Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark 2024

Although Aura is a top name in identity theft protection, its bundled parental controls don’t outperform Bark. Bark parental control software provides comprehensive monitoring, surveillance, and location services to help keep kids safe online.
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Best for Bundled Security

4.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Aura Parental Controls's website

Aura Parental Controls
  • Blocks harmful content on mobile devices
  • Unlimited devices
  • Lacks location tracking and monitoring features

Best Overall Parental Control App

4.7
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Bark Premium's website

Bark Premium
  • Machine learning catches the latest slang and keywords
  • Screens content across 19 categories
  • Activity can only be viewed if it’s triggered

In today’s world, kids and pre-teens get access to phones much earlier than ever. A study performed by Stanford Medicine found that by age 12, nearly 75% of adolescents already had access to a smartphone.[1] Cyberthreats are ever present for kids, from gaming platforms to social media and messaging apps. Parental control software allows parents to teach healthy cyber habits and monitor their child’s usage by setting up filters and restrictions and even blocking entire websites.

Aura offers plans that include parental controls, identity theft protection, and other top-notch services. Better yet, we like that Bark offers a set of extensive monitoring capabilities and location services — two essential features of parental control apps. In this review, we will dive into the specifics of pricing, monitoring and alert features, usability, and more. And if neither Aura Parental Controls nor Bark offers the coverage your family needs, we also recommend more of the best parental control apps.

In this article
Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark review at a glance
Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark: prices
Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark: monitoring and alerts
Which is safer, Aura Parental Controls or Bark?
Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark: compatibility and customer support
Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark FAQs
Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark: Which is better?

Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark review at a glance

At first glance, these two parental control services are similar. Both offer the ability to block and filter websites and apps, managing what your child can and can’t see on the internet. Additionally, they both offer screen time limits. On closer inspection, we found that these parental control software services have some notable differences, namely their monitoring capabilities.

While Aura offers alerts for cyberbullying and online predator threats through gaming platforms, it doesn’t offer any monitoring for social media, text messages, or emails. Conversely, Bark offers extensive monitoring for social media, text messages, and emails, as well as videos and images. Additionally, Aura doesn’t offer location tracking, while Bark services include location tracking and geo-fencing.

  • Aura: Best for bundled cybersecurity
  • Bark: Best overall parental control app

Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark compared

Starting price $8.33-$20.00/mo $5.00–$39.00/mo
Free version
Max number of protected devices Unlimited Unlimited
Web filtering
Screen time limits
Location tracking
Activity reports
Learn more Get Aura Parental Controls

Read Aura Parental Controls Review

Get Bark

Read Bark Review

Aura Parental Controls pros and cons

Pros
  • Ultimate Family plan comes with Aura’s top-notch identity theft protection
  • Comes paired with a password manager, VPN, and antivirus
  • Offers alerts for cyberbullying and online predator threats through gaming platforms
Cons
  • Lacks location tracking and geo-fencing features
  • Doesn’t include social media, text message, or email monitoring

Bark pros and cons

Pros
  • Includes location tracking and geo-fencing features
  • Offers social media, text message, email, video, and image monitoring
  • Monitors 30+ social media apps
Cons
  • Activity can only be viewed if it’s triggered
  • Alerts are delayed

Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark: prices

Price range $8.33-$20.00/mo $5.00–$39.00/mo
Best value plan Aura Ultimate Family for $20.00/mo (billed annually) Bark Premium for $14.00/mo
Free trial Yes — 14 days Yes — 7 days
Money-back guaranteeYes — 60 days Yes — 30 days
Get Aura Parental Controls

Read Aura Parental Controls Review

Get Bark

Read Bark Review

Aura Parental Controls plans

Aura has two plans: Aura Parental Controls and Aura Ultimate Family. Aura Parental Controls covers one adult and unlimited children. Its best for those who are solely seeking parental controls. 

Aura Ultimate Family plan covers five adults and unlimited children. It's best for families who want comprehensive coverage, including identity theft protection, credit monitoring, and parental controls.

  • Aura Parental Controls: This plan includes website filters and blocks, screen time management, and online predator alerts while gaming. It also comes with cybersecurity tools like antivirus, VPN, a password manager, and a sensitive files vault. 
  • Aura Ultimate Family: This plan comes with everything in Parental Controls plus child SSN monitoring and three-bureau credit freeze for your child. It also provides identity monitoring features, financial fraud protection, and identity theft insurance for adults on the plan.

 Aura offers a free 14-day trial that requires payment information upfront, as well as a 60-day money-back guarantee on annual plans.

Bark plans

Bark offers four plans for families to choose from. Bark plans are all designed to help parents work cooperatively with their children to monitor content, set screen time limits, and overall, protect kids online. Bark Jr. is their most basic plan, perfect for younger kids. The Bark phone is a product designed to keep your child safe online. 

  • Bark Jr: Includes features like manage screen time, filter websites, and location check-ins.
  • Bark Home: Includes the ability to block apps and websites, set screen time limits, filter content, and pause the internet.
  • Bark Premium: Offers text and app surveillance, alerts for concerning content, website and app blocking, screen time limits, location tracking, and the ability to pause the internet.
  • Bark Phone: Bark’s highest level of protection offers built-in social media monitoring, text and app monitoring, alerts for concerning content, website and app blocking, screen time limits, location tracking, approve/deny contacts, and the ability to pause or disable the internet.

Bark offers a free seven-day trial but requires payment information upfront.

Winner: Bark. Aura and Bark offer compelling parental control solutions, but Aura is missing key components like social media, text message, and email monitoring, as well as location tracking, which are important in helping kids stay safe online and offline.

Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark: monitoring and alerts

Feature
Our Pick
Website filtering Yes — gambling, chat forums, dating, explicit content Yes — gambling, chat forums, social media, explicit content
App filtering Yes — Amazon, Facebook, Fortnite, Hulu, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, Minecraft, and more Yes — Facebook, GroupMe, Kik, Instagram, Slack, Spotify, WhatsApp, and more
Social media monitoring Yes — Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, Tumblr
Text message monitoring
Email monitoring
Internet search monitoring
Screen time limits
Remote lock
Cyberbullying and online predator alerts
Location tracking
Geo-fencing
Activity reports
Learn more Get Aura Parental Controls

Read Aura Parental Controls Review

Get Bark

Read Bark Review

When you break it down, Aura’s parental control offering is really identity theft protection, with some parental control features built in. The most glaring discrepancy is Aura’s lack of monitoring. While Aura does offer website and app blocking, as well as cyberbullying alerts from online gaming, there really is no way for parents to monitor what’s being sent via email or text message. Plus, Aura doesn’t offer typical parental control location services, like location tracking or geo-fencing. This isn’t a total deal breaker, as these features are important components of keeping kids safe offline, while Aura really specializes in online cybersecurity. So if you’re more interested in bundled online protection, the Aura Ultimate Family plan will comprehensively cover you.

Aura Parental Controls' screen time management feature with settings for online activity, online history, content filtering, time limits, safe search, and devices.
Aura Parental Controls dashboard

Aura's safe search features for search engines and YouTube restricted mode.
Aura Parental Controls safe search feature

Aura's parental controls lets you see how much time each child spends online, blocked activity, and more.
Aura Parental Controls screen time managment

But as far as standalone parental control apps go, we were impressed by Bark’s robust filtering and monitoring features. In addition to text and email, Bark offers social media, photo, and video monitoring. Bark’s content screens span over 18 categories, and the app library reaches over 30 popular apps, like Discord and TikTok, to help keep kids safe on social media apps. We also appreciate Bark’s location services. Bark not only offers location tracking but also a location alert feature. This feature automatically alerts parents when your child arrives at a location you’ve added to their account.

Bark allows you to set rules for different times of day, such as bedtime.
Bark screen time management

Bark lets you filter apps and content based on different categories, such as dangerous organizations, depression, and hate speech.
Bark monitoring settings

Bark sends out weekly reports summarizing your child's activity over the last 7 days.
Bark monitoring insights dashboard

Winner: For families looking for robust parental control software, Bark is the clear winner, offering social media, text message, email, photo, and video monitoring, in addition to location services, app filtering, and website blocking.

Which is safer, Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark?

When it comes to parental control software, security is a major concern. When we were comparing products, we looked for a minimum of two-factor authentication, such as a verification code. Even though multi-factor authentication, such as a security question or biometric screening, is preferred, most parental control apps don't offer this feature. 

Since parental control software services monitor your child’s accounts and profiles, a certain amount of data collection is expected. Registration information, account information for online profiles, location services, and web forms are examples of data we expect these products to collect.

Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark data security

Our Pick
Two-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication
Collects data
Shares data with third parties
Learn more Get Aura Parental Controls

Read Aura Parental Controls Review

Get Bark

Read Bark Review

At a bare minimum, we expect to see two-factor authentication as a base layer of security. While Bark does provide two-factor authentication, it’s disappointing to see Aura’s lack of additional login security. We appreciate Bark’s transparent privacy policy and appreciate their protection of sensitive, personal information.

Winner: Bark offers two-factor authentication and doesn’t share information with third parties, so we give this win to Bark.

Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark: compatibility and customer support

Our Pick
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Browser extensions Yes — Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox Yes — Chrome, Microsoft Edge
24/7 customer support
Customer support options Phone, email, forums, online guides Live chat, email, forums, online guides
Learn more Get Aura Parental Controls

Read Aura Parental Controls Review

Get Bark

Read Bark Review

In our testing, we found Bark’s interface to be really accessible. Installing the software and setting up our account was easy and intuitive, but adding all the accounts to monitor was a little time-intensive. We were impressed with Bark’s vast array of resources. Bark’s YouTube channel, linked on the Contact Page, has dozens of tutorials on everything from setting up your Bark account to utilizing monitoring features. While Bark doesn’t have a customer support phone number, the online guides and support articles are thorough. We used the chat feature, and the bot eventually answered our question but routed us to several articles first.

Our experience with Aura, however, was not as smooth. We tried to access the portal through Safari, which didn’t work. Then, we couldn’t get the service to accept our credentials when using our iPad. We used the customer service bot, and our question wasn’t sufficiently answered, but it directed us to the customer service phone number. We called during normal business hours and, after a 10-minute hold, talked to a customer service representative who answered our question quickly and thoroughly.

Winner: For compatibility, interface, and customer service, we give the win to Bark. The interface and usability were easy and intuitive, whereas with Aura, we had difficulty accessing the portal. While we usually prefer a phone number, Bark’s robust library of online tutorials and guides answered all our questions without having to wait on hold or request a callback.

Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark FAQs


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Is Aura better than Bark for parental control?

When it comes to determining if Aura is better than Bark, you need to take into account what you’re looking for. Aura is a rock-solid solution for families looking for online identity protection since it also offers online security features, like a password manager, VPN, dark web monitoring, and SSN monitoring. 

But if you’re looking for dedicated parental control software that offers monitoring services, Bark is a better choice.


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Which app is better than Bark?

There are many factors to consider when choosing a parental control app for your family. Price, features, the age of your kids, and what they’re interested in online are all things to consider before choosing which service is best for you. Bark may not be the best fit for your family. If you’re still uncertain, look at our guide to the best parental control apps. We compare Bark, Norton Family, Net Nanny, Kaspersky Safe Kids, and Aura Parental Controls to help you find the best fit for your family.


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Is Bark worth it?

According to our survey on social media and kids, 23% of parents check their children’s internet history at least once per day. A parental control app like Bark helps make that more manageable. Bark screens content across 18+ categories and monitors over 30 apps for potentially inappropriate content, so we believe Bark is worth it.


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Is Aura Parental Controls good?

If you’re wondering if Aura Parental Controls is worth your money, it really comes down to whether you want Aura’s bundled protection or a more robust, standalone parental control app. Aura doesn’t offer social media, text message, or email monitoring, nor does it include geo-tracking. Even still, Aura’s parental controls are powered by Circle, so it does alert you to cyberbullying, offer safe gaming, and monitor your child’s identity online in case of identity theft.


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Why are Aura plans pricey?

Aura’s parental control plans are more expensive than other parental control apps because they include an antivirus, a VPN, a password manager, and other features. If you’re considering the Aura identity theft protection plans in addition to parental controls, then the Aura Family plan is a great option. But if you’re specifically looking for just parental control software, Aura is on the pricier side, with fewer options than some competitors.

Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark: which is better?

If you’re serious about keeping your kids safe online, it’s worth investing in parental control software. For a standalone parental control app, we recommend Bark.

Bark offers an extensive monitoring suite and a more robust parental control setup. Bark’s software monitors text messages, emails, photos, and videos for over 18 content categories and alerts parents of potentially dangerous conversations or images. Bark also offers location services and geo-fencing so you can rest easy that your child is where they should be.

Conversely, Aura offers features to protect your child’s identity, like Social Security number monitoring, and safe gaming to offer parents peace of mind while their kids game online. Cyberbullying and online predator threat alerts offer an additional layer of security. However, Aura’s lack of monitoring and location services is a big miss in our book. But if you’re looking for an identity theft protection service for your child that has a few parental control bonuses built in, Aura could be a good option for you.

Aura Parental Controls vs. Bark alternatives

There are many factors to consider when choosing a parental control app for your family, including features and price. If you aren’t sure if Aura or Bark is right for your family, there are more of the best parental control apps that might suit your family’s needs:

  • Kaspersky Safe Kids: Kaspersky Safe Kids allows parents to monitor their child’s online presence by surveying social media posts, texts, web history, and YouTube history. In addition to monitoring, Kaspersky Safe Kids also offers geo-location and notifications if your child leaves the approved area.

    Read Our Kaspersky Safe Kids Review
  • Qustodio: Qustodio allows parents to manage their children’s digital activity through screen time limits, website and app filters, location alerts, and YouTube activity monitoring, all for an affordable monthly price.

    Read Our Qustodio Review
4.7
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Bark Premium's website
Bark Premium
  • Machine learning catches the latest slang and keywords
  • Screens content across 19 categories
  • Activity can only be viewed if it’s triggered
Author Details
Courtney Daybell is a professional writer interested in online privacy. With a bachelor's degree in communications from Brigham Young University, she has written for more than 15 years with a strong foundation in print journalism.