We were looking for a mobile parental control solution, so we decided to test the ESET Parental Control app for Android. It aims to be simple to use, but also effective in protecting children while they use a smartphone. 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 help. Read this review and find out whether it does a good job in securing your child's smartphone use and protect him or her online:
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 interact with, on their smartphones and tablets
- Parents who want to keep track of their children's location
- Parents who want to limit how much time their children spend on smartphones or tablets
Pros and cons
There are many positives about ESET Parental Control:
- It is not difficult to set up and use
- Useful for keeping tabs on websites, apps, and games accessed by children
- You can remotely find the location of your child, using a Google Maps pointer
- You can set alerts for when your child leaves or enters certain locations like your home, the school, and so on
- You can set limits for the time your child is allowed to spend on his or her Android devices
- You can buy only one license for the premium features, and you can then use the app on all the Android devices used by your children, using the same ESET account
- Affordable price for the premium license
On the other hand, ESET Parental Control:
- Does not offer a feature for monitoring what your child posts on social networks like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and others. However, children should not be allowed on social networks until they are 13 or more.
- It is not a cross-platform solution like its competitors are
ESET Parental Control for Android is an excellent app for parents who want a simple and easy way to check what their children do on their Android devices. We like the user interface and the setup process, and we appreciate the straightforward way in which you can configure the 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 this app is made and the fact that you can use it on all the Android devices used by your children, we believe that it is a good choice for any parent who cares about the way children use the Android devices that they have access to.
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 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:
- Web Guard Monitoring: monitors the websites that your children visit
- Application Guard: allows or blocks access to apps, based on your child's age
- Fun & Games Time Limits: lets you set time limits for how much time your child can spend playing games
- Fun & Games Budget Limits: lets you set budgets for how much your child can spend in games
- Basic Activity Reports
If you buy a license, you also get access to these features:
- Web Guard Filtering: blocks websites that are inappropriate for your child
- Safe Search: enables the safe search features offered by search engines
- Child Locator: when requested by the parent, it detects the child's Android device location and displays it on a Google Map
- Geofencing: lets you create zones using Google Maps and alerts you when the child leaves them or enters them
- Full Activity Reports
Setting up ESET Parental Control on your (parent) Android device
You install ESET Parental Control both on your parent devices, as well as the devices of your child(ren). To set it up, select the language of the app, accept the license agreement and agree with sending private information to ESET's servers. Naturally, your information is confidential, and the company vows never to share this data with third parties. You must also permit ESET Parental Control to "read phone information" so that it can link the license and activate it on your smartphone.
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.
The app asks you choose how to configure the Android device that you are using. You can choose to set it as your device (in parent mode) or as your child's device (in child mode).
Finally, 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 assign rules and exceptions. To create a child profile, you have to enter a name, 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. The steps involved are easy to go through.
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 ESET account. This account is used 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 directly from the app. Then, the ESET Parental Control app asks you who is going to use the device. Tap on Child to continue.
Choose the child profile that you want to use on the Android device. You can 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 asks if you want to set the Android device as a "Tracked device." If you want to be able to use the child Locator feature, you must enable this setting. Furthermore, the next few screens are all about allowing ESET Parental Control to monitor and control your child's Android device. Our recommendation is to allow all the permissions that it asks from you; otherwise, some of its features can't work.
Once you get past the permissions screens, ESET Parental Control notifies you that it is enabled on your child's Android device and that, to manage your child's activity remotely, you can install the same app on your Android device, or visit my.eset.com.
ESET Parental Control tells your child what you, as a parent, allow or do not allow him or her to do. By default, the limits are set using age-based filters. For instance, my 5-year-old girl was allowed by ESET to play games for an hour and a half each day. Apps, games, and websites that are inappropriate for her age bracket are also blocked by default.
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.
Using the ESET Parental Control for Android to monitor and control your child's activity remotely
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 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:
- Home is the dashboard where you see the reports about your children's activities.
- Locator detects the location of your child and shows you where he or she is, using a Google Map.
- Rules is where you configure the Application Guard and the Web Guard. These modules are used to set what apps and websites your child is allowed to use.
- Devices is a list of all the Android devices your child has and uses.
The Home screen of the ESET Parental Control app is also the central place for monitoring your child's activity. It starts with quick information about when your child was last seen online. Then you get to see the Daily Reports which tell you how much time your child has 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 your child's Most used apps. By looking at this information, you can get an idea of your child's interests.
With a tap on the Locator button, you can see a map where ESET pinpoints the location of your child's Android device. This can be useful if you want to know where your offspring is at any moment. The location tracking is quite accurate and, from our experience, we can tell you that the Locator can estimate your child's location within a 10-meter radius. However, this feature does not work well without the GPS chip turned on, on your child's device. When using only the mobile connection, without GPS, the location errors are high, and you should not trust the data shown here.
The Rules section of the Parental Control app is where you configure the rules for the apps and games that your children can use and for the websites they can visit. You can enable the use of automatic rules based on your child's age, or you can add manual exceptions.
The last tab in ESET Parental Controls is called Devices and shows all the devices used by your children, and their state. Here you can also see when ESET Parental Controls does not work well because your child has disabled it or it was blocked by services like Huawei's auto-launch restrictions.
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 main screen.
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 tab. 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 a 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.
The Web Guard handles the web 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 enabled, 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 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, 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.
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 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.