Parental control solutions are only effective if they cover all of a child’s devices and activities. Thankfully, Net Nanny has expanded beyond its internet-filter roots and offers tools for blocking apps and restricting a child’s screen time. These capabilities work fine and the web filtering is no longer as vulnerable to workarounds as we found it to be in previous reviews, but it currently only offers basic geofencing tools. Furthermore, competitors offer a better value in terms of the number of devices they cover.
How Much Does Net Nanny Cost?
Net Nanny’s starting tier costs $39.99 per year, but it only lets you monitor one desktop device (macOS or Windows). Net Nanny also offers two family protection passes. The five-device plan costs $54.99 per year and the 20-device plan costs $89.99 per year. Net Nanny does not offer a free trial of any kind or a feature-limited free version.
For comparison, Qustodio costs $54.99 for a five-device plan—the same as Net Nanny—and Mobicip costs $49.99. Boomerang is cheaper at $30.99 per year for 10 devices. Norton Family Premier ($49.99 per year) and Kaspersky Safe Kids ($14.99 per year) offer the best value, since they can monitor an unlimited number of devices. If you are looking for a hardware-based solution for managing all the devices on your home network, Circle Home Plus is one option, albeit a pricey one. The Circle Home device costs $129 on its own and you need to pay $10 per month thereafter to maintain all its monitoring capabilities.
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Net Nanny is available on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Fire OS (Kindle) devices, which is standard for the category. Note that Net Nanny offers two apps on mobile platforms. One is used to install a monitoring profile on your kid’s device and the other is for parents to make changes to restrictions and monitor activities. You can also make changes to configurations via Net Nanny’s web interface. Qustodio and Kaspersky Safe Kids match its platform support. Mobicip goes one step further by offering Chromebook support, but Norton Family Premier notably cannot help parents of kids with macOS computers.
Installing Net Nanny
To get started with Net Nanny, you first need to sign up for an account, a process that requires an email address and payment information. The next step is to download the monitoring app on every device that you intend to track. We tested Net Nanny on a Surface Book running Windows 10, a Google Pixel running Android 10, and an iPhone XR running iOS 13. Before you start configuring every setting, check out our guide on what every parent needs to know about their connected kids.
The Windows installation is simple. Just download the installer, launch the app, and sign in. Next, you need to follow the prompts for assigning each user account to a child profile. The app lives as an icon in the notification tray area. Right-clicking on the icon gives you the option to view basic stats on screen time, manually sync with the Net Nanny servers, or launch the parent dashboard on the web.
To monitor an Android device, download the Net Nanny Child App on your child’s phone, sign in to your account, and select the appropriate child profile. Then, you need to tap through and give Net Nanny all the permissions it requests, including app usage, location, device admin, and content tracking using VPN permissions (this is not a true VPN that encrypts traffic), as well as approve a certificate install. Net Nanny also tells you to manually enable SafeSearch in the Google App, but this is not an optimal implementation since that setting is not locked behind any passcode. If you are considering installing Net Nanny on a non-admin…