As parents, we want to ensure the programs we recommend give other parents the best chance of keeping their kids safe from online predators and inappropriate content and people. We let our kids have their phones and watched what each app captured and recorded. After we got a good feel for how the programs work, we experimented with setting time limits, enabling internet filters and blocking apps. We knew when a program worked well because we would hear groans coming from all corners of our homes as our kids were locked out of games and chat apps or as they reached their daily time limits.
After evaluating how easy the apps are to install and set up, we used the child and parent portions to block websites and apps, set time controls, monitored text and chat conversations, and track the phones with GPS.
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Mobicip is by far the best program we used. Besides being easy to use, it monitors an impressive amount of information, plus its time controls both block internet access and let you lock the entire phone from being used. A similar message shows when they try to use their phone outside the time limits you set for them. Mobicip has preset filters for blocking webpages and content that fall under specific categories such as pornography, online gaming or violence.
It can also block individual apps — for example, it can prevent your child from accessing Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp and several other social media platforms. This lets you know exactly who they interact with and what they talk about.
The program has filter categories that let you block your child from visiting websites with inappropriate content, including pornography, online gaming and drugs. Further, you can choose to either shut down internet access or fully lock their cell phone once their time is up. On both computers and mobile devices, Qustodio monitors conversations your child has through chat apps and via text messages. This lets your child quickly alert you if they are scared, in danger or lost.
However, Qustodio is missing several monitoring features. Norton Family is really easy to use, and we were impressed with how well it blocks apps.
To block an app, you simply click on its icon on your end. After you do, your child will see a notice on their device if they try to use the app letting them know it is restricted. This cell phone monitoring program is also good at blocking content that falls under categories like pornography and drugs, and it alerts you when your child tries to view something inappropriate.
In addition, you can use Norton Family to set when and for how long your child can be online. When their time is up, you can choose for the program to either disable the internet or lockdown the entire device. During testing, we noticed devices with Norton Family installed ran much slower than when other monitoring apps were installed. And you can block content, gaming apps and instant messaging programs.
Surfie has a keyword and phrase alert, which is a great tool for stopping cyberbullies and other predators. This monitoring program includes time controls and provides very detailed reports about what your child does online. Reports include information about which websites your child visits, apps they use and words they search for as well as how long they spend in each application.
If you use the LetMeSpy software on a third-party phone, always inform about privacy restrictions. Collects records of incoming and outgoing phone call logs with phone number, date and time calls were made and length of calls. Every 20 minutes or less if there is no phone movement. Read all SMS text messages, See who your child called and who is calling them and how long they talked. Find out where your kids are.
They are:. With the emergence of more powerful utility apps that are now being used to spy on cell phones, I have altered my top picks to better reflect the latest technology. Here they are:. So, how do you sort through the junk? These programs are very powerful and will enable you to spy on a mobile device much like any government or private investigator might and should be used only for legal purposes. Highster Mobile is an SMS tracker and text message spy software that has been on the market for nearly 8 years.
It has helped literally hundreds of thousands of people to spy on cell phones and in particular, gather text messages from just about any mobile device on the market.
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A superior text message spy, Highster Mobile not only enables a user to retrieve new text messages from any cell phone, it will also extract old and deleted text messages as well. The astonishing thing is that you can do all this without actually having the phone in your possession. It is not uncommon for users to report the extraction of text messages from up to one-year-old. If you are spying on a an iPhone and you are either unwilling or unable to jailbreak it, Highster Mobile is for you! Their No-Jailbreak program is tops in the industry and, in my opinion, is by far the easiest to use and most powerful.
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I found that it captures more data, in less time, than any of the competing programs. Access to the monitored device is not necessary. Activation is pretty fast and fairly simple. I used the OTA over-the-air method to install the program, which allows for the app to be downloaded using only a WiFi connection. I entered my license key, then the telephone number of the phone I wanted see text messages from. I saw the content of each text, the date and time of the message and the phone number to which is was sent or received.
I was pleased to see that it worked so well. Any person who buys this program can actually call the number on the website and speak to a live person. The other is Auto Forward Spy. It also comes with free lifetime upgrades so you never have to buy another SMS text tracking program again. It allows users to view a targeted devices browser history, spy on text messages, take photos remotely and much more all without having the phone in your possession.
Excellent customer support with LIVE people answering the phone. Of course, I called just to see if real people would actually answer the phone and if they knew what they were talking about, which they did. I was very pleased with how helpful they were. PhoneSpector is my personal choice for the best spy app on the market. It represents the departure from traditional spy apps to a more powerful, in-depth and easy-to-use app that is a better fit for todays mobile devices.
Superb for spying on text messages and iMessages, you will not find a better text spy app, or cell phone spy app than PhoneSpector. Good option for any phone.
It will extract iMessages and text messages from all iPhones and iPads. To use the no-jailbreak solution you do not need to install any software to the target phone.
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Data from the iPhone or iPad is extracted and displayed in your user account which can be viewed from your cell phone, tablet or computer. All you need is an Internet connection or a cellular data connection. There are no additional costs or monthly fees associated with the purchase of this program.