Top 4 Free Parental Control Toolsby@casinoalpha
639 reads
639 reads

Top 4 Free Parental Control Tools

by Casino AlphaJune 16th, 2022
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

We share a list of tried-and-tested free tools to help you get your bearings in the realm of online security. We'll teach you how to install these tools on a computer and provide an objective assessment of critical restrictive features like web filters, time limits, and other stand-out capabilities.

Company Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
featured image - Top 4 Free Parental Control Tools
Casino Alpha HackerNoon profile picture

Protect your child from online threats with CasinoAlpha’s top selection of free parental control software. Read on and discover the tools that block inappropriate content most effectively.

Not a tech wizard? We'll teach you how to install and use them, too!

Defining inappropriate content

Any form of cyber content that threatens your child's innocence or safety can be subsumed under the term inappropriate content. While different parents may have different opinions on what counts as inappropriate, we can all agree that kids shouldn’t get in contact with:

  • Gambling sites

  • Profanity

  • Pornography

  • Violence

Our take on child exposure to gambling content

CasinoAlpha’s primary goal is to make online gambling more secure through transparent and valuable information. This process necessarily involves a through and through the implementation of Responsible Gaming principles. Among these, limiting child exposure to gambling is particularly important, and not just because underage gambling is forbidden by law. Gambling may seem harmless compared to hate speech, violence, or profanity.

However, studies show that children introduced to gambling by the age of 12 are more likely to become problem gamblers.

At this fragile stage of a child's life, the wrong patterns may install themselves more easily, leading to unhealthy, risky behaviors. A 12-year-old child's brain is not yet developed enough to assess risk correctly.

Benefits of using free parental control tools

  • Knowing the preventive role of these tools, your kid will develop healthier online habits.

  • By limiting Internet exposure after school, you get to spend more time with family.

  • Having clear-cut schedules for certain online activities leads to better time management.

  • With malicious websites restricted, online threats will no longer be a click away.

  • With the proper use of parental control tools, the risk for Internet addiction drops considerably.

Best free parental control software

We share a list of tried-and-tested free tools to help you get your bearings in the realm of online security.

  1. BetBlocker

  2. OpenDNS Family Shield

  3. Qustodio

  4. Kaspersky Safe Kids

Review methodology

Parental control tools have different features and limitations, so parents must be well-informed about their options.

We’ve tested the free parental control apps on an Asus Vivobook laptop running the latest version of Windows 10 while using an iPhone 8 to assess mobile versions.

Bringing you the facts is our top priority. We’ll teach you how to install these tools on a computer and provide an objective assessment of critical restrictive features like web filters, time limits, and other stand-out capabilities.

Each tool was rated for configuration difficulty with Easy, Medium, and Hard. Protection was rated on a scale of 1-5.

As gambling experts, our focus is on restricting casino content effectively, but we analyze a tool's capacities as a whole.

1. BetBlocker

Operating Systems

Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Fire OS

Key features

Effectively restricting gambling sites, web filtering

Configuration difficulty


Protection rating


We know that some of the best gambling blockers require a subscription, so the fact that Bet Blocker is a 100% free tool is more than welcome. BetBlocker is a charitable project created in 2019 through the collaboration of over 6000 operators.

It currently restricts access to 28806 licensed and unlicensed gambling sites, and the list is growing by the hour. You may use it on a wide variety of devices. The parental control settings offered are somewhat difficult to circumvent. Still, it's currently in the Beta phase, so you may experience a few bugs here and there.

How to configure BetBlocker

Follow these steps to install BetBlocker on your Windows computer.

  1. Visit the download page on the official website.

  2. Select ‘Windows App’.

  3. Open the setup file and wait for the process to get through.

When you open the file, you may get a Microsoft Defender error saying the app might put your PC at risk. Don’t worry, it’s a generic error and there’s no real risk involved. Click on ‘More info’ and then hit the “Run anyway” button.

Activate the parental control feature

Under ‘Parental Control’, click on ‘Start’, then follow:

  1. Create a strong password and keep it safe as you won’t be able to change it.

  2. Select a restriction length from 24 hours to 5 years.

  3. Tick the box to restrict access to gambling sites.

  4. It’s also useful to tick the box at the next step and restrict gambling advertisement sites. Although the list is not exhaustive, it’s updated constantly.

  5. Next, block access to pornography sites.

  6. In step 6, select block type. We recommend using the ‘Local block + VPN server’ option for the best results. Should you encounter problems with your Wi-Fi network using this option, select ‘Local Block’, but this restriction type is the least intrusive.

  1. Next, you may add any website that you think your child shouldn’t access.

  2. The final stage will present you with an overview of your choices. If all is well, tick the agreement box and hit ‘Activate’.

Key protection features

BetBlocker is mainly used to prevent gambling addicts from relapsing. It’s also useful for people who want to limit their gambling habits and curb addictive tendencies before they get out of hand, and it can serve excellently as a parental control tool as well.

Rather than blocking gambling sites exclusively, this tool also lets you add any URL to the blacklist, thus allowing you to have a better grasp on what your child sees online.

Still, it lacks other features like device monitoring, time limits, social media control, and geofencing. If you need advanced supervision, you should go for an alternative.

Restrictive potency

With all its limitations, BetBlocker is a quite robust content filter. You cannot remove restrictions without your password. The web filter will stay in place for the set period even if you delete the app and will only deactivate when the time has elapsed.

Some users have complained that the restrictions don’t work. While this bug may be determined by the fact that the program is still in the Beta phase, it might also have to do with a user’s choice of block type. Don’t forget that some computers cannot handle the ‘Local Block + VPN server’ type. On our test laptop, the restrictions worked flawlessly.

It worked well on our test iPhone too, although some users have complained the app would block legitimate websites too. Again, the project is a work in progress, so a few errors shouldn’t discourage you from trying it.

BetBlocker Pros & Cons

Pros: Blocks 20000+ gambling sites and other inappropriate content, uninstall-proof, easy to use

Cons: On Android phones, the app may lead to a 10% decrease in battery life

2. OpenDNS FamilyShield

Operating Systems

Any OS

Key features

Blocks inappropriate websites

Configuration difficulty


Protection rating


FamilyShield from OpenDNS is very unlike other tools from our list. Essentially, it is a special DNS server that blocks suspicious websites based on certain algorithms, constantly updating its blacklisted sites database.

Tech-savvy parents are surely familiar with DNS, but laypersons shouldn’t panic. It’s not rocket science. DNS is short for ‘Domain Name System’ and it’s a means to translate a regular address, as you see it in your browser, into IP addresses readable by a computer.

Setting up your router to access the Internet through a special server is not that difficult, as you’ll see by following our short guide.

How to get the FamilyShield working

OpenDNS works best when you configure your router to send all connections through it. This process varies based on your router model, so there’s no one size fits all approach. Alternatively, you may set it up in Windows settings by following the provider’s step-by-step guide. Browsing through the FAQ pages, you’ll find guides for any device.

  1. Find your router’s preferences address.

You may find it printed on the back of your router. If you don’t, enter the Command Prompt and type ‘ipconfig’, then press enter. You’ll find a line saying ‘Default Gateway’ with a string of digits. That’s your router’s settings address.

  1. Type this IP address in your browser.

  2. Scan around for DNS server settings, and you’ll find two sets of blanks, looking something like this:

  1. Change the numbers there with the following strings:

  1. Then, flush the DNS cache, following the guide provided by OpenDNS

  1. Make sure you save your modifications if they aren’t saved automatically

Key protection features

Once you’re done configuring your router appropriately, no device that’s connected to your network will be able to access any of the blacklisted sites, including mobile devices, computers, tablets, and gaming consoles.

Here lies the major advantage of this free parental control tool. You only need to tweak your router’s DNS settings to create a safer online environment for your child, without messing with other software. This low-maintenance tool offers some protection against phishing and malware too.

However, if you want to set up the finer nuances of this parental control tool, such as restricting websites based on category, you must create an account on OpenDNS Home.

Its intuitive dashboard and multiple filters allow you to control what your child may access online better. We were glad to see that there’s an option to restrict access to gambling websites here, although it might as well have been included in the default DNS setting.

For instance, you may choose between the 4 built-in filtering levels or select the categories you want to block individually.

Restrictive potency

OpenDNS Family Shield provides strong protection. Unless they’re a tech genius, your child will have a hard time getting around the restrictions. OpenDNS blocks proxy sites even at the lowest protection level.

The only way to bypass the restrictions is through the Tor Browser, but most children aren’t aware of it, and most likely don’t know how to use it. Of course, with teens, things get a bit more complicated.

However, just like BetBlocker, it only works only locally. Your child is protected as long as they are within the range of your Wi-Fi network, but you don’t get any remote management.

OpenDNS FamilyShield Pros and Cons

Pros: Strong web filtering, blocks proxy sites, low maintenance, uninstall-proof (since it doesn’t require installing anything in the first place)

Cons: Can be bypassed with the Tor Browser, may be difficult to install

3. Qustodio

Operating Systems

Windows 10, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Kindle, Chrome OS

Key features

Web filtering, time limits

Configuration difficulty


Protection rating


Although the free version of Qustodio comes with major limitations, its outstanding feature set and intuitive interface make it one of the best parental control tools out there.

This tool sports excellent mobile integration. In our experience, it’s the best tool for Android smartphones, although we had some trouble with setting time limits on iPhones.

How to configure Qustodio

Configuring this tool is a 2-step process on any device.

  1. Visit the official Qustodio website and create a free account.

  2. Login to your Qustodio account and click on ‘Add Child’.

  3. Fill in their personal details and move on.

  1. Download and install the appropriate app on your child’s device.

  2. Tick the ‘Hide Qustodio` box if you want to keep the app hidden from them.

  3. Select your child and finish the installation process.

You may now return to the Qustodio web dashboard and supervise your child’s online activity.

Key protection features

With the free version, you get a decent web filtering tool that you may customize by the type of content you want to be blacklisted.

An option to monitor screen time allows you to account for the time your child spends in front of their screen but limiting usage of a particular app or game is only available in the premium version.

The major downside of the free version is that you can monitor only one device, with activity history being kept for just one week. So, if your child has multiple devices, or you have more than one child, the free version of Qustodio might not be your best bet. Check our next entry for an alternative.

Restrictive potency

Qustodio allows you to hide the app in your child’s computer, to make your supervision stealthier, although this option might be frowned upon by some parents.

From our experience, web filtering works well, but it has a few drawbacks. Even if other reviewers praise the app’s ability to block the Tor Browser, which is indeed a stand-out, our benchmarks suggest it may sometimes block legitimate websites too.

From our experience, web filtering works well, but it has a few drawbacks. Even if other reviewers praise the app’s ability to block the Tor Browser, which is indeed a stand-out, our benchmarks suggest it may sometimes block legitimate websites too.

In the case of false positives, your child won’t be able to ask for your permission to access the website, unlike Kaspersky’s free tool.

It seems like the restrictions work a bit too well, but if your child has a VPN app installed on their device, they may be able to circumvent them.

Still, despite the false positives and minor problems with VPNs, Qustodio manages to block content relating to drugs, pornography, violence, or racism, and it can filter HTTPS websites as well.

Qustodio Pros & Cons

Pros: Excellent mobile integration, decent web filtering, screen time controls, great design

Cons: Free version is limited to 1 device, some parents may consider it too intrusive

4. Kaspersky Safe Kids

Operating Systems

Windows 10, Mac OS X, iOS, Android

Key features


Configuration difficulty


Protection rating


A freemium just like our previous entry, Kaspersky Safe Kids is a bit more generous, allowing you to supervise an unlimited number of devices. Still, you won’t access the app’s complete functionality unless you buy the premium version.

While this free tool is less restrictive than Qustodio, its approach doesn’t reduce efficacy, and it’s more educational. We were impressed by the tips you get from a child psychologist right in the middle of the installation process.

How to install Kaspersky Safe Kids

Installing and configuring this tool is straightforward enough.

  1. Sign-up for an account on My Kaspersky.

  2. Verify your e-mail address and sign in using your credentials.

  3. Go to ‘Downloads’ and select the Kaspersky Safe Kids installation file.

  4. Open the file, accept the terms, and wait for the installation to finish.

  5. Now, the setup assistant will guide you toward configuring your parental tool.

  6. In the new window, log in to your My Kaspersky account.

  7. Add your child’s details and select their computer account.

  8. Once you’re done, the program will select basic restrictions based on your child’s age. Still, you may change these settings in the web dashboard, under the ‘Kids’ tab.

Key protection features

Kaspersky Safe Kids protects your child against inappropriate online content through a robust web filtering feature. Blacklisting and whitelisting websites is also possible.

The filter works by comparing Internet content with 14 potentially unsafe categories. You may set which categories are allowed yourself, but the tool’s built-in restrictions based on age are on point too.

Another great feature of Kaspersky Safe Kids free is app usage control. This feature is a very welcome addition for parents. You manage your child’s app usage by time used age-related restrictions or content type.

The tool also has an option to manage your child’s total screen time. It allows you to set daily limits befitting their daily schedule and even block the device if they don’t comply with the restriction.

Restrictive potency

Kaspersky’s tool comes with multiple protection layers, making it nearly impossible to turn its built-in VPN off. It’s a known fact that playing with alternative VPN software is one of the easiest ways for IT-literate kids to circumvent parental control tools.

Web filtering is up to par, but there’s a catch. It doesn’t work with all browsers, and kids may be able to get around restrictions by using the Tor Browser.

Another strong positive aspect in terms of restrictive potency is the advanced protection available for iOS smartphones. This operating system is known for being quite stubborn when it comes to parental control tools.

Compared to the competition, Kaspersky Safe Kids can effectively protect iOS devices. Still, as a reviewer has shown, the app management feature on iOS is a bit rudimentary. While the iOS app is a bit more limited compared to Android or Windows versions, it might be the best choice for iPhone owners.

Kaspersky Safe Kids Pros & Cons

Pros: Age-based web filtering, app usage control, good iOS functionality, no device limit, educational tips

Cons: Can be bypassed through the Tor Browser, not all features are free

Parental control tools comparison


Web filter

Screen Time Limit

App usage control

Mobile Support[BC1]











Why parental control tools are essential

According to a survey commissioned by Kaspersky, 84% of parents are concerned about their kid’s safety online, but few discuss this crucial subject with them. The same study shows that most children only hear about online threats for an average of 40 minutes. That’s just too brief.

Take the time to educate your child on the far-reaching implications of the Internet. If you want to make sure your child is under no cyber threat, you should consider supervising their online activity with one of the free parental control tools we’ve listed here.

Still, don’t get overly despotic about it. Always communicate openly with your child. It might seem difficult to tackle the issue in a way that’s relatable for them but try to explain exactly why you had to install this kind of software. You’d be surprised how well they respond when you’re honest about it.