A parental control tool that only runs on your family PC is almost useless when it comes to keeping an eye on modern connected kids. Qustodio has just about every feature an anxious parent wants, including web content filtering, robust app blocking, and a detailed activity log. You handle all configuration and monitoring either via Qustodio’s online dashboard or the parental mode of its mobile apps, which means you can set rules and review your child’s activity from anywhere.
Previously, Qustodio was a PCMag’s Editors’ Choice winner, but a new, less-secure requirement for using the call- and text-monitoring feature on Android devices has caused us to drop its rating and the award. We now recommend Editors’ Choice winner Norton Family in the parental control category.
How Much Does Qustodio Cost?
Qustodio for Families is expensive, but it does have a permanently free option. The free version limits monitoring to just a single device and only keeps seven days of activity history. You also get basic controls like web filtering and time quotas for certain activities. Qustodio structures its paid subscription plans around family size, with Small (five devices), Medium (10 devices), and Large (15 devices) options. These plans cost $54.95, $96.95, and $137.95 per year, respectively. Some advantages these plans offer over the free version are up to 30 days of activity history, application-based time restrictions, and location tracking.
Qustodio is not just for families. Qustodio for Schools aims to keep students on track when using school computers, while Qustodio for Business is designed to make sure employees are working, not watching cat videos—or worse. These products have similar features to Qustodio for Families. The biggest difference is in the pricing.
Norton Family Premier is cheaper ($49.99 per year) than Qustodio and does not limit the number of devices you can monitor. Kaspersky Safe Kids undercuts both of those services considerably; it only charges $14.99 per year and supports an unlimited number of child devices. The two-part hardware and software solution, Circle Home Plus, is more expensive; the device costs $129 and includes a one-year premium membership, but after that, you need to pay $9.99 per month to maintain the service on an unlimited number of devices.
Qustodio runs on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Kindle devices. Qustodio launched a version of its software for Chromebooks, a platform Mobicip also supports. Norton Family manages Windows and iOS devices, but be warned that it cannot monitor macOS devices. Keep in mind that some Qustodio features are platform-specific and that the iOS app is more limited than its Android counterpart—as is common, given how Apple tends to lock down iOS settings. Look at Apple’s built-in Screen Time feature as an alternative to a third-party parental control solution.
To test Qustodio’s desktop capabilities, we used a Macbook Pro running macOS 11.6.1. For evaluating Qustodio on mobile, we primarily used an iPhone XS running iOS 14.8.1 and a Samsung Galaxy A71 running Android 11.
Setting Up Qustodio
Once you purchase your Qustodio subscription, you get started by logging in on the website and creating a profile for your child. Qustodio requires your child’s name and birth year, and you can choose whether or not to specify a gender.
After creating a profile, you need to install a local client on every device you intend to track. Windows and macOS installs are easy. Just download and run the installer, log in, and add a name for the device. You can apply configuration settings to all user accounts on a computer or configure each login account separately, later…