Qustodio Parental Control Review

Letting your child loose on the internet can feel a little bit like sending them to a party at a stranger’s house: you don’t know where they are or who’s there, and you’re not sure if anyone is looking after them. Parental control software like Qustodio gives you an invitation to that party so you know where your kids are and what they’re doing—all to keep them safe.
qustodio logo

Best for Social Media Monitoring

4/5
  • Intuitive interface
  • Discreet monitoring
  • Time limit controls
  • Website filtering options

About Qustodio

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 usage history.

Best for Social Media Monitoring
qustodio logo

Compared to similar products, Qustodio is a little more expensive, but it comes with extra features like a panic button and SMS monitoring, making it great for combating cyber bullying. The SMS and social media monitoring allows you to see text messages and social media posts, and it even lets you block contacts from specific phone numbers. Qustodio also has a user-friendly interface and location tracking, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have geofencing or a tamper alert feature.

How We Evaluated 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’s methodology.

phone showing qustodio parental control app

Qustodio Pricing and Plans

As we mentioned, Qustodio is slightly more costly than other parental control options, but its additional features are especially helpful for parents who worry about cyber bullying.

 

  Free Premium Small Premium Medium Premium Large
Yearly Fee Free $54.95 $96.95 $137.95
Number of Devices 1 5 10 15
Internet and Applications Monitoring Y Y Y Y
Content Filters Y Y Y Y
Social Media Monitoring N Y Y Y
Time Limit Controls Y Y Y Y
Online Dashboard Y Y Y Y
Game and Application Blocking N Y Y Y
Panic Button N Y Y Y
Location Tracking N Y Y Y
Call and SMS Monitoring/Blocking N Y Y Y
Advanced Facebook Monitoring N Y Y Y
Detailed Activity History N 30 days 30 days 30 days
Priority Technical Support N Y Y Y

Pros

  • Free Premium Trial
    When we downloaded the free Qustodio app, we got an instant three-day free trial of the Premium version.
  • No Credit Card Requirement
    Unlike many free trials, the Qustodio Premium trial did not require a credit card number, so we didn’t have to worry about canceling after the three free days.
  • Premium Support Perks
    Usually when it comes to customer service, all customers are created equal, but Qustodio gives support preference to customers with Premium subscriptions.

Cons

  • Short Trial Period
    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.
laptop showing qustodio dashboard

Features and Usability

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.

Pros

  • Activity Timeline
    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, websites they visit, and posts they share on social media.
  • Intuitive Interface
    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.
  • Panic Button
    The Panic Button feature is great for older kids who might be away from home. All they have to do is open the Qustodio app on their phone and click the Panic Button icon and Qustodio will send an alert to up to four trusted contacts letting them know your child needs help.
  • Website Alert Option
    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.

Cons

  • Incompatibility with Older Devices
    Many parents give younger children hand-me-down phones 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.
  • Incompatibility with Antivirus Software
    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.
  • No Geofencing
    While Qustodio can show you the GPS location of your child’s device, there is no option to attach rules to specific places, so you can’t automatically block certain apps while your child is at school.
  • No Tamper Alert
    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.

FAQs

What is the difference between Net Nanny and Qustodio?

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

What are the differences between Qustodio Premium and the free version of Qustodio?

The biggest difference 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.

Does the Qustodio app work on any device?

Qustodio has apps for iPhones, iPads, Androids, and Kindles, but reviewers say it works best with Android devices. Qustodio does not yet have compatible apps for Chromebooks or Windows phones, and the panic button feature works only on Android devices.

Can you read Facebook chat conversations with Qustodio?

No, Qustodio does not currently offer this feature.

Do I need to have access to my child’s Facebook account for the Facebook monitoring 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.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to go beyond basic pornography protection and want software that will help you keep your kids safe from cyber bullying on social media, Qustodio is a good choice. It has some of the most comprehensive software available for monitoring text messaging and social media accounts, 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.

PROS

  • Easy installation and use
  • Comprehensive social media monitoring
  • Multiple device management
  • Bonus features including location monitoring and panic button

CONS

  • Antivirus software conflicts
  • Less compatibility with iOS devices
  • No geofencing or tamper alert

Written by Kasey Tross

Kasey Tross is a stay-at-home mom with four energetic kids, and she's married to a security expert, so safety is a top priority in the Tross home. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, hiking, playing the flute, helping out at church, and eating far more chocolate than she should. Learn more

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