Parents who want optimal protection and peace of mind, look no further than this top parental control software.However, the internet is not a place one can always count on to keep things age appropriate.

Kids are spending an increasing amount of time online, just take a look at Gen Z. However, the internet is not a place one can always count on to keep things age appropriate.

Thankfully, there are a number of parental control software programs to help make the web a safer place for the youngest of eyes. Options for free parental control software are varied, but one of them is sure to suit your needs.

Optimal Compatibility
Many find it ideal to have parental control software that can be easily used on any device. The following programs are not only free, but also available on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

Qustodio‘s parental control software is also available on Kindle and Nook. Its free version allows you to set the rules, time schedules, and blocks adult content.

There is a paid version geared towards older children that monitors SMS messaging, social media activity, and per-app controls. This all encompassing software covers its bases, making it easy to see why it is one of the most preferred programs.

K9 Web Protection
K9 Web Protection‘s parental control software offers what Digital Trends referred to as phenomenal cloud-based filtering. It allows users to block websites by category, and keeps activity reports. Users can set time schedules and override settings with parental passwords when necessary.  

OpenDNS Family Shield
For parents looking to protect their entire household from unwanted material, Family Shield offers optimal filtering. This parental control software from OpenDNS automatically blocks flagged domains.

Additionally, this software stands out because it can be applied to your router—it filters all traffic that passes through—simply by changing the DNS server numbers found in your control panel. By doing so, every device that connects to your network will benefit from the filters.

Kidlogger and Spyrix Free Keylogger
Those wanting to be more covert can look to keylogging programs such as Kidlogger and Spyrix Free Keylogger. Though both are considered parental control software, they’re mainly a way to monitor your children after the fact through the tracking of keystrokes, web history, and program use. The phone app version also logs phones calls by number and contact name.

These programs are not be ideal for younger children, but are better suited for parents of teens who want to prevent online bullying or other undesired activity.Options for free parental control software are varied, but one of them is sure to suit your needs. Working With What You’ve Got
Computer systems are not a bad place to start your search for basic parental control software. They provide a convenient and seamless source for restricting and monitoring internet features.

Windows Family Safety
Windows 10 requires that you open an account with their Family Safety feature if you wish to access their free parental control software. Features include activity reports, and the ability to block any sites, apps, or games. The software also allows parents to customize the time scheduling and control the child’s purchasing activity.

Add to that while tracking your child’s physical location as they use Windows mobile devices and you have an extremely versatile parental control software built into your Windows OS system.

MacOS doesn’t have specific parental control software, but it offers more than a few options for parental controls, all of which can be accessed under the Parental Controls pane in System Preferences. These include blocking applications and websites, customizing who your child can message with, and setting time limits.

This system also has the helpful ability to hide profanity in most content, prohibit the computer’s built-in camera, and halt any disc-burning. Users can remotely manage parental controls for multiple Macs on a single network, too.

Looking to Browsers
It isn’t all that far-fetched an idea that browsers can seamlessly incorporate parental control software. This option works best for younger users, as older kids and teens can easily navigate around it.

Zoodles is a kid-friendly web browser essentially keeps the security features within the browser, making it easy for parents to avoid when they are the ones surfing the web.

The browser serves as a walled garden: all of its content is kid-friendly with zero risk of anything inappropriate popping up. By combining filtered browsing and a dedicated web browser, Zoodles is designed to appeal to younger children.

FoxFilter affords users blocking capabilities based on individual keywords and sites while being able to add trusted sites. The software’s sensitivity can be tweaked to scan body content as well as the title and URL.

This add-on can get tricky as it heavily relies on keywords—if one uses too many they may find themselves blocked from most of the internet. However, there is free email support offered for this add-on to help new users learn their way around it. Available on both Google Chrome and Firefox.

LeechBlock for Firefox and Nanny for Google Chrome
Productivity control can be a highly valued feature not only for the children but for the adults too and these extensions are the solution in such cases.

LeechBlock for Firefox and Nanny for Google Chrome both block particular sites at specific times of the day. For example, Facebook is typically blocked from noon to 6 p.m.. Additionally, these extensions let parents limit the amount of time their children can access a certain website without having to block the domain entirely.

As technology becomes more incorporated into children’s daily lives, the need for parental control software will only continue to grow. This software is quickly becoming more user-friendly as they develop better means to help parents protect their children from the dark side of the internet.