Qustodio seems like a popular choice for many parents due to marketing and the endless amounts of affiliate clickbait reviews. Read my “honest” Qustodio review to find why you should NOT be using Qustodio for your parental controls.
If your kids have multiple devices on different OS’s (Apple, Android, Amazon, Windows, Mac, Linux), then parental control can be a real nightmare, as most apps are not available on all platforms.
For desktop security, I was using Microsoft Family Safety for time limits and activity reporting plus BitDefender for cybersecurity + openDNS for an additional level of content filtering at the router level.
For my kids mobile devices, I was using MMGuardian + Kid-Control. If your devices support these 2 apps, then I would recommend using these over Qustodio.
Last year I bought Amazon Fire tablets for my eldest boys, and due to their age I could not use the built-in “fire for kids” mode as it was too childish and restrictive, and they just refused to use the tablets.
Sadly MMGuardian is not available on Amazon marketplace, so I had to look for something else, as It quickly becomes very confusing and a lot of hassle if you are using different products on different devices, so I started looking at the limited options available on the Amazon store.
Due to the ongoing issues with Microsoft family safety. I was also looking for an alternative solution for my kids desktop PC’s as well.
QustodioThere was little choice on Amazon marketplace, so I decided to give Qustodio another try.
TL/DR summary: Qustodio has very poor security and is easy for kids to bypass or simply uninstall the app. You definiately cannot rely on Qustodio and will need to be diligent and technically aware enough to also manually check and monitor your kids devices every single day to make sure they have not tampered with Qustodio.I tried out the trial version of Qustodio a few years back when I wrote my article Cyber Security: How to protect your kids online, but it was lacking in several areas so didn’t bother installing it on my kids devices and opted to go for MMGuardian + Kid Control at the time, as MMGuardian had better monitoring, better activity tracking, better security and more control but lousy GPS tracking, which is why I used kid-Control as well.Overall, the first impression of Qustodio is that it seems to do a fairly decent job at blocking content and controlling screen time. It blocks dangerous sites, it enforces safe search in all browsers and on youtube, it allows you to block or allow specific apps and websites either globally or per device, and it also allows you to set time limits.The interface is not especially intuitive, and until you get used to the app, it is quite an effort to figure out how some features work and where to find the settings as some options are rather disjointed and the web interface does not match the Android app. My wife still struggles to find where or why something is blocked or disabled.With the screen time, you can enable/disable time controls, by setting which hours of the day the device can be used and you can also set allowed number of hours each say. So you could, for example, say that they can use their tablet for 4 hours per day between 9am – 7pm.Since I have started using Qustodio, they do seem to have implemented one of my suggestions, and you can now set time limits on specific apps as well, which means you can limit time on games or social media only for example.All access levels is very much an all or nothing solution though, so you cannot make a change that applies today only for example, so if you block access on Tuesday, it will be blocked every Tuesday until you undo it.What I really wanted is a time quota solution like Microsoft Family safety, allowing time to added ad-hoc on a daily basis, so kids have no time by default, they have to come home from school, do their chores etc, and then they could request time, at which point I would grant the request and give them x number of hours screen time. This was very flexible and very easy to manage and meant that if they were banned for being naughty, I just did not give them any time that day.