Bark vs. Norton Family 2024: Robust Monitoring vs. Comprehensive Web Filtering

It’s a close call: Norton is a top name in cybersecurity, but its parental controls don’t outperform Bark. Norton offers key features like web filtering, screen time limits, and location services, but Bark provides comprehensive monitoring across devices.
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Best for Comprehensive Monitoring

4.7
Editorial Rating
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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

Best Web Filtering for Android Users

4.5
Editorial Rating
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On Norton Family's website

Norton Family
  • Excels at app blocking and content filtering across 47 categories
  • Offers age-specific restriction levels to enhance safety and unlimited device connections
  • Not compatible with macOS and offers fewer monitoring features for iOS

Choosing the right parental control app hinges on identifying specific needs. Bark is ideal for prioritizing social media monitoring and alerts on emails, text messages, and social media apps. In contrast, Norton Family is better for families seeking robust web content filtering for Android devices. Each offers unique features to match different parental concerns, from managing screen time to tracking a child's location. 

Discover the best parental control apps tailored to protect your family online. Below, we delve deeper into the advantages of Bark and Norton Family with a detailed side-by-side comparison.

In this article
Bark vs. Norton Family review at a glance
Bark vs. Norton Family: prices
Bark vs. Norton Family: monitoring and alerts
Which is safer, Bark vs. Norton Family?
Bark vs. Norton Family: compatibility and customer support
Bark vs. Norton Family FAQs
Bark vs. Norton Family: which is better?

Bark vs. Norton Family review at a glance

In the quest for the best parental control app, families often compare Bark and Norton Family. Bark is celebrated for its social media monitoring and alerts for emails, texts, and social media apps, making it a powerful tool for safeguarding children online. Norton Family, recognized for its robust web content filtering on Android devices, provides a solid foundation for managing screen time effectively.

  • Bark: Best for comprehensive monitoring
  • Norton Family: Best web filtering for Android users

Bark vs. Norton Family compared

Starting price $5.00/mo $49.99/first yr
Free version
Free trial Yes — 7 days Yes — 30 days
Max number of protected devices Unlimited Unlimited
Web filtering
Screen time limits
Location tracking
Activity reports
Learn more Get Bark

Read Bark Review

Get Norton Family

Read Norton Family Review

Bark pros and cons

Pros
  • Top parental control software with email, social media, and text message monitoring
  • Comprehensive alerts and insights for risks, including violence, drug/alcohol use, cyberbullying, and mental health concerns
  • Google Family Link is compatible
Cons
  • No 24/7 live chat support
  • Alerts do not occur in real-time

Norton Family pros and cons

Pros
  • A convenient dashboard centralizes control
  • Excels at app blocking and content filtering across 47 categories
  • Age-specific restriction levels enhance safety
Cons
  • Limitations on iOS devices, such as a lack of app monitoring capabilities
  • Missing in-depth alert functions for texts, content categories, emails, etc.

Bark vs. Norton Family: prices

Best Value
Price range $5.00–$39.00/mo $49.99/first yr
Best value plan Bark Premium for $14.00/mo Norton Family for $49.99/first yr
Learn more Get Bark

Read Bark Review

Get Norton Family

Read Norton Family Review

Bark plans

Bark tailors its offerings to fit various budgets and monitoring needs for your child's online activity. It invites new users to test its features with a 7-day free trial, though signing up requires a credit card. Bark offers both annual and monthly subscriptions, with fees kicking in if not canceled before the trial's end. Below is an overview of Bark's plans, including their starting prices and key features:

  • Bark Jr.: At $5.00/mo, this budget-friendly option includes:
    • Screen time management
    • Selective website and app blocking or filtering
    • Location alerts for your child’s check-ins and arrivals
  • Bark Home: Starting at $6.00/mo, Bark Home acts as an internet filter with features like:
    • Specific website blocking or filtering offering coverage across 18 web content categories, including adult content, violence, and online gaming
    • Internet "pause" functionality
    • Managing screen time schedules
  • Bark Premium: Stands out as the best deal available at $14.00/mo, offering:
    • In-depth monitoring of text messages, emails, and over 30 social media platforms
    • Precise blocking or filtering of websites and apps
    • Effective screen time management
    • Detailed insights into internet use and conversations, including potential dangers like cyberbullying, online predators, or mental health concerns
  • Bark Phone: The most thorough plan, starting at $39.00/mo + cost of phone, enables you to:
    • Access a Samsung Galaxy A13 device operating on Bark Wireless network
    • Monitor texts, emails, social media, and app usage
    • Customize alert settings
    • Receive detailed activity reports for your child’s phone

Each of Bark’s plans is compatible with Google Family Link, one of the best free parental control apps for online safety. While Bark Phone is tailored for Android phones, it’s also compatible with iOS devices. For iOS users, look at our guide on setting up parental controls on iOS devices.

Norton Family plans

Norton Family customizes its online safety measures based on the unique needs of minors, especially young children, setting age-appropriate limits. This approach allows for scrutiny of websites and apps. Norton Family also provides location tracking and remote locking features. With the Norton Family plan, parents can explore a 30-day free trial that requires a credit card for registration, accompanied by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Norton Family: Norton Family excels in blocking access to websites across 47 content categories, along with app management and location tracking for timely updates on children’s whereabouts. However, it fails to deliver detailed alerts about online activities, and the software is incompatible with macOS. Some key features, like social media monitoring and app filtering, are limited and only available on Android devices, not iOS.

Winner: Bark shines as the top value choice for its detailed monitoring capabilities. It effectively oversees social media, texts, and emails and provides robust screen time and location tracking, ensuring thorough online safety for children.

Bark vs. Norton Family: monitoring and alerts

Our Pick
Website filtering Yes — 18 categories, including sexual content, online gaming, streaming services, ecommerce, weapons, AI chatbots & tools, illegal, and more. Yes — 47 categories, including mature content, social networking, hate, crime, cyberbullying, tobacco, alcohol, and more.
App filtering Yes — YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Discord, Spotify, among others. Yes — YouTube, Google, Facebook, Netflix, TikTok, Telegram, and more.

*This feature is not available in the iOS app.
Social media monitoring Yes — Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Spotify, and Twitter. Yes, limited monitoring for Android — Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and more.
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 Bark

Read Bark Review

Get Norton Family

Read Norton Family Review

In comparing Bark vs. Norton Family for the best parental control app, each platform shines in specific areas, catering to diverse parental concerns regarding their child's online activity. Bark is the premier choice for social media monitoring and safeguarding children from online risks. Its strengths lie in comprehensive monitoring of text messages, emails, and social media platforms, making it a standout among the best parental control apps for those prioritizing alert systems for cyberbullying, substance use, and mental health indicators.

Bark list of monitoring sensitivity, including bullying, anxiety, depression, etc.

Bark offers comprehensive monitoring for risks like anxiety, bullying, depression, and more.


Example of Bark content monitoring alerts for apps and email.

Bark’s categorized alerts. In this example, alerts are provided for the Spotify and Gmail apps. By clicking on Spotify alerts, you can view the song and lyrics that have been flagged for particular content. For Gmail alerts, Bark will display the flagged email content while displaying the sender’s email.

Norton Family, on the other hand, excels as the best parental control software for web filtering and app blocking, offering unparalleled protection across 47 content categories. Its age-specific restrictions and location tracking features position it as a top parental control app for Android devices and parents seeking screen time management.

Norton Family web category blocks

This image displays an overview of web categories that Norton Family blocks. Restriction levels, ranging from very high to low, are tailored to different age groups under 18. Custom tailoring is also offered.


Norton Family YouTube and Hulu video monitoring feature
Norton Family monitoring feature of YouTube and other video platform history

Both Bark and Norton Family provide essential parental controls, including location tracking and screen time limits, essential for managing device usage and ensuring a child’s online safety. However, Norton Family stands out for Android users with its detailed app blocking and web content filtering. At the same time, Bark leads in social media monitoring and alert capabilities, setting a high standard for parental control apps.

For parents with children, we encourage you to explore our seven safety tips on how to stay safe on social media.

Winner: For overall features, Bark leads with superior social media monitoring and real-time alerts, making it the top choice for comprehensive child safety online.

Which is safer, Bark vs. Norton Family?

When it comes to choosing between Bark and Norton Family for parental control software, security is a paramount concern. Effective parental control apps offer security features, such as two-factor authentication, ensuring that access to the app's settings and sensitive information is securely guarded.

Both Bark and Norton Family commit to minimal data collection, focusing solely on what's necessary for account administration, payment processing, and essential monitoring functionalities. While both share data with third parties, this is typically for enhancing service capabilities and the user experience.

Bark vs. Norton Family data security

Two-factor authentication
Collects data Minimal Minimal
Shares data with third parties
Learn more Get Bark

Read Bark Review

Get Norton Family

Read Norton Family Review

Both Bark and Norton Family provide two-factor authentication, a crucial first line of defense against unauthorized access. However, neither offers multi-factor authentication, leaving a gap that could be tightened with future updates. While minimal, their approach to data collection and sharing underscores the importance of transparency and user control over personal information.

Winner: Tied. Both Bark and Norton Family excel in data security with two-factor authentication and minimal data collection. The choice depends on your specific needs, as both offer solid foundations for keeping your child's online experience safe.

Bark vs. Norton Family: compatibility and customer support

Our Pick
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Browser extensions Yes — Chrome, Microsoft Edge Yes — Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge
24/7 customer support
Customer support options Direct messaging within the app; helpful videos, quizzes, and blogs are also offered. 24/7 live chat support
Learn more Get Bark

Read Bark Review

Get Norton Family

Read Norton Family Review

When comparing the compatibility and customer support of Bark and Norton Family, both services offer robust solutions tailored to safeguarding children online. Yet, they cater to different user needs and device ecosystems. Bark's compatibility stretches across many devices, including iPhones, iPads, iPods, Android phones and tablets, Amazon Fire devices, Chromebooks, computers/laptops, and even gaming consoles. This extensive support ensures that Bark can provide monitoring and protection no matter what device your child uses. Norton Family, while offering solid support for Windows, Android, and iOS, faces limitations on iOS devices, potentially affecting the user experience for Apple device users.

Norton Family dashboard

Norton Family activity summary dashboard with limited iOS compatibility


Both platforms offer tailored customer support options, with Norton Family standing out for its 24/7 live chat support, a valuable resource for immediate assistance. Bark, while lacking round-the-clock live support, facilitates direct messaging within the app for user convenience. Each service's interface is designed with user-friendliness in mind. However, Bark’s broad device compatibility, paired with its intuitive design, slightly tips the scale in its favor for a more seamless user experience across diverse digital environments.

Bark parental control software dashboard

While Bark's interface is both user-friendly and visually appealing with its vibrant design, it differs from Norton Family's centralized control panel. To access various features in Bark, parents need to navigate and select each parental control app feature (e.g., monitoring or screen time) individually for detailed views.


Considering these factors, Bark's expansive device compatibility and user-friendly interface make it a highly versatile choice for parents managing a range of technology in their household. Norton Family's dedicated 24/7 customer support is commendable, but its limited functionality on iOS devices might be a consideration for families heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem.

Norton Family dashboard complete overview

Norton Family conveniently centralizes its parental control management features in the dashboard. However, it does not support app filtering for iOS devices.

Winner: Bark. For families seeking wide-ranging device compatibility, Bark is the standout choice, offering comprehensive monitoring across everything from mobile devices to gaming consoles. But Norton Family shines for those prioritizing accessible, round-the-clock support, despite its limited functionality on iOS.

Bark vs. Norton Family FAQs


+

Is there an app better than Bark?

The best parental control app varies by need, with Bark leading in social media monitoring and Norton Family in web filtering.


+

What is the best monitoring app for parents?

The best monitoring app depends on your priorities, such as comprehensive monitoring, web filtering, or screen time management. Bark, Norton Family, Net Nanny, and Qustodio are top contenders, each with its own strengths.


+

Can Norton Family see text messages?

Norton Family focuses on web filtering and screen time management and does not offer text message monitoring as part of its core features, compared to other parental control software like Bark.

Bark vs. Norton Family: which is better?

Bark takes the lead for parents seeking extensive insight into their children's digital lives. It tracks social media, texts, and emails to guard against cyber threats and mental health issues. It supports a wide range of devices, making it versatile for comprehensive monitoring.

On the flip side, Norton Family specializes in web and app blocking with age-specific controls, ideal for those focusing on content restrictions. While it offers robust support, its limited functionality on iOS devices might be a deal-breaker for some.

Choosing between Bark and Norton Family depends on your primary concern: Bark for detailed monitoring across various platforms or Norton Family for its strong filtering capabilities, particularly on Android and Windows. Both apps excel in their domains, catering to different aspects of parental control.

Bark vs. Norton Family alternatives

Exploring alternatives to Bark and Norton Family can help parents find the perfect fit for their family's online safety needs. Below are the top contenders in the parental control software market, each offering unique features and benefits to enhance your child’s digital well-being and security.

  • Aura Parental Controls: Aura is best for bundled protection because it offers robust identity theft and cybersecurity features. Its bundled parental controls include basics like screen time management and web filtering, as well as advanced features like cyberbullying and online predator alerts.

    Get Aura Parental Controls | Read Our Aura Parental Controls Review
  • Net Nanny: Net Nanny is known for its advanced web filtering feature, making it one of the best parental control apps for monitoring social media apps and web browsing. Net Nanny is ideal for parents who need coverage for 20 or fewer devices.

    Read Our Net Nanny Review
  • Qustodio: Qustodio impresses with its detailed activity reports and extensive monitoring capabilities, securing its place among top parental control apps for Android users and those concerned with social media and online content.

    Read Our Qustodio Review

With our guides, you can discover more tips on child online safety. Learn how to make TikTok and Discord safer for kids and explore the impact of social media on children.

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
Mars is a cybersecurity professional and writer based in California. Currently pursuing a B.S. in Cybersecurity, he serves as an Advisory Board Member for WEBGAP, specializing in browser isolation. With an interest in OSINT, ethical hacking, and threat intelligence, Mars enjoys writing security content and has experience as a Security Researcher, Cybersecurity Analyst (WEBGAP), and Editor-in-chief (Secjuice).