Qustodio review: Our pick for the best parental controls

We tested Qustodio hands-on and liked its usability overall.
Best reporting dashboard
4.3 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    Intuitive interface
  • pro
    Discreet monitoring
  • pro
    Time limit controls
  • pro
    Website filtering options
Kasey Tross
Aug 06, 2023
bullet4 min read

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Qustodio is a parental control app for computers, tablets, and smartphones that helps you monitor your kids’ screen time and prevent them from seeing inappropriate content. You can set specific filters and time limits for websites and apps they use and supervise their device usage history.

pro Easy installation and use
pro Multiple device management
pro Bonus features e.g. location monitoring and panic button
con Antivirus software conflicts
con Less compatibility with iOS devices
con No uninstall protection

Compared to similar products, Qustodio is a little more expensive. Still, it has extra features like a panic button and SMS monitoring, making it great for combating cyberbullying. You can see text messages and block contacts from specific phone numbers. Qustodio also has a user-friendly interface, location tracking, and geofencing, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have a tamper-alert feature.

Compare Qustodio pricing and plans

Annual fee
Number of devices
Call and text monitoring
Web activity alerts
Learn more
Basic plan5
Complete planUnlimited
(iOS only)

Prices accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Qustodio features

We love that Qustodio works on a range of different devices:

  • Android 
  • Mac OSX
  • iOS
  • Chromebook
  • Kindle
  • Windows computers (but not Windows phones)

Each Qustodio plan includes these features:

  • Internet and mobile app monitoring
  • Web filtering
  • Daily time limit
  • Online reporting dashboard

Qustodio Free does a great job on basic protection, but if you have multiple devices or multiple kids, you'll probably want to invest in one of the Premium packages for full protection and monitoring across all your kids' devices. This is what you'll get with the complete paid plan:

  • Game and app blocking
  • Panic button (Android only)
  • Location tracking (Android or iOS device only)
  • Call and SMS monitoring and blocking (Android only)
  • YouTube monitoring (Android, Mac, and Windows only)
  • 30-day history reports
  • Family locator that lets you see the location of each member on a map

Some features aren't available on particular devices due to privacy restrictions, but this problem is consistent with virtually every parental control app. It's out of Qustodio's control.

laptop showing qustodio dashboard

Qustodio usability and alerts

The Qustodio interface is straightforward and easy to navigate, so even less tech-savvy parents shouldn't have a problem setting specific guidelines for their kids' devices. It's got some cool features like the Activity Timeline and Panic Button too.

Rather than just a list of the sites your child has visited, the Activity Timeline shows a minute-by-minute breakdown of all your child's activity on their device, including apps they use and websites they visit.

In addition to allowing or blocking certain categories of websites, the Qustodio app can alert you if a child accesses a specific type of website, like a file-sharing or chat site. This allows kids to access some potentially risky—but not totally unsafe—sites, but you’ll know when so you can keep an eye on their activity.

Qustodio flaws

Qustodio is pretty solid when it comes to security, but there's no feature to alert you if your child tries to alter the settings on the app.

Many parents give younger children hand-me-down phones mobile devices and tablets after an upgrade, but depending on how old the devices are, Qustodio parental control software may not work on them. Check out the Qustodio site for system requirements and supported platforms to find out if the software is compatible with your devices.

We got several incompatibility messages from our antivirus software when we installed Qustodio on a Mac, and the Qustodio website even warns against this. The company recommends uninstalling antivirus software and then reinstalling it after you install Qustodio.

Final word

If you're looking to go beyond basic pornography protection and want software that will help you keep your kids safe from cyberbullying through text messages, Qustodio is a good choice.

And its time limit controls also help keep kids safe from screen addiction. But just keep in mind that it's also more expensive than other parental control options, and it doesn't always play well with iOS devices.

Compare the best parental controls software

Parental control app
Starting price
Free version?
Call/text management
Learn more
Read review
Best overallYes5 to unlimitedYes
Best budgetYesUnlimitedNo
Best freeYesUnlimitedNo
Best for web filteringYes1–20No
Best for monitoring7-day trialUnlimitedYes
(Premium plan)

Prices are accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

How we reviewed Qustodio

Image: Qustodio

To write our Qustodio review, we downloaded the software and tested it ourselves to see how it operated in real-world situations. We read what others were saying about it, and we compared it to similar products. Find out more about our review process by checking out SafeWise Australia's methodology.

When we downloaded the free Qustodio app, we got an instant three-day free trial of the Premium version. And, unlike many free trials, the Qustodio Premium trial didn't require a credit card number, so we didn't have to worry about cancelling after the three free days. 

Three days isn't a lot of time to test out a parental control product. Children's device activities are unpredictable and can vary from one day to the next, and you want to make sure the software can handle whatever your kid throws at it. We'd like to see a seven-day trial, at minimum, for this kind of software.

If you do subscribe, Qustodio gives support preference to customers with Premium subscriptions. If you often need tech support, consider upgrading to reduce wait time.

Qustodio FAQs

Net Nanny and Qustodio share many of the same features, including web filtering, time limits, and activity monitoring, but there are a few differences between the two. Net Nanny does not have a panic button, but Qustodio does not have language and image censoring like Net Nanny does. Net Nanny is also less expensive than Qustodio, but barely.

The biggest difference in Qustodio cost is that the free version lets you protect only a single device, while the Premium packages start at five devices and go up from there. Premium packages also offer features like a panic button, SMS message monitoring, and advanced Facebook monitoring.

Qustodio has apps for iPhones, iPads, Androids, and Kindles, but reviewers say it works best on an Android device. Qustodio does not have a compatible app for Windows phones, and the panic button feature works only on Android devices.

No, Qustodio does not currently offer this feature.

Yes. Facebook monitoring doesn't start working until either you or your child log into their Facebook account on their device and allow Qustodio to access account information. Keep in mind that it may take a little while for it to connect after logging in—it took us about an hour after connecting Qustodio to a Facebook account to start seeing Facebook activity on our Qustodio online dashboard.

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time of publish and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the retailer’s website at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise Australia utilises paid affiliate links.
Kasey Tross
Written by
Kasey Tross

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