Security for Everyone - Review ESET Parental Control for Android
For the last few days, we have been using and testing the ESET Parental Control app for Android. It aims to be simple to use, yet effective in protecting your children. If you are a parent and you are concerned about what websites your child visits, or about what apps and games are appropriate for his or her age, then ESET Parental Control can be of service to you. Find out whether it does a good job in securing your child's activity and protect him or her online, from our review:
ESET Parental Control for Android: Who is it good for?
ESET Parental Control is a good choice for:
- Parents who want to monitor and control what apps, games, and websites their children are allowed to use, play and visit, on their smartphones and tablets with Android
- Parents whose children own or use many Android devices and want to be able to monitor all of them using a single app
Where To Buy
Pros and cons
Among the good things that are to be said about ESET Parental Control, we would like to mention that:
- It is a useful app that allows parents to keep tabs on what websites, apps, and games their children visit, use and play
- It lets you remotely find the location of your child, using a Google Maps pointer
- You can easily set limits for the time your child is allowed to spend on his or her Android devices
- It offers an easy to understand and use interface, well organized and with simple controls
- You can buy only one license for the premium features, and you can then use the app on an unlimited number of Android devices, as long as you connect to the same ESET account
- The price for the premium license is affordable
On the other hand, ESET Parental Control:
- Does not offer a feature for monitoring what your child posts on social networks
- Cannot monitor who or by whom your child is called on the phone, or what SMS messages he or she receives
ESET Parental Control for Android is an excellent app for parents who want a simple and easy way to check and control what their children do on their Android devices. We liked the user interface and the easy setup offered by this app, and we really appreciated the straightforward way in which you can configure rules for the websites that children are allowed to visit. The same goes for the apps that are blocked or allowed to run and the time limits that the child has for using his or her Android devices. Although it can be improved by adding some more features, considering how well made this app is and the fact that you can use it on an unlimited number of Android devices, we believe that it is a good choice for any parent out there.
What can ESET Parental Control do for you?
The ESET Parental Control for Android can be downloaded from the Play Store, and you can use it for free, both on your Android device and your child's. However, some of its features will only work if you buy a license from ESET.
Here are the main features and protection modules you get from ESET Parental Control for Android, for free:
- Application Guard: allows or blocks access to apps, based on your child's age
- Fun & Games time limits and budget: lets you set time limits for how much time your child can spend playing games
- Basic reports
If you buy a license, you also get access to these features:
- Child Locator: detects the child's Android device location to let you see where he or she is
- Web Guard: blocks websites that are inappropriate for your child's age
- Parental Message: you can send messages to your children via their Android devices, which they must read before being able to use their devices again
- Full reports
NOTE: For testing and reviewing ESET Parental Control, we used a Motorola Nexus 6 smartphone and a Kindle Fire HDX 7 tablet, both having Android 7.1.2 Nougat installed on them. We configured the smartphone as the parent's Android device and the tablet as the child device.
Setting up ESET Parental Control on your (parent) Android device
The first steps you have to take on your parent Android device, after you install ESET Parental Control, are to select the language of the app, accept the license agreement and agree with sending private information such as device location, installed apps, and their usage and websites visited, to ESET's servers. Naturally, your information is confidential, and the company vows never to share this data with third parties.
Then, you must sign into your my.eset.com account or create an account if you do not already have one. This account is going to be used on all your devices, including on those of your children.
Then the app loads its parental dashboard. If you have a license key for the premium version of the app, now is the time to enter its details and activate it.
As this is your Android device and you are configuring ESET Parental Control to work in parent mode, the next step you must take is to create a PIN code. This code is going to be required each time a change is made on your child's devices.
Next, if this is the first time you are using ESET Parental Control, the app lets you create user profiles for your children. For each of them, you can then assign rules and exceptions. To create a child profile, you have to enter a name for him or her, select a date of birth and gender.
These are the first steps you have to take to set up ESET Parental Controls on your parent Android device. As you have seen, the process is fast, and the steps are easy to go through.
Now, you must move on to installing and configuring the ESET Parental Controls app on your child's Android devices.
Setting up ESET Parental Control on your child's Android device
The first thing that the ESET Parental Control app asks you to do on your child's device is to sign in to your my.eset.com account. This account is used by ESET to provide you access to the parental control settings and to sync the license and devices assigned to it. If you do not have an ESET account, you can create one now.
After you sign in to your my.eset.com account, the ESET Parental Control app asks you whether the device you are on is yours or your child's. Tap on Child to continue.
Then, you can choose the child profile that you want to use on the Android device. You can either select one of the child profiles that you have already created before, or you can tap the plus button to create a new profile right now.
ESET Parental Control then asks you to permit it to use the Parental Control service and monitor apps usage, and to activate Parental Control as device administrator on that device. Once you do all that, you can enable Parental Control for your child. ESET also notifies you that to manage your child's activity remotely; you can install the same app on your device or visit the my.eset.com website.
Then, ESET Parental Control tells your child what you, as a parent, allow or do not allow him or her do. By default, the limits are set using age-based filters. For instance, my 4-year-old girl was allowed by ESET to play games for an hour and a half each weekday and two hours on weekend days. Apps, games, and websites that are inappropriate for her age bracket were also blocked by default.
Next, you can exit the ESET Parental Control app and your child can start using his or her device.
Configuring the ESET Parental Control app on your child's Android devices is even faster and easier than setting it up on your parent devices. That is excellent!
Using the ESET Parental Control for Android to monitor and control your child's activity remotely
We would first like to point out the fact that you can monitor your child's activity either from the web interface that is provided by ESET on my.eset.com or from the ESET Parental Control app installed on your (parent) Android device. Because our main focus is the ESET Parental Control for Android, we have reviewed the app more than the website. Using the app on your device instead of watching the my.eset.com website is also better because it gives you notifications almost instantly and it is also more likely that you always have your Android device with you.
In the ESET Parental Control app for Android, there are four main sections that you are going to use to control your child's activity on his or her Android device. The main sections are:
- Home: is a dashboard where you get a summary of your child's activities, time spent on his or her Android devices, the most used apps and most visited websites today, quick access to the apps and web rules, a quick view on the map for the child's location, and access to the Parental Messages feature.
- Rules: are the place where you can configure the Web Guard and the Application Guard. These modules let you configure what websites and apps your child is not allowed to visit and use.
- Reports: give you an overall but also a detailed view of the websites and apps your child visited and used, but also those that were blocked.
- Devices: is a list of all the Android devices your child has and uses
First things first: the Home screen of the ESET Parental Control app is also the central place for monitoring your child's activity. It starts with some quick information about when your child was last seen online and when the app synced last time. Then you get to see the Daily Reports which tell you how much time your child spent using his or her Android device that day, the day before or during the last month. You can also see the hours during which your child was active and, you can also Add time or Reduce time if needed.
Other useful reports that you get on the ESET Parental Control dashboard are the Most used apps and the Most visited apps. By looking at this information, you can get an idea of your child's interests.
Scroll further, and the Home dashboard gives you quick access to the Rules section of the Parental Control app. If you want to configure the rules for the apps and games that can be used and for the websites that your child can visit, there are two links right here. However, you should know that you can also get to the same configuration screen by selecting the Rules section from the app's main menu.
The Child Locator part of the app's Home screen shows a map on which your child's Android is located. This can be useful if you want to know where your offspring is at any moment, and you should know that the location tracking is quite accurate. In our experience, the Child Locator can estimate your child's location within a 10-meter radius. That does not tell you the apartment which he or she is in, but it tells you the building, which is enough for most parents.
The last area on the Home screen of the app is Parental Messages. This is a feature that lets you configure the parents' phone numbers and which then lets you send must-read messages to your child. These messages have to be read by your child. Otherwise he or she cannot continue to use their Android device. This is an excellent way of making sure that your child acknowledges your message.
We found the ESET Parental Control app to be easy to use and understand, and we like the fact that everything it has to offer can be quickly checked or accessed from its Home screen. This app is well organized, so most parents will probably like using it.
Configuring what apps, games, and websites are allowed on your child's Android devices
All the rules for what apps, games, and websites your child is allowed to use, play or visit, are configured from the Rules screen. To get to it, you can either tap on Rules in the main menu or tap on one of the Change Rules links from the Home screen of the app.
The Web Guard handles the websites filtering engine, which is responsible for the inappropriate websites and search results that are blocked by ESET Parental Control. With a simple switch, you can either turn this module on or off. When it is on, the filters are set according to a standard set of rules that are appropriate for your child's age. If you want to adjust or change the categories of websites that your child can visit, tap on Website categories and manually select the ones you want to block or allow.
You can also create a List of exceptions with websites that your child is allowed to visit no matter what. The exceptions can be added manually here, or they can be automatically added when your child asks you to allow him or her to visit a particular website that is normally blocked on his or her Android device.
Configuring what apps and games your child is allowed to use or play is done from the Application Guard section. Just like for the websites, you can turn this feature on or off with just a tap on the right switch. Although the apps and games that are inappropriate for your child are automatically set using a standard filter, you can also manually manage the ones installed on his or her device. That is a good thing because it gives you complete control over what the child is exposed to.
There is also a special section called Limit fun & games that, when enabled, allows you to set limits for how much time your child is allowed to spend playing games or using other apps that you manually specify as being fun.
Configuring the rules for what websites your child is allowed to visit and setting his access to apps and games is easy. There are good default filters set up according to the child's age, and there are also options to configure the rules or add exceptions manually. This is excellent!
What is missing from ESET Parental Control for Android
After using and testing the ESET Parental Control for Android, we have found it to lack two important features:
- It does not offer a feature that would allow parents to monitor their children' interactions on social networks like Facebook, Twitter or others.
- It does not offer a protection module designed to monitor your child's phone calls and text messages.
We feel that these features should be present in a future version of this app. The social networks monitoring feature is needed if you, as a parent, want to be able to stay on top of what your child posts on the web. Maybe you do not want him or her to share some photos or personal information.
Similarly, if your child has the misfortune to be bullied by others, you would want to know about it. Besides monitoring the social networks your child is on, it can also be useful to know what text messages or phone calls your child receives from bullies.
What do you think about ESET Parental Control for Android?
Now you know what ESET Parental Control for Android has to offer and what is missing from it. We have shared our opinion about it, and now we would like to hear yours too. If you want to share your thoughts, write us a comment in the section below.