In today’s world, you can easily gain access to any knowledge or any content with just a few simple clicks on the internet. However, this also leaves you vulnerable to a lot of many dangers lurking online with ill intent. Hence, it is important for you to keep your child safe without depriving him or her of the benefits of the internet.
Qustodio is a market-leading parental control system that boasts just about every feature you might want, including web content filtering, robust app blocking, and a detailed activity log. Qustodio lets you handle all configuration and monitoring via their online dashboard or parental mode of its mobile app.
The Qustodio standard package helps you keep track of up to five devices, and parents can even customize detailed rules and settings for each device. The Qustodio app excels in time management and web-filtering of your child’s screen management. The parental control app will send you a detailed report to analyze and monitor screen time. Although Qustodio might be a bit more expensive compared to other spy apps out there, its wide range of features and excellent customizability has secured it an Editors’ Choice Award for parental control software.
In our Qustodio review below, we will go through all the features available in Qustodio to help you decide whether the Qustodio parental control application is the right one for you.
Qustodio Set-Up and Devices
Once you’ve registered for an account with Qustodio, the app will ask you to create your child’s profile and which device type would you like to monitor first. Qustodio can be used to monitor smartphones, desktop/laptops, or tablets.
Desktops / Laptops
For desktops, you will first need to download the Qustodio software on the device. You can follow the download instructions from the official website, specify if you would like to hide the Qustodio app icon, and select the profile associated with this device.
You will need physical access to your child’s smartphone and search for the Qustodio application in the App Store or Google Play and click install. Once the app is installed on your child’s phone, you will need to select “I have a parent account”, log in with your username and password, and indicate that this is the target or child’s phone. Qustodio will then prompt you to install the Qustodio profile, which is their “Virtual Private Network”.
Qustodio will need to install this as it works by diverting all traffic through their own servers where your refining settings and rules are applied. This is also one reason why Qustodio works so efficiently across multiple devices. However, a couple of shortfalls with this is that Qustodio is not able to properly monitor applications that do not need an internet connection or applications with encrypted communication like Whatsapp.
Aside from mobile phones and computers, Qustodio can also be used on other devices such as Kindle devices, Chromebooks, and so on. The installation of Qustodio onto these devices is just as simple as doing it on the smartphone. You’ll need to first create an account, provide basic information, search for Qustodio from the app store, and click download.
Upon installation, open the app and enter your Qustodio login credentials. Set up the device by giving it a name, activating parental control, and tweak the settings as deemed necessary.
Design and User Experience
Qustodio has a very clean and intuitive web dashboard that makes it very easy for you to navigate from one part of the app to another. Inputting and changing settings on the app is also very effortless.
Another thing we love about Qustodio’s user interface is that it has a neat homepage that’s not cluttered. It has a pleasing blue and white color scheme with consistent and well-organized elements with quick performance.
Users can navigate the page using a series of icons in a left-hand menu with the following tabs: Your Family, Your Devices, Your Account, Help Center, and Logout. The Help Center is also well designed with easy-to-access categories and readily available user guides to help you through should you face any problem.
The desktop version will even give you a color-coded pie chart that gives you a summary of your child’s activities. The chart includes the top apps your target uses on the phone such as Facebook, Google Chrome, Whatsapp, and more. The upper corner tables will even show you their social media and web activities.
To change the rules and restrictions for your children, you can click on their profile under the Your Family section. In the tab, you have the option to look at Summary, Activity Timeline, and Rules. The summary has dedicated sections for time spent, top activities, questionable activities, youtube summary, and also calls & SMS. You can click on any of these tabs to get more info.
The Activity Timeline will show you all your child’s activities across the web, app, search, call and SMS, and location categories. It also has an interactive timeline where you can choose to block or allow apps.
The Rules dropdown is where parents can make changes to their restriction settings, including Daily Limits and Time Management, Restricted Times, YouTube, games & apps, call & SMS, location, and more.
Qustodio is available on both Android and iOS users with some minor differences.
The Android app is clean, clear, and precise with a default page that shows icons for all the children (up to five devices) registered to your account. The Android app lets you keep track of text messages, calls, and even the ability to block certain incoming and outgoing calls.
The iPhone app works about the same as the Android version but since iOS does not allow third-party software to blend well, Qustodio on iPhone cannot be used to monitor texts and calls.
Qustodio is a feature-rich parental control suite that helps you do a great job in keeping track of your child. Here are some of the best features the Qustodio parental control app has to offer before you decide whether Cocospy is the right app to track your kid’s day to day smartphone activities:
Categories-based filtering – Qustodio splits the online content into 29 different categories where parents can choose to either block or receive an email notification when the target accesses it. Even without the email notification, Qustodio offers a comprehensive breakdown of all the sites that were visited by the target – as well as a breakdown of every link your child has visited. The app will even detect and highlight any “questionable activity” that happens on the target device.
By default, the app will block all access to websites matching any of ten undesirable categories including drugs, gambling, pornography, proxies/loopholes, and violence. Your options for each category are Allow, Alert Me, and Block.
Website Exceptions – Questionable sites might be difficult to manage or could possibly belong to certain categories that you might not want to block entirely. For that, you can make use of the Website Exception feature that will let you allow or disallow sites individually.
This means that you can block all uncategorized websites and add exceptions to certain sites that are appropriate. Qustodio will even provide you listings of all the searches performed by your child and have them all organized into an intuitive “search bubble” format. Qustodio also gives you all URLs visited under the web activities tab for you to identify any potential issues your child may be facing at the moment.
However, you will need to take note that the app might take an indeterminate period of time for the changes in the web filtering to take effect – it could sometimes even take up to one hour – so don’t expect the feature to work immediately once you’ve set it up.
Safe Search – This Qustodio feature lets your child conduct safe web browser searching on search engines like google, bing, and youtube. The application adds a layer of web filtering to the search results, meaning whatever is displayed on your child’s mobile is based on the search engine’s own determination of appropriateness, not Qustodio’s, and so the categorization has no impact on what can or cannot be seen in the search results.
The software works across mainstream browsers such as Chrome and Edge, blocking secure (HTTPS) websites from restricted categories. But these do not cover everything and it would be nice if they could include the ability for users to set up custom filters.
Qustodio also provides very excellent flexibility in terms of scheduling and setting up the time limits on a device. It divides its time-restriction tools into different sections:
Daily Scheduling – Qustodio lets you set or schedule the time your child is allowed to use the device per day. You can even customize the setting for each day of the week.
Daily Time Allowance – Qustodio parental control also lets you set the total allowable hours per day for your child to use the device. This feature is also customizable by day.
Per Device Scheduling – Users can use Qustodio to set daily scheduling for each individual device. Once the allowable time threshold has been reached, you have the option to set the mobile to:
Lock Navigation: The phone will lock only internet access. The child still can use other applications.
Lock device: Locks the entire device to prevent both on and offline use of the device.
Alert: Sends you an alert when the device limit has been reached.
One downside to this is that Qustodio lacks “additional time requests” capabilities for your child to request for longer internet access for a certain amount of time, for instance, when they need the internet for homework or research.
On top of scheduling, Qustodio offers app-based monitoring for apps that require an internet connection to operate. Though you cannot block chat-based apps like WhatsApp, Qustodio will report the total time spent on that app.
For application – blocking settings on Android, Windows, and macOS devices, you can head to the Games & Apps section where you can search through all the apps your child has used. From there, you can toggle whether you’d like to apply no restrictions, set a total time restriction for each day of the week, or just block it outright. This is useful for when you want to let your child continue using the device for homework while keeping the time they spend on social to a minimum.
Per App Time Limit – Qustodio allows you to set time limits on specific internet-connected apps.
- Allow/Disallow by App: Limited to internet-connected apps
- Prevent App Download: No
- Prevent In-App Purchase: No
- Video Limit by Age Appropriate Rating: No
As seen above, the application management might be where Qustodio is weakest as there are obvious limitations on the feature. Nonetheless, Qustodio offers strong time management and web-filtering features that work great on both Android and iOS devices. For those who need a more robust app-focused parental control solution, you might need to subscribe to another service to supplement Qustodio.
Qustodio helps you keep a close eye on all the activities being conducted on the device such as the websites visited, social platform activity, chat sessions, and online searches performed. One downside though is that Qustodio does not let you read emails your child receives or sends. Instead, Qustodio has a high-end algorithm that could scan the text and help you determine if your child is facing cyberbullying or sexual harassment across different platforms.
Yes, Qustodio offers social monitoring but it is limited to Facebook only. The Facebook monitoring feature lets parents track all timeline activity from their dashboard including pictures, timeline posts, comments. Some improvements that could make the Facebook monitoring more complete is if the parental control company allows parents to also read private messages and see a list of their friends.
In order to set this up, your child will need to first accept the Qustodio plug-in request that will be automatically sent once you enable Facebook tracking from your dashboard. No worries though, the request is only a one-time thing and Qustodio will run in the background once permission is granted.
The parental control service offered by Qustodio includes the option to track YouTube activity on iOS devices, iOS devices, Mac, and Windows. You also need to remember that the features you have access to will depend on which subscription package you go for. With YouTube Monitoring, you can check and see all the searches your child has made and even videos watched on YouTube.
Parents also have the ability to limit and block certain YouTube videos based on their preferred parameters. As mentioned earlier, this feature will depend on which package you subscribe to and is available to premium subscribers. Nonetheless, the YouTube monitoring feature is active by default on the latest version of Qustodio’s app.
Other than social network and web monitoring, Qustodio offers calls and text monitoring on Android devices. This feature is not available on iPhones though but this is an issue faced by all parental control apps, not just a limitation of the parental control application, and it’s entirely on Apple. There are even apps out there that will record all the keystrokes typed into the target phone or even bug the phone for call recording.
Some of the communication monitoring offered by Qustodio includes:
- Calls and SMS messages: Android devices only
- Block incoming calls: Yes
- Block outgoing calls: Yes
- Individual number exception: Yes
- Video call monitoring: No
- Blocking and Filtering
The parental control company’s blocking and filtering features help parents keep a close track of their child’s online activity by filtering and blocking online resources, portals, inappropriate content, and websites that are not suitable for your child.
You can set this up by logging into the software and adjust the website categories your child is given access to in the Settings tab. This way, you can be sure the websites your child is allowed to visit and browse do not contain inappropriate content.
That said, you can also easily block categories like violence, drugs, gambling, alcohol, mature content, social networks, and so on. The blocking and filtering features also work on a private mode or when surfing on incognito.
Qustodio has a geolocation functionality that provides you with your child’s current location – or the current location of their phone. You can check their location from the dashboard that will show the exact location on google maps. The location tracking features include:
- Location Notification: Yes
- GeoParameter: No
- Panic Button: Available on Android device only
While Qustodio lets you track the location, the geolocation features are limited and it does not come with geofencing capability. Geo-fencing lets parents set up safe zones which are a predetermined geographical areas where the child can venture freely. Once the app detects the child leaving the area, Qustodio will send an alert to the parents.
Family Locator is a recent and cool functionality that’s recently launched by Qustodio. The family locator keeps parents updated on their kids’ whereabouts. You can add each one of your children’s devices in the family portal to begin location tracking. However, to make use of this, you’ll need to configure the location tracking on your kid’s smartphone.
This feature is available on both Android and iOS devices. It also has a Location Timeline that lets parents see the places their kids visited in chronological order.
Qustodio has both free and premium versions. The free option only lets you track one device with fairly limited activity monitoring features. All new Qustodio accounts are automatically upgraded to the three-day premium membership and you will need to opt-out if you do not plan to buy. But if you do opt for a paid plan, here are the subscription models available:
Small Plan costs $54.94 per year and covers up to five devices.
Medium Plan costs $96.96 per year and covers up to 10 devices.
Large plan costs $137.95 per year and covers up to 15 devices.
If you plan to add more devices to your plan at any point in time, Qustodio has an easy upgrade pipeline that will charge you only for the difference between your current subscription and the new one instead of making you pay for a whole new membership upfront.
The parental control company even has other packages available for schools and businesses that start from $35.04 per month for up to five devices or $210.54 per month for up to 100 devices.
Qustodio’s website has a help section that contains setup tutorials, a range of FAQs on topics like settings, subscriptions, features, and customization to help you out if you encounter any issues. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always submit a request to Qustodio’s customer support team and they will get back to you.
Pros and Cons
- Well-designed web interface
- Comprehensive time limits and time management features
- App blocking on desktop and mobile platforms
- Cross-platform support
- Intuitive apps and user interface
- Expensive plans
- VPN breaks web filter on desktop browsers
- Limited social media tracking to only Facebook
Does “Qustodia”, “Qstodio”, “Quostudio”, “Quostido”, “Quistudio”, “Qustodia”, “Quatodio”, “Questidio”, “Qusodio”, “Qostodio”, “Qustoido” Referring To The Same Parental Control App?
Yes, these are all misspellings and they are all referring to the same parental control app.
Conclusion – The Bottom Line
Qustodio is a multi-device parental control product with highly configurable web refining and time management capabilities for parents to take advantage of. The company’s online web portal and reporting functionalities provide parents a valuable tool to mold and monitor their children’s interaction online through their web-connected devices. While there are some gaps in the app’s functionality in terms of social network monitoring and certain app-based restrictions, these gaps are seen throughout the entire market
All-in-all, this is a top parental supervision solution with an industry-leading control dashboard, solid UI, extensive feature list, and excellent performance. We hope today’s review has provided you with sufficient insight into whether this is the right device time management tool for your kid.