Insights on Parental Control Industry

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Insights on Parental Control Industry

This report provides an overview of the parental control app industry. Part (A) includes insights on emerging trends in the industry, including the rise of cyberbullying and growth in the European market. Part (B) provides insights on the most popular parental control apps. Part (C) provides insights on challenges the industry is facing.

Part (A): This section provides insights on emerging trends in the parental control apps industry.

Cyberbullying is Driving Interest

  • Cyberbullying is defined as internet violence occurring when perpetrators verbally assault users on social media.
  • Cyberbullying has increased from affecting 11.5 percent of children in 2014 to 20 percent in 2017.
  • The rise in cyberbullying is fueling interest in parental control apps.
  • Bark, an app that monitors incoming and outgoing messages, was recently credited for saving a girl's life.
  • Bark has sent 20,000 severe alerts to parents for cyberbullying.
  • As more parents become aware of the potential of monitoring cyberbullying through apps, the usage of parental control apps that offer these features is expected to rise.

Europe is the Fastest Growing Market

  • Europe is anticipated to be the fastest growing market for parental control software with a CAGR of 10.23 percent.
  • Europe was the second-largest market for parental control software in 2017 with a value of $436.15 million.
  • North America is anticipated to have the second-fastest growing market for parental control software with a CAGR of 8.63 percent.
  • North America has the largest current market for parental control software with a value of $705.81 million in 2017.
  • Asia-Pacific has the third-largest share of the market, representing 16.5 percent of the global market share.

Part (B): This section includes insights on the top parental control apps in the industry, with Life360 being a strong standout. Data for this section was difficult to obtain; full details are in the Research Strategy section.

Downloads for Top Parental Control Apps on Google Play

  • Norton Family parental control is listed at 1,000,000+ downloads.
  • Qustodio is listed at 1,000,000+ downloads.
  • Kaspersky Safe Kids is listed at 1,000,000+ downloads.
  • MMGuardian is listed at 1,000,000+ downloads.
  • Screen Time is listed at 500,000+ downloads.
  • ESET Parental Control is listed at 500,000+ downloads.
  • OurPact is listed at 100,000+ downloads.
  • Mobicip is listed at 100,000+ downloads.
  • Bark is listed at 50,000+ downloads.
  • NetNanny is listed at 10,000+ downloads.

Most Downloaded Parental Control Apps in January 2020 According to Sensor Tower

  • Life360 for iPhone had 2 million downloads in January 2020.
  • Kasperksy Safe Kids for Android had 100,000 downloads in January 2020.
  • OurPact for iPhone had 60,000 downloads in January 2020.
  • Qustodio for iPhone had 40,000 downloads in January 2020.
  • Screen Time for iPhone had 30,000 downloads in January 2020.
  • MMGuardian for Android had 30,000 downloads in January 2020.
  • ESET Parental Control for Android had 10,000 downloads in January 2020.
  • Norton Family Parental Control for Android had less than 5,000 downloads in January 2020.
  • Net Nanny for iPhone had less than 5,000 downloads in January 2020.
  • Mobicip for iPhone had less than 5,000 downloads in January 2020.

Additional Insights on the Number of Users for Selected Parental Control Apps

Research Strategy

The research team began with a high-level search on the most popular, most downloaded, and most used parental control apps; however, public information related to the number of users was not widely available after an exhaustive search.

The research team then identified several market analysis reports that list the "major players" in the parental control app industry, such as a 2019 research report and a 2018 research report. The research team reasoned that major players in the industry would have a substantial role in the current marketplace. After comparing three such reports and identifying the most commonly mentioned companies, however, at least one particular company mentioned in all three reports (Avanquest) no longer manufactures parental control software and has not since approximately 2010. Based on this significant fault, the research team decided not to rely on market research reports to identify the true major players in the industry.

The research team then began looking for revenue data by manufacturer. However, while some manufacturers (such as Net Nanny) make only one product, others (such as AT&T) make several. The research team attempted a search that would separate revenue streams for AT&T to see if this data could be triangulated, but this information was not available on their financial reports.

The research team attempted to search for the most-downloaded or reviewed apps on the iPhone App Store; however, Apple removed 11 of 17 of the parental control apps in 2019. While many have returned, this reset the number of ratings and downloads on the affected products and was thus determined to be an inaccurate tool for measurement.

On Google Play, which provides apps for Android devices, the exact number of downloads is not provided. However, the research team utilized a combination of third party lists of the best parental control software (,,,, and to determine the 10 most commonly-cited products. These were: Bark, Qustodio, Kaspersky Safe Kids, Norton Family Premier, Net Nanny, Mobicip, OurPact, Screen Time, MMGuardian, and ESET Parental Control. The Google Play downloads approximation for each of these products was then provided. Only one of the five lists utilized listed Life360, which was searched for based on a site that noted it as having 50 million users. Searching for this app on Google Play revealed it to have the highest number of users by far, indicating that top 10 lists from third parties are not indicative of number of users.

The research team identified an external website, Sensor Tower, which provides data on downloads per month. Data from this site for the previously identified 10 most commonly-cited apps (plus Life360) was also provided, with the most popular platform (iPhone or Android) option for the app listed.

Part (C): This section provides insights on challenges faced by the parental control apps industry.

Insights on Challenges in the Parental Control Industry

  • Circumvention: Tech-savvy children and teenagers are able to circumvent an app's GPS tracking by disabling airplane mode, according to Corey King, Public Affairs for Kentucky State Police.
  • Circumvention: Tech-savvy children and teenagers have been able to disable the effectiveness of screen time-monitoring apps by changing the time settings in their devices.
  • Negative reviews: Children and teenagers are reviewing parental control apps online. Two thirds of the time, the reviews they post are one out of five star reviews, artificially decreasing apps' ratings. By comparison, parents tend to rate similar apps four out of five stars.
  • Platform interference: In 2019, Apple removed or restricted 11 of 17 of the most popular parental control apps because they used Mobile Device Management (MDM), which Apple contends gives manufacturers control over a users device and data. Competitors contend that the move was done because the apps had functionality beyond Apple's Screen Time parental control software.
  • Heavy processing: Some apps require large amounts of processing power and can slow down devices or cause them to crash. Manufacturers are thus actively looking for ways to trim down their software while retaining its functionality.
  • Heavy processing and ads: Free versions of apps, such as AppLock, cause slowdown on devices as a result of ads.


  • "Corey King, Public Affairs for Kentucky State Police, says while these apps may provide peace of mind for parents, each of the apps on the market can be hacked or spoofed in a way that won’t allow 100 percent accuracy. “Even though it’s better than nothing and raises awareness, there are many ways to trick or disable the most-used tracking apps,” King said, giving the example of enabling a phone’s airplane mode to prevent GPS tracking."
  • "That’s not the case, says Apple. In a response to a fan’s concern about the article’s revelations, Apple VP Phil Schiller explains that Apple recently “became aware that some parental management apps were using a technology called Mobile Device Management or “MDM” and installing an MDM Profile as a method to limit and control use of these devices. ...The MDM technology is not intended to enable a developer to have access to and control over consumers’ data and devices, but the apps we removed from the store did just that.”"
  • "Major market player included in this report are: AT&T Inc., Avanquest S.A., AVAST Software s.r.o., Bitdefender, Clean Router, Symantec, Kaspersky, Qustodio, Meet Circle, Blue Coat Systems, Net Nanny, AVG, KidLogger, OpenDNS, Webroot."
  • "The key players in the global parental control software market include- McAfee (U.S.), Avanquest (France), Bitdefender (Balkans), Verizon (U.S.), CyberPatrol (England), IwantSoft (UK), SaferKid (California), Net Nanny (U.S.), Norton (U.S.), Webroot (U.S.) and Mobicip (U.S.) among others."
  • "Industry PlayersThe global parental control market report profiles some of the leading players in the market and analyzes their key strategies. The major players in the market are ATT Inc., Avanquest S.A., AVAST Software s.r.o., Bitdefender, CLEAN ROUTER, Circle Media Inc., Webroot Inc., DLink, Dojo, Google LLC, IwantSoft, Inc., Kaspersky,, McAfee, Mobicip, Net Nanny, Verizon, Sprint, Netgear Inc., OpenDNS, Inc., Qustodio LLC, Safer Kid, Inc., Symantec Corporation, T-Mobile US, Inc."
  • "Fast, effective, and reliable, the Safe EyesTM Parental Control Software is the ideal online protection for your entire family!"
  • "Samsung’s Kids Mode provides a solution to these problems, creating a free and easy-to-use interface on smartphones and tablets that is simple to control and monitor, while providing plenty of fun and educational apps for children. Indeed, already Kids Mode has gained 1.9 million monthly active users and supports 2,500 child-friendly apps and video content, with more appearing all the time."
  • "Net Nanny "
  • "The solutions we tested, in no particular order: CleanBrowsing. Mobicip. Bark. Qustodio. MM Guardian. SaferKids. Boomerang. OurPact. NetSanity. Screen Time (iOS). Family Link (Android). Net Nanny (formerly called Zift). Kaspersky Safe Kids. Norton Family Premier."
  • "Parenting styles run the gamut and so do the features in parental control and monitoring utilities. We've tested the top hardware- and software-based services to help you choose the right one for your family."
  • "An overview of parental control apps, the services they provide, and how they can help you protect your children and teens."
  • "Keep your kids safe on their phones with the best parental control apps"
  • "The best parental control apps offer ways to limit time spent on devices, track usage and location, and block apps or games."
  • "Children are able to hack their way around it: Yes, several of these apps specially Apple’s Screen Time app was defeated by kids through simple mediums like changing the mobile’s default times or reinstalling the apps they wanted to play on. On the other hand, Kids Place parental control app solves this problem by creating a different interface for the kids on the same phone. It prevents kids from buying or downloading apps and changing any kinds of settings by keeping them all password protected."
  • "The survey showed about 20%, or one in five students, reported being bullied, ranging from rumors or being excluded to threats and physical attacks in the 2016-17 school year. That’s unchanged from the previous survey done in 2014-15. But in that two-year span, cyberbullying reports increased significantly, from 11.5% to 15.3%."
  • "The free version of this app is really ad-heavy and does tend to cause devices to run a little bit slower."