Qustodio vs. Bark: Which Parental Control App is Better?

We tested Bark and Qustodio to experience their differences first-hand. We like Bark better for teens.
Best for older kids
Bark
Bark
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$5.99
/mo
  • pro
    Screens messages on 24+ platforms
  • con
    No contact management
  • con
    No call logs
Best for younger kids
Qustodio
Qustodio
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$0.00
/mo
  • con
    Limited social message monitoring
  • pro
    Contact management
  • pro
    Call logs

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

Bark and Qustodio are two popular parental control apps with different approaches to online safety for kids. Bark alerts parents only to concerning messages and web search history while keeping benign messages private. Qustodio prefers the lock-down approach and lets parents see full browsing and text history.

While your choice ultimately depends on your parenting style and individual concerns, we highly recommend Bark.

From what we’ve gathered, kids appreciate the privacy aspect of Bark while parents love the strength of its content filters and the immediacy of its alerts. And no other parental control comes close to screening as many messaging platforms as Bark.



Bark pros and cons

pro
Bark pros
pro Social media monitoring
pro Email monitoring
pro 3 alert settings for parents
pro Unlimited devices
con
Bark cons
con May not provide enough control
con No full web or text history
con No 24/7 location tracking

Bark is best for teens

Bark’s unique parental control philosophy emphasizes child privacy—even from well-meaning parents. You’ll only get to read their texts or see their browsing history if Bark detects a problem. Even their location isn’t shared without their permission.

Because there’s less opportunity for parents to guide their children’s device usage, we think Bark works best for teens.

Read our Bark review to learn more.

Qustodio pros and cons

pro
Qustodio pros
pro Full text and web history
pro Regular location updates
pro Controlled contact list
pro Excellent screen time management
con
Qustodio cons
con No social media monitoring
con No email monitoring
con Limited number of devices

Qustodio is best for younger kids

Qustodio gives parents more control over who their kids can call or text and how much time they spend on their devices. There’s no social media message monitoring, though, so Qustodio is better for kids who don’t have social accounts.

Read our Qustodio review to learn more.

How Bark and Qustodio compare

Company
Best for
Lowest monitoring price
Trial period
Location updates
Device time limits
Learn more
Read review
Best for older kids7 daysWith child’s permissionSchedules only
Best for younger kidsNoneWhen new location’s detectedSchedules and total time limits

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

Video: Bark app review

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Bark vs. Qustodio similarities

Bark and Qustodio don’t have much in common with each other—aside from a desire to protect your child from cyberbullying and inappropriate online content.

Here’s what you can expect from both:

  • Geofencing
  • Web filtering
  • Some degree of text monitoring
  • App installation management
  • Remote internet shutdown
  • Uninstall protection (password protected)
  • App- and web-based parent dashboards
  • Email alerts for parents
  • App and screen time usage reports

Bark vs. Qustodio differences

Bark and Qustodio have quite a few differences. As you’ll see in the chart below, Bark typically offers what Qustodio doesn’t, and vice versa.

BarkQustodio
Icon Yes  LightEmail monitoring
Icon No  LightNo email monitoring
Icon Yes  LightSocial media monitoring
Icon No  LightLimited social media monitoring
Icon Yes  LightConcerning text content only
Icon Yes  LightFull content of all text messages
Icon No  LightNo total time limits
Icon Yes  LightTotal time limits
Icon No  LightNo contact management
Icon Yes  LightContact management
Icon No  LightNo call log history
Icon Yes  LightCall log history
Icon Yes  LightText and push alerts for parents
Icon No  LightNo text or push alerts for parents
Icon Yes  LightConcerning website history only
Icon Yes  LightFull website history

In our experience, Bark’s features seem to work well for teens, whereas Qustodio works well for younger kids.

Don’t forget to check our full list of best parental control apps if neither of these options seems right for you.

There’s one major difference between Bark and Qustodio that requires a bit of an explanation: location tracking.

Best for location tracking: Qustodio

Unlike most other parental control apps, Bark emphasizes the child’s right to privacy. That goes for location updates too—parents can ask kids to send a location update through Bark, but the child is free to ignore it.

If you want to see where your child is no matter what, Qustodio is the better option, but you’ll have to pay for a premium plan to use this feature. Qustodio shows your child’s current location on a map and saves their location history for 30 days.

Instead of logging location updates at regular time intervals, Qustodio updates your child’s location whenever a new location is detected. This helps preserve their phone’s battery life.

Compare Bark vs. Qustodio plans

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

Qustodio is one of a handful of parental control apps to offer a functional free version. Most, including Bark, offer a free trial but not a free version. Still, we recommend investing in a paid Qustodio package to access all features—including text message monitoring.

Winner: We prefer Bark vs. Qustodio

These are both effective parental control apps. In our experience, Bark prevails over every competitor—but it may not be right for you and your child. That’s where software like Qustodio comes in and emphasizes the “control” aspect.

  • Bark: With an effective content filter and unparalleled message monitoring, Bark protects kids of all ages.
  • Qustodio: Because it shows full activity logs and gives you more shut-down tools, Qustodio is the better choice if you want to take a hands-on approach to digital safety.

Still undecided? Read our full Bark review or Qustodio review.

How we decided: Bark vs. Qustodio

Image: SafeWise

We compared Bark and Qustodio by testing them both and comparing them across 20 specifications and features. We also read online reviews (including those written by kids) for each parental control app to understand what real users like and dislike. Learn more about how we review products by visiting our 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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