Parenting Apps

Child Using iPhone

Our list of the best screen time management apps is based on reviews from NYT's Wirecutter, The Washington Post Technology page,, PCMag and more.

We've selected some of our favorites to share with you and organized them by the features they offer and their price.


Free Parental Controls: 

Apple Screen Time

  • Built into iOS 12; free to use
  • Set limits on overall screen time
  • Set limits on specific apps  
  • Set “downtimes”
  • Can be overrode with a password

KEEP IN MIND: Kids are finding ways around these limits through factory resets, changing the time zone on their device, etc. This Washington Post article explains some of the loopholes kids take advantage of and what to do about them.

Google Family Link

  • Best for kids under age 13
  • Completely free
  • Works in homes where children have Androids and parents have iPhones
  • Ability to track location
  • Block device use at bedtime
  • Provides reports on child's use
  • Provides a list of teacher-recommended apps
  • Ability to lock device any time

KEEP IN MIND: Parents can't set time limits on individual apps and kids can choose to disable parental controls when they turn 13.

For Setting Specific / Stricter Limits:

  • Lowest tier subscription covers up to five devices, from smartphones to computers
  • Monitor texts and emails
  • Shut off access to device
  • Offers detailed breakdowns of child's device use
  • Parents can see any and all activity on child's device
  • Blocks content and alerts parents to child's web searches

KEEP IN MIND: Qustodio does not block your child from downloading new apps on their device, though it will alert you to which apps they've installed.


  • Screens social media, texts and emails
  • Only lets parents see concerning text messages
  • Has different sensitivity settings: strict, moderate and relaxed
  • Website Blocking
  • Location Sharing
  • Free Monitoring for Schools

KEEP IN MIND: iOS setup is a bit complicated and takes some time. Bark's strict setting can be hypersensitive and will sometimes alert parents to harmless online activity.

Screen Time Parental Control

  • Available for iPhone and Android
  • Set bedtime and school time restrictions for specific apps
  • Pause a device
  • Block all apps at lights out
  • Block specific apps
  • Web monitoring
  • Give rewards for more screen time after task completion

KEEP IN MIND: No location tracking or web filtering.


  • Connects with your Wi-Fi router to manage every device on your home network and manage mobile devices everywhere
  • Customize settings for each
  • Block content, set content filters and time limits on apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Fortnite, Netflix and more
  • Pause the Internet at the press of a button
  • Find balance by setting recurring Off Times and Bedtimes schedule for your kids’ devices
  • Give Rewards for more screen time and relaxed restrictions
  • Check activity by looking through usage and even track the location of your family’s mobile devices

KEEP IN MIND: Difficult set up. Does not monitor texts or phone calls and does not show parents child's search history on Google or YouTube.

For More General / Moderate Screen Time Limits: 


  • Available for iPhone and Android
  • The control phone can block other phones for any period of time and unblock at any time
  • Set a recurring use schedule on each device
  • Block specific apps
  • Three tiers of membership

KEEP IN MIND: Does not offer great customer service and is nonrefundable.


  • Set limits on screen time
  • Set a recurring use schedule on each device
  • Set content filters
  • Block apps and internet usage

KEEP IN MIND: It's easy to bypass desktop restrictions. Not great for iPhone users.


  • Available for iPhone and Android
  • Geofence locations
  • Track device locations
  • Get usage reports
  • Set recurring device schedule
  • Block adult content

KEEP IN MIND: No social media or email monitoring. Can't track calls or texts on Apple devices.


Driving Focus

  • Built into iOS 15 but can be installed on earlier versions; free to use
  • Notifications will be silenced or limited while driving
  • Siri can read text replies to driver
  • Can set up Auto-Replies to anyone who tries to contact you while Driving Focus is on


  • Has an app for Android
  • They develop tech products that are meant to make driving safer


A Fun Way to Tweak Summer Screen Time