Net Nanny Review

While really tech-savvy children can bypass its filters, Net Nanny is still an incredibly capable parental control tool

Updated: July 07,2022

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The balance between letting your child discover the magic of technology and keeping them safe from its dark side is a hard one to strike. Internet addiction, attention problems, eating and sleeping disorders are well-known consequences of inadequate screen time limitations. The answer to this very real struggle is another app, surprisingly: Parental monitoring software helps parents filter their children’s contact with the internet to preserve their safety and mental health. In our Net Nanny review, we’ll showcase one of the best solutions this market has to offer.

Net Nanny
Net Nanny
Price Range:
$39.99 - $89.99/year
mac logo
android logo
windows logo
  • Number of devices: up to 20
  • Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Kindle, Chromebook
  • Geofencing: No
  • Social media monitoring: Yes
  • Remote Management: Yes
  • Price range: $39.99 - $89.99 per year
  • Best price: $54.99 per year for five devices
pros thumb up Pros
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Powerful content filters
  • Parent Dashboard
pros thumb down Cons
  • Pricey
  • Easily bypassed with Tor

As one of the first companies that developed internet filtering software, Net Nanny has been on the front line for more than two decades, pioneering methods to keep children safe online.

Net Nanny Pricing

Pricing was our first criterion: If you compare the Net Nanny price with other child monitoring apps out there, you’ll immediately notice that it’s a high-end product. Fortunately, Net Nanny’s payment plans are versatile, so you can use it on a single computer, five computers and mobile devices, or twenty of them, depending on what you pay for.

The plans will cost you $39.99 per year, $54.99 per year, or $89.99 a year, respectively. The five-device plan will easily fit most families, but if you have a lot of kids with a lot of gadgets, you might decide to purchase Net Nanny to cover twenty bases, just in case.

The cheapest plan works only on PCs and Macs, but both multi-device plans work on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Fire OS. Unfortunately, there is no free trial available for any of them.

Net Nanny Features

Net Nanny’s features can protect your children from negative internet influences. It will help you set up screen time rules, prevent the installation or use of specific apps, and select which, if any, social media networks your child can use and for how long.

Let’s go over the options in detail to see why Net Nanny’s social media features make it one of the best apps for parental control out there.

Parental Control

Parental control is the primary purpose of this tool. Net Nanny automates all online parental monitoring that would otherwise have to be done manually. It ensures that your kids are browsing safely, limiting their viewing to appropriate content only.

The dynamic filter contextually analyzes every site your child visits. In other words, Net Nanny’s filtering technology lets you exclude adult content in real-time and manage the YouTube channels they watch. Our review of Net Nanny found that it will even send you alerts about your child’s online activity. All things considered, Net Nanny takes the cake for the best internet filtering – something all parents want.

net nanny review family feed

Screen Time Management

Limiting your child’s screen time is a must; however, literally taking a device out of their hands is an ordeal, especially as children get older and start spending more and more time in online social spaces. Thankfully, with Net Nanny, these troubles will become a thing of the past.

You can create a time schedule for each of your children, set up rules, and cut their time in front of the screen short with a single click from the Parent Dashboard. According to our Net Nanny review comparison, parents find that to be the easiest way to encourage their children to use their time on the internet more creatively.

The app lets you establish specific hours during which your children can use their phones, as well as cooldown periods. You can pause their device use or disconnect them from the internet – Net Nanny stops arguments about screen time with a couple of clicks.

Block Apps

App blocking on children’s phones is a fantastic parenting aid. Net Nanny for iPhone is one of the best applications to monitor their phone or any other device they use – and block their access to harmful software.

The Parent Dashboard shows you all the apps installed on a particular device, and you can block any of them with a single click. Whether your child can’t stop using Netflix, Uber, or Snapchat, you can quickly end the burgeoning addiction.

You will also receive alerts when your child installs a new app on their phone. Take advantage of Net Nanny’s App Advisor to learn what said app does, and save yourself the trouble of keeping in touch with the latest trends to prevent your child from partaking in them. Our testing and many positive Net Nanny reviews confirmed that this is a great help with managing your child’s app usage.

YouTube Monitoring

YouTube is a rabbit hole: You start with one video, and then, three hours later, you’re watching your sixtieth makeup tutorial.

Still, you’re an adult, and that should mean you have impulse control. On the other hand, kids are unlikely to be able to stop themselves from watching exciting and amusing videos, with new ones being uploaded every second.

You can block YouTube altogether with the app blocker, but you would be robbing your children of the useful YouTube content too. This is another situation where Net Nanny’s best internet filters can save the day. You can set up a profanity filter for light monitoring, track what your kids are searching for on the platform, review videos they’ve watched, etc. Combined with screen time management, it’s an excellent solution for keeping your children entertained without crossing any boundaries.

Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring is the solution all parents have been praying for. Social media has become a staple in everyone’s daily life, especially in recent times, but it can become dangerous for easily influenced younglings. At the time of writing this Net Nanny software review, there are dozens of hazardous challenges and games circulating on TikTok and Instagram, and your kid could easily be tempted to try one of them out.

However, you can’t isolate them from their friends either. Luckily, with Net Nanny, you can block or apply filters to social media apps on your children’s devices. That way, you don’t have to worry about dubious content that might pop up while they’re socializing – Net Nanny will block it before your kids can see it.

Net Nanny for Youtube and other social media doesn’t need an extensive setup. The fact that its content filters work on social media makes Net Nanny the best parental control app out there, especially since you don’t need to know your kids’ account passwords to keep them protected. Some of the social media platforms you can monitor and manage with Net Nanny are Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube. Of course, for very small kids or very worried parents, the option to block these apps altogether is always there. Net Nanny’s software makes the complicated issue of monitoring a child’s social media activity far less stressful, especially since you can’t look over your child’s shoulder all the time. 

Location Tracking

Back in the day, there was no way to check whether your kid was going where they said they would. You had to trust that they were at a sleepover, not a crazy party. Some parents would follow their teens around – many of you are reading this review of Net Nanny for the same reason.

Knowing where your child is at all times is a must, whether they consider it a violation of their privacy or not. However, instead of stalking them on foot, you can now download and install the Net Nanny Child app on their phone, which will allow you to check where your kid – and their phone, which is basically the same thing – is at all times.

This feature is another reason Net Nanny is the best phone-monitoring app for worried parents. You can locate your kids with total precision in real time or track their location history, as the app lets you display their movements within a certain time frame on a map. Still, this shouldn’t stop you from communicating with your child about trust and boundaries – you can just rely on Nanny’s Track Location feature to see how those talks are sinking in.

Parent Dashboard

Net Nanny consists of two different apps. The Net Nanny Child app doesn’t have many options, and it just serves to show them the screen time they spent and how much they have left. This app enables the app removal protection from the Parent Dashboard – a.k.a. The second Net Nanny app.

For this Net Nanny review, we compared it to other parental monitoring apps. Among them, Net Nanny is the only one with separate apps, which significantly lowers the chances of your child bypassing their limitations.

Net Nanny’s Parent Dashboard is every parent’s dream come true: They can stay updated about the child’s internet usage and keep an eye on their kids with a social-media-like dashboard. Your Family Feed displays the activity of all tracked family members and the device-usage information you need.

This is why Net Nanny is the best parental control app there is. Within the dashboard, you will be able to see your family members’ location, the amount of time they spent on their devices, and how much time they have left to use them. You can customize the rules for each member, too.

The “New events” tab in the notification section shows which applications your kids used, what kind of application it was, but also what search terms they used, and whether some of the results contained explicit content. This is also where the links to the YouTube videos they’re watching will appear.

net nanny website blocker

Net Nanny for Mobile – A Review

As mentioned before, Net Nanny is compatible with almost all operating systems, both on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. The program comes in two forms, one for kids and one for parents. While this makes the installation procedure a bit complicated, once Net Nanny is installed, this separation is hugely beneficial for the users.

You might be wondering why we dedicated a whole section to the mobile version of Net Nanny. Well, the app is so well thought out that we concluded that the best parental control software for Android users, and plenty of iOS users, too, merited an independent review.

The user interface is beautifully designed, and you can grasp its full functionality within minutes. The social-media-inspired feed grants you an excellent activity overview with timely and detailed notifications.

However, the apps don’t have a great reputation on Google Play or the App Store. Net Nanny’s scores on both are pretty disappointing, as a result of the “you either love it or hate it” impression it seems to leave with users.

On the plus side, every positive Net-Nanny-for-iPhone review says that this app brought parents the peace of mind they needed about their kid’s internet access, how it was easy to understand and use, and that it worked perfectly. On the other hand, negative reviews were also plentiful and complained about the app’s glitches, poor blocking performance, and the general slowdown it causes on the devices it’s installed on. Reviews for the Android version follow the same pattern.

However, Net Nanny’s customer support seems to have addressed many of these issues and offered further aid to anyone who needed it. Considering there is no Net Nanny free trial, we’re not very happy about the hit-or-miss experience this paid app seems to provide.

Customer Support

If things go south with your monitoring, Net Nanny’s customer support representatives can be reached via live chat or email. Since live chat is only available during working hours, sending an email is a safer bet.

Product Evolution 

Net Nanny merged with Zift in 2019, so now, this parental control app is also a part of Net Nanny’s offering. Former Zift users now have access to Net Nanny and the best features of both software solutions. 

Our Net Nanny review should mention one more useful feature. The latest version of Net Nanny allows you to create separate Windows profiles and logins for each family member, and its screen time management feature also extends to PCs. This means that the child can have the same Net Nanny profile on their phone and the PC.

How Does Net Nanny Compare to Other Parental Control Apps?
Net Nanny Review Logo
Net Nanny
$39.99 - $89.99/year
Location Tracking:
mac icon android icon windows icon
Qustodio Review Logo
$54.95 - $137.95/year
Location Tracking:
ios icon mac icon android icon windows icon

Qustodio vs Net Nanny

Good parental monitoring software needs to cover a lot of bases, so having a feature-rich app makes a difference. Qustodio is one of Net Nanny’s main competitors, so it’s only natural to compare the two programs. 

Most importantly, both cover various platforms, impose time limits and downtimes, block unwanted apps and websites, and offer geofencing. Interestingly, Qustodio has more web filtering categories than Net Nanny while also blocking unsupported browser apps on Android. Also, Net Nannys’ problems with getting circumvented by a good VPN or a Tor browser are a cause to consider other services if you have a tech-savvy youngster in your home. 

Qustodio also includes call and SMS monitoring for Android phones, which gives it an edge for mobile protection compared to Net Nanny. Furthermore, Qustodio has a free trial that will showcase all the premium features the program offers. 

For almost the same price as Net Nanny’s five-device plan, you will be able to cover the same number of devices with Qustodio. Considering that this option also gives you more tools to use, it’s hard not to recommend Qustodio as a better option between the two. 

Net Nanny vs Norton Family

Norton Family is another excellent program that can help your children learn safe online habits. It also has monitoring presets that depend on the child’s age. All websites visited by the youngling are analyzed with the help of an AI, and there are 47 categories to help you restrict your children’s web access. 

The same comprehensive tools that Net Nanny has are also available with Norton Family. However, the downside of Norton Family is the number of supported platforms, as it can only work on Windows, Android, and iOS. If your child is a Mac user, you will need Net Nanny social and media monitoring features. 

Norton doesn’t disclose how many devices you can use their program but instead asks you to contact support if you have issues adding a new device. 

With a similar price but inferior platform support compared to Net Nanny, we would have to give Norton Family a pass.

Bottom Line

In theory, Net Nanny is an excellent way to ensure your children’s safety on the internet. However, while it performed admirably in our tests, some competitors simply offer more features for a similar price. We can’t disregard the fact that Net Nanny’s parental control software left many users wanting, especially when it comes to optimization. Things have improved drastically with newer versions, though.

Another thing we’d like to see is a trial version of the software, so potential users could judge for themselves whether it is worth the relatively high price. Nevertheless, Net Nanny is a solid choice for multi-platform parental control, and the company keeps improving its software, so we give it kudos for that.

How much does Net Nanny cost?

Net Nanny has yearly plans for one, five, and twenty devices, for $39.99, $54.99, and $89.99, respectively.

Can Net Nanny be bypassed?

Unfortunately, yes. If you have a tech-savvy teen in the house, installing Net Nanny or any other software with the same purpose might not be the life-saver you want it to be. Net Nanny can be easily fooled with a strong VPN or a specialized browser like Tor.

Is Net Nanny any good?

Net Nanny is an excellent solution for parents looking to filter the content their kids are exposed to and monitor their activities online. For example, Net Nanny will notify you if your child is trying to open blocked content. We tested its capabilities as part of our Net Nanny review, so we can confidently say that, yes, Net Nanny does its job quite well.

How does Net Nanny work?

Net Nanny employs smart contextual filters that go through every page accessed on a networked device in real-time, rather than relying on a list of websites with inappropriate content. This is its edge over the competition, as it’s better at recognizing and protecting against content kids shouldn’t have access to.