The children of today use smartphones and tablets to browse the internet, play games, access all kinds of apps and even chat online. They have access to an entire, albeit virtual, new world. Unfortunately, this also makes them susceptible to stumble upon inappropriate content for their age. They’re also prone to get stuck to a screen for incredibly long periods of time, which definitely isn’t a good thing in terms of health. How do we, as parents, cope with all that? Well, one of the best things we can do is control the time they spend online and what they see there. This brings us to parental controls apps, and one of the most interesting we’ve seen is ESET Parental Control for Android. We’ve used and tested it, and in this review, we’re going to tell you what it can do and why you should try it if you’re a parent concerned about protecting your children online:
ESET Parental Control is an excellent choice for all parents who:
- Would like to be able to see and control the apps, games, and websites their children interact with
- Want to set time limits for their children on their smartphones or tablets
- Want to keep track of their children’s location
There are many good things to say about ESET Parental Control:
- Easy to set up and use
- Helpful in keeping track of the content and apps your children see and use
- Allows you to remotely locate your child using Google Maps
- Can alert parents when their children get out of a previously set geographical area (school, home, park, etc.)
- Allows you to set time limits on your children’s Android devices
- Affordable price and only one subscription needed to control all your family devices
The only essential not-positive aspect about ESET Parental Control is that it works only on Android devices. It’s not available on iOS, so it can’t help you if your child uses an iPhone or iPad.
ESET Parental Control is one of the best apps that parents can use for keeping track of how their children use their Android devices. Its user interface is simple yet full of information, and the setup process is straightforward. We especially like the way you can configure the time limits and rules, both for websites and apps. Taking into account the reasonable price for a premium license and all the features you get with it, we believe that ESET Parental Control is one of the best choices of its kind.
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 you get for free from ESET Parental Control for Android:
- Application Guard allows or blocks access to apps, based on your child’s age
- The option to limit the amount of time your child can spend using apps and playing games
- The choice to set a daily budget your child can spend on apps and games
- Basic web usage reports about the websites your children visit
- Basic activity and app usage reports
- Instant block option to immediately block your children’s devices
If you subscribe to the Premium plan, you also get access to these features:
- Web Guard Filtering blocks your children from accessing websites that are inappropriate for their age
- Safe Search turns on the safe search features in search engines
- Child Locator allows you to see your child’s Android device location on Google Maps
- Geofencing can alert you when your child leaves or enters an area you manually specified on Google Maps
- Full activity reports
In order to control your child’s activities, you need to install ESET Parental Control on at least one of your devices, the parent, and on the devices of your child(ren). The first configuration step on your Android smartphone or tablet is selecting the app’s language. Then, ESET will ask whether you want to participate in the company’s customer experience improvement program and receive promotional messages. These are entirely optional, so you can choose what you want. Next, you get to one of the most important steps of the configuration wizard, which is choosing how to configure the Android device you’re using. You can choose parent mode (for your device) or child mode (for your child’s device).
Next, you need to sign in to your ESET HOME account. You can log in with your email, as well as your Google or Apple account. If you don’t have an ESET account, you can create one right now. It’s worth noting that the ESET HOME account is mandatory, as it’s needed to tie all of your family’s devices together.
Now, if you’ve used ESET Parental Control previously, the child(ren) profile(s) are automatically loaded from your account. However, if you didn’t, you have one more final “parental” configuration step to make: adding children profiles. To create a child profile, you have to enter a name, a date of birth, and choose a gender. Then, you’ll be able to assign rules and exceptions for each child and his or her devices.
The first steps in configuring ESET Parental Control on the parent Android device are simple and easy to make.
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. If you don’t 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, and choose the profile that you want to use on that Android device. You can select one of the child profiles 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 give it all the permissions it asks for; 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, if you want 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 8-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 as fast and easy as it is to set it up on parent devices.
You can monitor your child’s activity either from the web interface provided by ESET on my.eset.com or from the ESET Parental Control app installed on your parent device. We focused on the app, as we believe most parents will prefer using it instead of a web browser. It’s also a better choice, as you’ll get almost instant notifications about your child’s activity, and you’re more likely to 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:
- The Home is the dashboard where you see the reports about your children’s activities.
- The Locator detects the location of your child and shows you where he or she is, using Google Maps.
- The Rules page 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.
- On the Devices page, you get the list of the Android devices your child owns 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, and 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 if the GPS chip on your child’s device is not enabled. When using only the mobile connection, without GPS, the location errors are high, so you shouldn’t 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, and you can also add exceptions manually.
The last tab in ESET Parental Controls is called Devices and shows the status of your child(ren)’s devices. Here you can also see when ESET Parental Controls doesn’t work correctly 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.
All the rules for what apps, games, and websites your child is allowed to use, play, or visit, are configured from the Rules page. You choose which apps and games your child can use or play in the Application Guard section. Just like for the websites, you can toggle this feature on or off with one switch. Although the apps and games that are inappropriate for your child are automatically set using a standard filter, you can also manually manage and set which ones should be time-restricted. This gives you complete control over what the child is exposed to.
If you want to manually set some apps to be time-limited, turn the Limit applications switch on, and access the Time limits section. Then, you can simply adjust the hours your child is allowed to play games or use other apps.
The Web Guard handles the internet 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 turn this module either 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 an Exceptions list of websites that your child is allowed or not allowed to open, no matter what. The exceptions are added manually, and also somewhat automatically when your child asks you to allow him or her to visit a particular website that is normally blocked.
Setting rules for the websites, apps, and games that your child is allowed to open, use, and play is easy. The default filters that are pre-configured according to the child’s age are good, and the fact that you also have the option to manually configure exceptions is great.
Now you know what ESET Parental Control for Android has to offer and how to configure it. After sharing our opinion about it, we would like to hear yours too. If you want to tell us your thoughts, don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the section below.