There’s a variety of conduct amongst parental control and monitoring applications. Some set up in stealth mode and principally spy in your youngsters, which is downright creepy. Symantec Norton Household Premier, however, encourages mother and father to have interaction with their kids and make them conscious of precisely what guidelines are in place. Norton’s service affords supervision throughout a vast variety of gadgets and allows you to monitor your whole youngsters’ exercise from both its revamped net portal or a standalone companion app. It may possibly’t monitor Macs and has some browser- and encryption-based limitations, however its simple setup and vast vary of capabilities make it a stable alternative.

Pricing and Platforms

Pricing tiers range extensively on this subject, however Norton’s plan is fairly easy. To begin, there is a free model providing the fundamentals, equivalent to monitoring your kid’s net searches, limiting net content material, and defending private data. Paying $49.99 per yr will get you the Norton Household Premier subscription, which incorporates every little thing within the free model, in addition to some superior capabilities, equivalent to setting time restrictions on system utilization and monitoring your kid’s location. This model additionally retains 30 days of exercise historical past, versus the free model’s seven days, and it additionally provides the flexibility to immediately lock a tool.

There are not any limitations on the variety of kids or gadgets you’ll be able to add to an account, which is good for the always-connected era and for notably giant households. It is an indisputably whole lot when thought of alongside its opponents. By comparability, a one-device license for Net Nanny runs $39.99 per yr, whereas a $79.99 annual subscription will get you a ten-license Household Safety Go. Qustodio prices $54.95 per yr to be used on as much as 5 gadgets.

Like ContentWatch Internet Nanny and Qustodio, Norton primarily handles configuration and reporting through an internet console. A neighborhood agent app on every system merely serves to implement the principles and monitor exercise. You may set up that app to trace and management exercise on Home windows, Android, and iOS gadgets, although Macs are past its energy. That stated, you’ll be able to nonetheless entry the online portal on a Mac to arrange parameters, view your kid’s exercise, and handle gadgets.

PCMag reviewed Norton Household for Android and iOS individually and located the Android app extra succesful. That is typically the case, given the truth that iOS is so tightly locked down. It’s value noting that we selected the Android variant of Norton Family Parental Control as an Editors’ Alternative decide for the class.

Getting Began

The very first thing you do with this service is to create a Norton Household account and register on-line. So as to add a baby, specify a reputation, gender, and delivery yr, and both choose an avatar or add a profile photograph. Norton units up the preliminary configuration primarily based on the delivery yr you specify, however you’ll be able to change it later. While you click on on any baby, you’ll be able to handle their assigned gadgets and customise the kind of notifications it sends.

Norton Family

You additionally must obtain the Norton Household agent on every Home windows, Android, or iOS system that your youngsters use. Simply log in to the console from the system itself and click on the Obtain Norton Household hyperlink—you may get the proper obtain on your system. Every time you put in the app on a cellular system, Norton asks which baby owns the system. For PCs, you join every baby profile to a particular Home windows account. To stop your baby from uninstalling these apps, Norton recommends that you simply not give these accounts administrative rights. It is also smart to take away any generic visitor accounts on these gadgets.

As talked about earlier, Norton emphasizes that folks ought to talk with their youngsters, as a substitute of simply trying to secretly monitor and management them. There isn’t a silent set up choice; in case you use Norton Household to observe your youngsters, they are going to be properly conscious of it. The configuration settings you make on-line get boiled right down to a set of home guidelines the children can simply perceive. The Norton cellular app and notification tray icon clarify the principles with such clear messages as, “Internet sites that I go to might be monitored” and “My time on the pc might be restricted.”

Internet Interface

Norton Household’s net interface advantages from a big redesign. All the weather are separated by ample white house and use giant tabs and icons. The trademark Norton yellow is used sparingly, whereas secondary colours seem constantly throughout different components. It is a huge enchancment over the previous, left-rail menu system. One annoying factor, nonetheless, is that the dashboard logs you out routinely after just a few minutes of inactivity, and there is no option to change that.

The primary web page has three tabs, Youngsters, Machine, and Mother and father. The default tab (Youngsters) reveals a listing of all of your baby profiles. If you happen to click on on a profile Actions and Home Guidelines tabs seem beneath it. The exercise part reveals an outline of every of the eight supervision classes: Internet, Time, Search, Social Community, Video, Location, Cellular App, and Textual content Message. Clicking on particular person tabs permits you to drill down for extra element. With the opposite tab, Home Guidelines, you customise the precise restrictions per system throughout every class.

Norton Family

The subsequent tab on high, Gadgets, permits you to handle your kids’s present gadgets or add new ones. You may filter the checklist to point out all gadgets or simply these assigned to specific kids, however there is no filter for age vary, which might be helpful for giant households. Every system has an acceptable icon and an editable identify so it is easy to differentiate them, which helps. For Home windows PCs, you’ll be able to specify which login accounts apply to which kids from this part.

The rightmost tab, Mother and father, is the place you’ll be able to edit your individual profile and add different administrative accounts. To ask a mum or dad, simply click on the Plus signal within the higher left. Take into account that anybody you add may have full entry to your account settings and all of every kid’s actions, so make sure you solely invite folks that you simply belief fully.

Internet Supervision

The central characteristic of most parental management methods is the content material filter, the element that retains youngsters from by chance (or intentionally) visiting inappropriate web sites. Norton’s content material filter affords nice customization choices.

To get began, click on Internet Supervision from the Home Guidelines tab. First, it’s essential choose what stage of supervision to allow, starting from Excessive (block the web site fully) to Reasonable (give a warning, however permit entry) and Low (monitor, however do not block something). Internet Nanny additionally permits you to select to warn as a substitute of blocking, nevertheless it permits you to configure that choice individually for every of its classes, whereas with Norton this setting applies throughout the board.

Beneath that, you’ll be able to handle entry to Norton’s 48 content material classes. You may block classes manually, or use preset collections primarily based on the kid’s age group. Hovering with the mouse over any class shows an explanatory tooltip, which is useful in case you resolve to pick out a customized set of web sites to dam. If these 48 classes do not provide sufficient customization for you, there are additionally devoted sections for blocking or permitting particular websites.

When Norton blocks entry to a website, it explains why. The kid can optionally ship mother and father a message requesting entry or click on a hyperlink to report that the location was categorized incorrectly. By default, you get an e-mail notification when your baby ignores a warning or tries to go to a blocked website. You may also view a log of net visits on the Exercise web page on-line. The checklist might be huge, so Norton permits you to restrict the show to questionable exercise, choose a particular class, or specify a time vary.

Clicking an merchandise within the checklist opens up a extremely detailed show that features a thumbnail of the web page, classes assigned to the location, and the variety of visits. From the detailed show, it’s also possible to select to dispute the categorization, whitelist the location for the kid’s entry, or permit entry to the whole class. It is rather more than a static report.

Superior net monitoring options on Home windows, equivalent to social networking, video, and net and search supervision for HTTPS websites requires an extension that’s at present solely accessible for Chrome, Firefox, and Web Explorer.

We examined Norton out in numerous browsers by making an attempt to entry Twitter, a website with HTTPS encryption. We did this after blocking the social media class within the Home Guidelines and setting supervision to the best stage. On Chrome, with the extension enabled, Norton blocked the location, reported the exercise and threw up a purple flag. On Opera and Microsoft Edge, it allowed us to entry the location with none warning. We even tried explicitly blocking Twitter however acquired the identical outcomes. Nevertheless, Norton did block entry to unencrypted websites, equivalent to CNN, on each Edge and Opera, once we blocked the related class or added it to the exception checklist.

We confirmed a number of occasions that even when the broad content material class is blocked otherwise you add a website to the Restricted Web site checklist, your baby can nonetheless use a not-supported browser to entry any HTTPS-encrypted websites. These are critical shortcomings and a baby can simply make the most of these workarounds.

Restrictions are utilized regionally on the system, so a baby can’t get round these blocks by utilizing a VPN, and it’ll additionally provide you with a warning in case your child makes an attempt to make use of an anonymizing net proxy, except your baby makes use of an unsupported browser. In order for you broader management, use OpenDNS Residence VIP or SafeDNS for whole-network filtering.

Time Supervision

Norton additionally helps mother and father handle when kids use their gadgets—if the time allowance is up or the schedule would not permit it, the system cannot be used. Internet Nanny limits the period of time a baby can spend on the web however doesn’t lock down the system. With Qustodio, mother and father can schedule system use, web use, and even restrict the time spent on particular applications. Time supervision works on Android and Home windows gadgets, nevertheless it is not accessible for iOS.

As with content material filtering, time supervision is routinely configured primarily based on the kid’s age. The preset age ranges do not have an effect on what number of hours a baby can use their system, however they do change the hours wherein it’s operable. If you wish to change the schedule or every day restrict, you may want to take action individually for every day of the week, in ether hour or half-hour increments. We choose the grid-style schedule utilized by many competing merchandise, as it is easy to dam out a time vary on daily of the week with a single mouse-drag.

Norton Family

You set deadlines and supervision ranges individually for every system. The Excessive supervision choice fully blocks the kid from utilizing the system, whereas Low simply continues to observe the exercise after the time restrict is reached. You may arrange a PIN as properly, for entry in case of emergency.

The time allowance in Internet Nanny covers all gadgets; a baby who runs out of web time on the iPad cannot simply change to the PC and preserve browsing. Qustodio swings each methods, letting you select between an general time allowance or per-device settings.

On the Time tab of the Exercise web page, mother and father can view a calendar that reveals how a lot time the kid used on every day. Every system is tracked individually. The web page additionally lists events when the kid ran out of time or used the system after a timeout warning.

Social Media Supervision

On Home windows gadgets and with supported browsers, Norton can monitor Fb exercise. In case your baby creates an account utilizing a false age, you get a notification. You additionally get notified any time the kid posts private information; extra about private information safety shortly. Alternatively, you’ll be able to simply block entry totally to different social media websites or disable the cellular app in query.

It is common for merchandise that monitor social media to require the set up of an app. Meaning the mum or dad wants the kid’s login credentials; it additionally means the kid can uninstall the app at any time. Qustodio takes a novel method—if the app is not enabled, it blocks entry to the location. Qustodio tracks all social exercise, together with posts, photos, and feedback, whatever the system used.

Norton merely watches the browser and notes when the kid is utilizing Fb. One downside with this method is that Fb’s frequent modifications can disable it till Symantec’s engineers push out a repair.

Further Supervision

Turning on Search Supervision tells Norton to power Secure Search on Google, Ask, YouTube, and Yahoo. If the children attempt to flip it off, Norton simply turns it proper again on. You may also see a listing of what youngsters are looking for within the Search tab on the Exercise web page. The location additionally claims to power allow it on Bing, however on the time of our assessment, it doesn’t lock down Secure Search.

Here is an unusual characteristic—Norton can monitor what movies your baby watches on YouTube or Hulu. On the Exercise web page’s Video tab you may see a listing of all of the movies your baby has watched. Every merchandise consists of the date and time of viewing together with the video’s class. Opening an merchandise will get you the total description, a thumbnail picture, and a hyperlink so you’ll be able to view the clip your self. Notice that the search and video supervision options are for Home windows and iOS, not Android. We want that this performance utilized to video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video as properly.

Norton Family

Youngsters might be too forthcoming on the subject of sharing private data. You may report your kid’s SSN, cellphone quantity, and e-mail deal with, together with one free-form subject for different private information. A baby who tries to share this data will get a warning that it isn’t allowed, and also you obtain an e-mail notification. Nevertheless, this characteristic cannot observe information despatched on safe (HTTPS) pages, so its usefulness is considerably restricted.

Norton not too long ago added an Instantaneous Lock characteristic. On Home windows and Android gadgets, this renders the system briefly unusable and locks down any exercise. On Android, your baby can nonetheless make calls to accepted contacts, however system apps will not launch. This characteristic is usable on iOS, nevertheless it first requires you to put in a tool profile. Even then, the profile itself might be uninstalled with out triggering any notification, as long as the system is offline.

Apps and Messaging

Youngsters nowadays are simply as probably to make use of a smartphone or pill as a clunky previous pc. Norton acknowledges that truth with quite a few options which might be particular to cellular gadgets. Take into account that many options usually are not accessible on iOS in any respect, as we have talked about.

On the App tab of the Home Guidelines web page, you’ll be able to see a listing of apps put in on a baby’s Android system. Merely test the field for any app you wish to block. The web page does level out that new apps will at all times be allowed till you block them. However a fast take a look at the App tab on the Exercise web page will reveal any new installations.

That is notably related on the subject of ensuring you’ll be able to observe your child’s cellular shopping habits. On both platform, you’ll be able to limit shopping to Norton’s personal net browser. The browser is okay; it masses pages shortly and helps normal options like tabs and bookmarks. Internet Nanny affords an identical form of Android app management, whereas Qustodio controls program utilization on Android, Home windows, and Mac OS. Qustodio additionally would not require you to make use of a proprietary browser on any platform, which is a significantly better system.

Norton may also monitor your kid’s SMS messages and contacts. Mother and father can view the kid’s cellular mates and assign both a monitored (messaging is allowed, however conversations are logged) or unmonitored (messaging is allowed and dialog logs usually are not recorded) standing. Take into account that for MMS messages, it doesn’t save the content material, however slightly simply the occasion of the exercise. You may also outright block a contact or set a rule to routinely monitor any new contacts. This perform is proscribed to SMS message varieties and would not apply to companies like WhatsApp, Sign, or Line, however you can simply block these different apps totally. Like app supervision, this characteristic is Android-only.


Along with holding your youngsters secure on-line, Norton may help you guarantee that your youngsters are at a secure location in the true world. On each Android and iOS system, Norton makes use of all the usual strategies of figuring out location, together with monitoring GPS and Wi-Fi use, in addition to by monitoring the SIM card. On the Exercise web page’s location tab, you’ll be able to view a map with pins for latest places, and a timeline that identifies when every pin was dropped. Clicking a pin will get an deal with and an accuracy estimate.

Norton Family

Take into account that the app doesn’t embrace geo-fencing performance, so you’ll be able to’t set it as much as provide you with a warning when your baby leaves sure geographical boundaries. It can also’t even routinely notify you when a baby’s location modifications, although it can refresh each 15 minutes.

Cellular App for Mother and father

Youngsters aren’t the one ones going cellular. In Dad or mum Mode, the Norton Household cellular app provides mother and father full management over Home Guidelines and an entire view of exercise stories. Once more although, this app is simply accessible for Android. Norton used to supply the Norton Family Parental Control app for iOS that allow you to management and monitor exercise, however now, its solely objective is for establishing a baby’s system.

Setting guidelines and viewing stories through the app is simply as simple as it’s on a PC. Largely something you’ll be able to see or do when logged in to Norton Household net portal, it’s also possible to see or do utilizing the cellular app. Simply make sure you change again to Little one Mode earlier than letting a child use the system!

A Good Alternative

Symantec Norton Household Premier affords a powerful vary of parental management and monitoring options for folks of in the present day’s hyper-connected youngsters. It is a wonderful app whose high options embrace the flexibility to trace a vast variety of gadgets, its intuitive interfaces, and general worth. Notably, nonetheless, it doesn’t assist Macs and isn’t absolutely browser-independent. If you happen to want extra flexibility, think about using both Qustodio or Internet Nanny, each of that are Editors’ Alternative picks, on your parental management wants.

If you happen to’re frightened about what your kids are doing on their cellular gadgets, take a look at the best parental control apps for your mobile devices.

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