Most youngsters as of late use telephones and/or tablets, so that you want parental control software that may monitor your kid’s net shopping historical past, gadget utilization, and site. Boomerang supplies all of that performance and extra, however since it’s a mobile-only resolution, it’s good to look elsewhere to guard your Macs and PCs. Aside from the fundamentals, Boomerang additionally enables you to assemble geofences, monitor YouTube app exercise, and arrange always-allowed actions for emergencies. Though the online interface is dated and it would not observe social media exercise, it might nonetheless be a strong selection when you solely intend to observe cellular gadgets. Nonetheless, when you want a single parental management software program that covers all of your various gadgets through a single subscription, take into account our Editors’ Selection picks Qustodio or Norton Household as a substitute.

Pricing and Platform

As talked about, Boomerang affords apps for each Android and iOS gadgets, although, like most different parental management apps, Apple’s insurance policies restrict a few of its capabilities. That stated, Boomerang is at the moment free for any iOS gadget, which ought to assist customers overlook these limitations. Android customers, alternatively, get extra, however should pay $12 per 12 months for every gadget protected. That is costly. Kaspersky Safe Kids is $14.99 per 12 months for limitless baby profiles and gadgets, and it covers PCs and Macs. Qustodio prices much less per gadget at $54.95 per 12 months for five gadgets and covers all the key desktop and cellular platforms. If you wish to take a look at Boomerang before you purchase it, it affords a 14-day trial.

I did most of my testing of Boomerang on a Nexus 5X and a Google Pixel, each initially operating Android 8.0. I up to date to Android eight.1 through the course of my evaluation, however this did not break any performance. I additionally examined Boomerang on an iPhone eight operating iOS Though not many different providers supply assist for Amazon Hearth tablets, gadget assist for Amazon’s low cost and kid-friendly gadget lineup can be a welcome addition. Competitor Qustodio is on the market through the Amazon’s Appstore.

Getting Began

Establishing Boomerang is useless easy. Simply obtain the app and choose whether or not you wish to designate it as a toddler or mum or dad gadget. As with different parental management providers, it’s good to give the app a complete host of permissions in addition to administrator entry for it to work correctly. Towards the tip of the set up course of, it additionally prompts you to put in Boomerang’s SPIN browser (get it?), which you want for the online filtering to work correctly.

You may arrange restrictions and gadget guidelines from both the online interface or from the cellular app itself. A number of guidelines may be set on the internet, however not within the cellular app, and vice versa. That is a bit annoying, however you possibly can management the key options from both one. You simply want to verify to put in Boomerang on each gadget you wish to monitor. It is also good to disable the Android’s customary visitor account since Boomerang’s insurance policies don’t apply to that profile.

Internet Interface

Boomerang’s net interface is dated and cluttered, with wasted house up close to the header part and quite a lot of padding round every factor. The colour scheme is not cohesive, both; some parts use vibrant hues of purple, pink, and lightweight blue, whereas others depend on boring shades of grey, inexperienced, and darkish blue.

Boomerang (Devices)

The center console is split into 4 totally different tabs, Account, Units, Dictionaries, and Geofences. The left-rail menu adjustments with every tab and provides administration performance. The Units tab breaks down into 11 totally different subcategories, together with Purposes, Looking, Calls, Occasions, and Display Time (extra element on these later). There is not any specific order to the listings, however that is the place you management almost each setting on your gadget. A left-hand menu lists the entire gadgets linked to the account.

Every itemizing consists of an icon for the gadget kind and its sync standing. Sadly, you possibly can’t manage or group gadgets collectively in any approach to make them simpler to handle. In different phrases, Boomerang is without doubt one of the few parental management providers that doesn’t allow you to manage gadgets underneath a top-level baby profile. There is not any straightforward approach to apply insurance policies throughout a toddler’s complete assortment of gadgets. You may export after which import the identical profile repeatedly, however that is a trouble, particularly if it’s good to make any adjustments. Clicking the instruments icon enables you to rename or delete the chosen gadget, find it, ship it a message, or reset the gadget password.

The Geofences tab enables you to arrange location boundaries on your baby and the Dictionaries part is the place you create a database of phrases that your baby will not be permitted to make use of. This lists all of the phrases in plain language, so in case your baby occurs to look over your shoulder when you are making edits, their vocabulary might turn out to be fairly colourful. In any case, no matter how thorough an inventory you create, I feel it underestimates a toddler’s capacity to provide you with creative workarounds. The final tab, Account, lets you set the frequency of stories and handle the gadgets in your loved ones.

You can too entry the FAQ part from the header. There is not any search bar, so you’ll have to dig into this part to search out all the pieces you need. That stated, I like its simple explanations, use of screenshots, and single-page structure.

Boomerang (Family Devices)

App Design

Boomerang lately overhauled its iOS app, however the Android model remains to be caught on the outdated design on the time of this evaluation. Nonetheless, Boomerang did ship us some screenshots of the upcoming Android app, which adopts a card-style interface and a extra compact dashboard. I’ll replace this evaluation when the brand new design rolls out.

At the moment, you possibly can handle restrictions similar to app utilization and display screen time or you possibly can view stories for every monitored gadget. One minor criticism is that the online and YouTube historical past sections do not present useful hyperlinks. The app affords nearly all the pieces you’ll find on the internet console, apart from the geofencing choices. Alternatively, it’s good to set up the cellular app earlier than you possibly can obtain app entry requests or use the total capabilities of the Household Messaging characteristic. Hopefully, Boomerang standardizes the characteristic set and design throughout all of the cellular and net interfaces.

Internet Filtering

One of many major causes to make use of a parental management app is to stop your baby from visiting inappropriate web sites. Boomerang requires that you just set up its Mozilla-based SPIN browser to take action. To completely allow this performance, it’s good to choose the Handle Looking possibility on this part and choose the Block Browsers possibility within the Purposes space. The browser works nicely, opening net pages reasonably rapidly and supporting favorites and tabs. Nonetheless, I want the monitoring characteristic was browser impartial, since some customers might choose different browsers. For comparability, ESET, Qustodio, and Google Household are all browser impartial on Android.

From the online or cellular app, you possibly can view as much as a month of your kid’s shopping historical past and even export that information to a spreadsheet. By default, Boomerang blocks 21 classes of web sites, similar to Playing, Unlawful, Pornography, and Violence. There are an extra 23 classes that you may add to the filter checklist, together with Cult and Occult, Relationship, Private Storage, and Social Networking. These will not be listed alphabetically, so it may be annoying to discover a particular class. After all, you may as well preserve your individual checklist of domains to dam or permit.

Boomerang (Web Filtering)

I confirmed that I couldn’t open another browsers on my gadget nor entry one through one other app. Every time, it redirected me to open the SPIN browser. The Anonymizer class efficiently prevented me from accessing Proxy websites, whereas content material filtering labored as marketed with HTTPS net pages. In the event you do not examine the Anonymizer class, your baby can in truth entry blocked websites and classes at will by way of an internet proxy.

Once you attempt to entry a blocked website, a pop-up reveals why a web page was blocked, however there is no possibility for a kid to ship an internet site entry request to a mum or dad. The net shopping historical past additionally appeared precisely, although blocked web sites seem in a separate timeline. I want it had higher group choices as a substitute of simply compiling all the pieces into a protracted checklist.

Utility Management

Boomerang, like different parental management apps for Android, can handle or block software utilization. The net console in Kaspersky Protected Youngsters solely reveals ones which were launched, whereas with Mobicip, you possibly can solely handle this software entry from the gadget itself. There are two sections within the Purposes part, Administration and Utilization. Beneath software administration, Boomerang populates an inventory of each put in and system functions.

You may select to arrange a utilization schedule for the app both by permitting or prohibiting its use throughout a sure vary of time or on a particular day of the week. Each ESET and Kaspersky supply comparable performance. I want it had an choice to arrange the schedules on particular person days, as mother and father would presumably permit extra time for video games or social apps on the weekend. Alternatively, you possibly can simply block the app altogether by hitting the purple X icon.

To the appropriate, Boomerang lists the highest blocked apps throughout just a few totally different classes, together with Messaging, Social Media, and Different. That is complicated, since there could also be apps on these default lists that aren’t even put in on the kid’s gadget. A significantly better approach to manage this is able to be to separate the put in functions checklist into these classes. There’s additionally an choice to quarantine any new apps till you’ve gotten particularly permitted them. ESET and Google Family also can block new apps by default, although Web Nanny and Mobicip take it one step additional by letting you block entry to the Google Play Retailer completely.

The Utility Utilization part makes it straightforward to view which apps your baby makes use of and for a way a lot time. Boomerang also can preserve observe of the movies your baby watches on the YouTube app. Including the power to dam sure channels or content material classes can be a helpful addition, right here. The service doesn’t report social media exercise. As a substitute, it simply tracks how a lot time your children spend utilizing the apps.

Boomerang (Always Allowed)

The All the time Allowed tab enables you to specify sure actions and apps that don’t depend in the direction of a toddler’s allotted display screen time and will not be affected by screen-time limits. There are three motion sorts right here that may be configured: Make a Name, Open URL, and Run Utility. I like that these permit a toddler to remain related with their mum or dad in case of an emergency. Whereas most of the rivals permit making calls even when time is up, this app provides mother and father extra freedom to set what’s allowed.

Display Time

The Display Time tab enables you to set a complete time allocation for every day of the week and a utilization schedule for every day. All it’s good to do is click on and drag throughout the timetable to pick out a block of time. The shortage of kid profiles is an issue right here, as nicely. To illustrate, for instance, that your baby has three gadgets and also you wish to restrict display screen utilization time to a complete of 1 hour. You would wish to set every one to have a restrict of 20 minutes in order that your baby can not benefit from duplicate time allotments. Additional, for example your baby breaks a type of gadgets. Then, you need to return in and set every one to 30 minutes and reapply the profile to the opposite gadget. It is needlessly sophisticated. We a lot choose the best way Qustodio and works, in that utilization limits can apply throughout all of a kid’s gadgets.

Boomerang features a Time-Out possibility for each Android and iOS gadgets that allows you to immediately block gadget entry for an indefinite period of time. Surprisingly, you possibly can’t do the identical from the web site, which is a limitation.

Place and Geofencing

For the uninitiated, a geofence is a digital boundary round a bodily location. Within the context of parental management, it could actually make it easier to preserve tabs in your kid’s location. For instance, if that your baby must be in class from eight a.m. to three p.m., and out of the blue they depart the college boundaries an hour early, you might wish to examine in to their whereabouts. Boomerang makes this straightforward.

To arrange a geofence, merely give it a reputation, kind an handle, and draw a boundary across the location on the map. This implementation is intuitive and affords higher ranges of management over the method than most rivals. From the Place part underneath the Units part, you possibly can set how ceaselessly you need it to gather location info. In case your baby is in violation of the geofence boundaries, you get a notification. In any other case, it simply retains a operating historical past of the gadget’s reported location for the final 30 days. At any time, you possibly can view your kid’s present location on the map as nicely, simply by clicking the Replace button on the right-hand facet of the display screen.

Locategy affords comparable location monitoring options, together with geofencing. It goes one step additional by mapping out each motion on an interactive timeline. Be aware, although, that Locategy doesn’t can help you outline free-form boundaries. As a substitute, it creates a 150-meter area round any chosen location.

Boomerang (Geofences)

I examined Boomerang’s geofencing characteristic by establishing a boundary round my workplace. Once I left for residence, it reported that I used to be outdoors its vary, and continued to take action each 30 minutes till I arrived again at work the subsequent day. This may rapidly generate a ton of undesirable notifications, so be certain that to set your notification preferences fastidiously.

Monitoring Calls and Texts

Boomerang enables you to monitor name and SMS historical past on Android telephones. You may accumulate SMS content material for as much as the final 30 days, information you possibly can export to a CSV. The app also can ship out a notification when an unknown quantity or blacklisted contact texts your baby, or in case your baby makes use of a forbidden phrase. Be aware that Boomerang doesn’t report the content material of MMS messages, however it does log the exercise.

The Name Monitoring part works in a lot the identical approach, logging each incoming and outgoing name to an analogous checklist. Additional, Boomerang enables you to limit all calls to present contacts, block particular person numbers, or permit calls to only some specified numbers. Norton Family Parental Control and Qustodio additionally supply the power to observe and block calls.

Extras, Occasions, and Settings

Boomerang’s safe household messaging lets relations talk with one another throughout the app. As beforehand talked about, you possibly can ship out normal messages through the online, however conversations are solely doable between cellular gadgets.

The occasions tab lists main gadget exercise, similar to geofence violations and adjustments to the app on the gadget. Within the settings, you possibly can choose out of each day e mail stories, set it to require a password for uninstallation (one thing each mum or dad ought to do) and even forestall your baby from making adjustments to the gadget’s date and time or system settings on Android.

Boomerang on iPhone

As talked about earlier, Apple’s iOS is extra locked down than Android, so not all of Boomerang’s options can be found on the platform. A lot of the app’s main capabilities are supported, nevertheless, together with secure net shopping, location monitoring, and the Household Messenger. Different talents are solely partially useful. For instance, you possibly can’t allocate a complete display screen time for the gadget or all the time permit particular apps, however you possibly can lock a toddler’s cellphone from the parental gadget. Equally, per-app scheduling and blocking don’t work, however you possibly can block apps, strikes, and books based mostly on age scores. Boomerang additionally enables you to prohibit in-app purchases and conceal the App and/or iTunes Retailer throughout setup. In the event you head over to the online dashboard, you possibly can block entry to Safari, the digicam app, and Facetime, or prohibit multiplayer GameCenter options.

Different options don’t work in any respect, together with name logging and blocking, in addition to textual content logging. It additionally doesn’t allow you to block entry to the gadget settings and doesn’t present app utilization information in stories. All these limitations apart, I had no points signing in to Boomerang on my take a look at gadget. Needless to say setup does require you to obtain and set up the Boomerang Parental Management Machine Profile for some options to work.

Retaining Management

Most youngsters stay by their cellular gadgets, and Boomerang supplies some methods to control their conduct. Its high options embody efficient app blocking, location monitoring, and scheduling capabilities. Nonetheless, the per-device subscription mannequin and lack of assist for PCs and Macs are vital shortcomings. Additional, it doesn’t monitor social media exercise and its net content material filtering will not be browser-independent. In the event you can overlook these flaws and solely plan to observe just a few cellular gadgets, Boomerang is likely to be a worthwhile selection. In any other case, take into account Editors’ Selection picks Qustodio or Norton Household Parental Management as a substitute.

For monitoring your kid’s exercise on the desktop, take a look at our roundup of the best parental control software.