Norton Family Parental Control Review

We compared Norton Family to other parental controls and discovered it excels at customization and reporting.
Best custom rules
Norton
Norton Family
Starts at
$49.99
/yr
  • Pros
    Customized supervision
  • Pros
    50-device maximum
  • Pros
    30-day trial period
Cathy Habas
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
June 02, 2022

Norton Family is a parental control app that lets you block content, give warnings, supervise activity, or offer complete online and screen-time freedom. No other parental control app provides this much customization, making Norton Family perfect for weaning kids off parental controls as they age or simply setting up different rules for different age groups.

That said, Norton Family is best for parents and kids who already have an open dialogue about internet safety, since the dashboard is more for guiding your conversations than instituting a total device lockdown. It lacks the social media monitoring and app management of more comprehensive parental control software like Bark.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Excellent parent reports
Pro Bullet Safe search
Pro Bullet Web blocker
Pro Bullet Location tracking and geofencing
Pro Bullet Remote time out
Pro Bullet Screen time management
Pro Bullet Uninstall protection
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Poor app management
Con Bullet Poor social media monitoring

Norton Family pricing and plans

You can buy Norton Family by itself for around $50 per year, or you can bundle it with Norton Antivirus and LifeLock identity theft protection. It may be worth paying extra for the bundles’ webcam hacking protection and social media takeover monitoring, since these features also improve online safety for kids.

We’ve highlighted the package differences in the table below.

Plans
Price
PC SafeCam
Social media takeover monitoring
Learn more
Norton Family
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Norton 360 Deluxe
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Norton 360 with LifeLock Select
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Norton Family makes it easy to supervise your child’s online activity

We love that Norton Family lets you choose different levels of control. You might choose a high level of control for a younger child but let your teenager have more freedom. Each child has their own profile and custom rules.

Website restrictions

For example, there are three ways you can handle problematic websites:

  1. Block: Your child can’t access the site at all.
  2. Warn: Your child is warned that the site is inappropriate but can choose to view the site anyway.
  3. Supervise: Your child can access the site without warning.

In all three situations, you get a report on their activity so that you can have a follow-up discussion about what they’re viewing (or trying to view) and why.

Norton Family provides 48 website categories that you can choose to block outright. But if there’s a site that slipped through the cracks, you can add it to the Restricted Websites list.

On the flip side, you can also add websites to the Allowed list if they’d otherwise fall under a blocked category.

Finally, if you decide you don’t want to supervise web activity at all, you can toggle off this feature.

Time limits

Under the parental dashboard’s Time tab, you can set up time limits that vary based on different factors:

  • Type of device (such as phone or PC)
  • Day of the week
  • Time of day
  • Total hours of use per day

For example, you might let your child have access to their phone between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. You could also restrict them to just two hours of phone usage during that time period.

If there are extenuating circumstances and you want to give your child access to their phone outside the usual time limits, you can enter a PIN to unlock it. You can also create a list of emergency contacts that your child can contact at any time.

As with website blocking, you also have the option to just supervise your child’s screen time through the activity report tab. Or, you can turn off this monitoring option altogether.

Mobile app

Under this tab, Norton Family shows a list of all the mobile apps on your child’s Android phone. (There’s no app management option for iOS phones.)

You can block any inappropriate or dangerous apps as you see fit. Or, switch to the Activities tab to see which apps your child uses the most.

Other parental control apps require parents to approve app downloads before kids can use them on their phones, so this feature seems too lax on Norton Family. Keep a close eye on the Activities tab to look for new apps. Learn more in our guide to dangerous apps for kids.

Safe search

View a list of everything your child has typed into Google, YouTube, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask under the Search Activities tab. You can also automatically turn on these search engines’ built-in child filters with one click.

There’s no way to get an alert if your child enters a specific keyword, so be sure to check the activity list on a regular basis.

Video supervision

The video tab shows a list of every video your child has watched on YouTube. Aside from activating YouTube’s built-in Safe Search, there isn’t much you can do to block content or channels on YouTube.

Location history and geofencing

Norton Family lets you set up a few location alerts for GPS-enabled mobile devices:

  • Location updates sent at the same time each day
  • Updates sent whenever your child enters or leaves a pre-determined “Favorite Location”

On the parent dashboard, you can view location history on a satellite map.

Thumbs Up
Unique feature: Access request

We like that Norton Family allows kids to advocate for themselves within the app. They can send parents an “access request” if they feel like a blocked website is worth visiting.

What’s missing from Norton Family

Norton Family isn’t the perfect parental control app. Here are a few glaring oversights:

  • You can only block an app after your child downloads it to their phone.
  • There’s no way to monitor emails, texts, or social media messages.
  • Parents don’t get text alerts or push notifications—just emails.

Norton Family vs. other parental control software

Norton Family’s reporting dashboard is very similar to Qustodio’s, but Qustodio gets our vote over Norton Family because it monitors social media, calls, and texts, for only about $5 more per year. 

And if you’re looking for email monitoring, Bark’s still the only way to go.

Norton Family’s 30-day trial period is one of the longest in the parental control industry and far more generous than any of our top picks, which range from 3 days (Qustodio and Family Time) to 14 days (Boomerang).

Norton Family also stands out from the crowd because you can monitor up to 50 child devices. But that’s nothing compared to Bark, which has no device limits whatsoever. 

Compare Norton Family to other parental controls

Parental control
Best for
Starts at
Free version available
Maximum number of devices
Trial period
Learn more
Read review
Best custom rules
Icon No  LightNo
5030 days
Best overall
Icon No  LightNo
Unlimited7 days
Best for younger kids
Icon No  LightNo
1014 days
Best for iOS families
Icon Yes  LightYes
53 days
Best reporting dashboard
Icon Yes  LightYes
153 days

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Final word

If you’re interested in supervising your kid’s internet activity but don’t feel a need to read every message they send or receive, then Norton Family puts some great tools at your fingertips. It’s especially easy to lift limitations as your kid starts to show more maturity or to set up different rules for siblings.

How we reviewed Norton Family

For our Norton Family review, we read through support articles, watched walkthrough videos, and read user reviews to understand its features and performance. We used our knowledge of other parental control software to gauge its place in the industry and to decide if it’s worth the money. Learn more on the Safewise methodology page.

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over seven years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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