoring, filtering, time limits, location tracking, and more across mobile and desktop.
- Key benefits include multi-platform support, powerful web and app blocking, time scheduling, panic button, activity reports, and text message monitoring.
- Standout features include web filtering that works across browsers, app blocking for iOS/Android, time management tools, precise location tracking, and text message monitoring.
- Qustodio has free and paid plans ranging from $54.95-$99.95 per year to cover 1-unlimited child profiles. Offers 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Very easy to set up and use on both parents' and kids' devices. Clean parental dashboard and minimal kids' apps.
- Customer support includes detailed help center, responsive email ticketing, and phone support in the U.S. for premium subscribers. Live chat currently unavailable.
Frequently Asked Questions About Qustodio
Does Qustodio work on iPhones?
Yes, Qustodio offers full support for iPhones. Parents can filter web activity, block apps, and monitor screen time. Text message monitoring requires extra setup using a Mac computer. Limitations include no call blocking or panic button.
Can kids bypass Qustodio?
It's difficult for kids to bypass Qustodio without the parent's password. Qustodio blocks attempts to uninstall it. And its web filtering works across standard and private browsing modes. A VPN could potentially circumvent filters, but Qustodio detects popular VPNs.
Is Qustodio invisible?
The Qustodio app runs silently in the background of kids' devices without any interface. On Android, kids will get notifications when attempts are blocked or time limits reached. For Windows/Mac, there is a “hide Qustodio” mode to make it less visible. But kids can still find the app if they look.
Does Qustodio drain battery?
No, Qustodio has minimal impact on battery life if apps are set up correctly. The app uses battery-efficient GPS pinging for location checks and doesn't need to constantly run demanding processes. Users don't report significant battery drain.
What happens when time limit is reached?
When a child hits their time limit, the device will be blocked or locked depending on parents' settings. Parents can either extend time remotely or the device unlocks again the next day. Time limits apply across multiple kids' devices.
Does Qustodio monitor texts on Android and iPhone?
Yes, Qustodio can monitor texts on both platforms. On Android, enable text monitoring in the app settings. For iPhones, additional setup is required using a Mac computer to forward messages. Texts are then visible in the web dashboard.
What forms of customer support does Qustodio offer?
Qustodio provides email ticket support, comprehensive self-help guides and tutorials, and phone support for Premium subscribers in the U.S. At this time, they do not offer live chat. But the email support team is quite responsive.
Does Qustodio have a free version?
Yes, Qustodio offers a free plan with limited functionality including basic web filtering, time limits, and app blocking for one child profile. It's a good way to try Qustodio before paying. But advanced features require a paid subscription.
Can Qustodio see incognito browsing?
Yes, Qustodio's web filtering works across regular and private/incognito browser modes. So it can block inappropriate sites and view browsing history even in incognito tabs. This prevents kids from bypassing the controls.