Bark vs. Qustodio 2024: Which One Is Right for Your Family?

Both Bark and Qustodio offer parental control features that can keep your kids safe off and online, but which is the best choice for your family?
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Best for robust monitoring

4.7
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Bark Premium's website

Bark Premium
  • Machine learning catches the latest slang and keywords
  • Screens content across 18+ categories
  • Activity can only be viewed if it’s triggered

Best for a budget

4.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Qustodio's website

Qustodio
  • Parental control app with lots of features
  • User-friendly, clean interface
  • Concerns surrounding data privacy

The best parental control apps can give you a child’s location in real-time, help with screen time management, curb access to inappropriate content, and even give you insights into app usage. Both Bark and Qustodio work on Android devices and iOS devices and offer a variety of control features on a child’s phone or computer.

With these apps and their user-friendly tracking features, you can help your child learn about the amount of time they should spend online. If you’re looking for a way to monitor your child’s device or keep an eye on their online activity, Bark provides the content filtering and in-depth reporting features you need. Qustodio can give you similar features if you’re on a budget and it has some unique features of its own. Which one is best for you? Let’s get into it.

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

Bark vs. Qustodio review at a glance

Services like Bark and Qustodio offer parents options to do everything, from seeing where your children are at the moment to who’s texting them. Depending on your child’s age and the level of monitoring you want, you’ll likely find one of these more reasonable than the other.

Bark offers more robust controls and even a Bark-enabled phone that grows with your child. Qustodio lets parents on a budget keep kids safe without having to fork over an entire paycheck. Setting up parental monitoring on your phone can seem like a chore, but Bark and Qustodio can make it easy.

  • Bark: Best for robust monitoring
  • Qustodio: Best for a budget

Bark vs. Qustodio compared


Bark

Qustodio
Starting price $5.00/mo $4.58/mo
Free version
Max number of protected devices Unlimited Unlimited
Web filtering
Screen time limits
Location tracking
Activity reports
Learn more Get Bark

Read Bark Review

Read Qustodio Review

Bark pros and cons

Pros
  • Bark phone comes preinstalled with the software
  • Offers robust geo-fencing
  • Only shares data with your consent
Cons
  • Too many products to cover all your needs
  • Can get really expensive

Qustodio pros and cons

Pros
  • Free option
  • Plans are reasonably priced
  • Useful features for all plans
Cons
  • Email support only comes with the Premium plan
  • Shares data

Bark vs. Qustodio: prices


Our Pick

Monthly price range $5.00–$39.00/mo $4.58-$8.33/mo
Yearly price range $72.00–$348.00/yr $54.95–$99.95/yr
Best value plan Bark Premium for $14.00/mo Qustodio Complete for $8.33/mo
Learn more Get Bark

Read Bark Review

Read Qustodio Review

Bark plans

Bark is unique in that it offers a phone with the software preinstalled. The phone can grow with your child as they move into less restrictive age groups.

There are also more options on the Bark phone. If you already have a phone or want coverage for another device, like a gaming console or your child’s TV, Bark has a plan for that as well. While there’s no free option, Bark does offer a free trial.

  • Bark Home: Helps manage internet-connected devices like TVs and gaming consoles not normally covered by Bark’s apps or desktop applications. Includes website and app blocking as well as screen time scheduling.
  • Bark Premium: Protection software for iPhone, Android, PC, Mac, Chromebook, and Amazon Fire tablets that has the ability to monitor texts, apps, social media, and web searches. This is the most economical choice for features versus price.
  • Bark Phone: An actual mobile phone with all of Bark’s protection features preinstalled. The only service that includes the inability to delete text messages, lets you create alerts on the phone, and approval ability to add both apps and contacts.

Qustodio plans

Qustodio offers three different plans, including a free plan with basic coverage. The coverage offered in the free plan may be enough for teens who need some guidance on how to responsibly use the internet. If you want a little more control or have younger kids who are just starting to become independent, the paid plans offer a lot of controls that can keep your kids safe online.

  • Qustodio Free: Offers basic functions like web filtering and time limits. Best for helping teens maintain healthy device usage and content choices.
  • Qustodio Basic: Includes all of the features available in the free version with the addition of visibility reporting, location monitoring, and email-based support.
  • Qustodio Complete: This plan has the most features, including alerts for downloaded apps and monitoring for YouTube, messaging, and calls.

Winner: Qustodio. We love Bark, but Qustodio’s free plan with basic filters and time limits may be all a parent needs, plus, there are additional features with higher-priced tiers that really let you customize your experience.

Bark vs. Qustodio: monitoring and alerts

Feature
Our Pick
Website filtering Yes — 18 categories Yes — 29 categories
App filtering Yes — Block or allow specific apps Yes — Block or allow specific apps
Social media monitoring Yes — 30+ social media apps Yes — App and website blocking and YouTube-specific filters
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

Read Qustodio Review

We actually had a difficult time finding all of the categories Qustodio offered for website filtering. Once we did locate it, we saw there were more options than Bark.

However, Bark offers more customization options throughout the entire product. Bark specifically looks at 30-plus different social media apps, while Qustodio relies on app and web filtering to catch any issues. Although Bark has more customization options, both services allow you to set time limits or block harmful content on social media platforms.

Bark specializes in monitoring, but rather than allowing parents to spy on their kid’s online activities, it takes a unique approach and encourages parents and children to discuss online safety, which improves digital literacy

Compared to Bark, the two biggest features that Qustodio lacks are email monitoring and geo-fencing features. Geo-fencing is particularly useful for parents who are allowing their children the opportunity to be independent for the first time. You can set geographic boundaries and be alerted when your kids are outside of those parameters.

Email monitoring helps you keep your kids safe from a variety of issues but also gives you the opportunity to teach them about spam and phishing emails that are trying to steal their personal information.

Qustodio dashboard showing the family members on the plan.

Winner: Bark. Bark’s additional features available and focused monitoring give it an edge.

Which is safer, Bark vs. Qustodio?

Children’s personal information is such a delicate topic. We want to monitor our kids and keep them safe, but at the same time, we don’t want anyone else to have access to them the way we do.

It takes a lot to trust a service provider like Bark or Qustodio, so you want to make sure that service isn’t abusing your trust. Data collection is normal for a parental control service, but how that data is used is entirely different. We took a look at each privacy policy to see if your kids are safe.

Bark vs. Qustodio data security

Our Pick
Two-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication
Collects data
Shares data with third parties Minimal with consent
Learn more Get Bark

Read Bark Review

Read Qustodio Review

Neither service offered any kind of two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) outside of what’s available on your device. This is odd since both are recommended as ways to increase online security. Who doesn’t want more security with their kids’ information?

When it comes to data sharing with third parties, Qustodio does have some instances of data sharing for marketing/product purposes, but we really didn’t find that in Bark’s policy. We dug through the policies, which are actually much better than the privacy policies of other software like VPNs and even some antivirus software.

It appears that both Bark and Qustodio have a lot in place to protect your data. Bark mentions it’ll share some things as long as you’ve given permission. Qustodio, on the other hand, does have a line about sharing some data with third parties for marketing purposes. It’s not completely egregious, but Bark’s policy is slightly better.

Winner: Bark. Even though Qustodio maintains you can have your data deleted from its system, Bark shares less data overall and requires your consent for what it does share.

Bark vs. Qustodio: compatibility and customer support

Our Pick
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Browser extensions Yes — Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and various other browsers with Bark Home Yes — Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox
24/7 customer support
Customer support options Online guides, FAQs, form submission Online guides and form submission (premium accounts only)
Learn more Get Bark

Read Bark Review

Read Qustodio Review

Bark has a clean and modern design, and everything is easily accessible. Qustodio also has a fun design, but we think it’s a little more dated looking than Bark’s. Design might not be a big thing for you, and that’s fine. The good thing is, both services offer compatibility with major operating systems, so you’ll have an app for your computer and mobile device, as well as browser extensions.

You'll need to share your child's name and birthday with Bark to get started.

Neither service offers particularly robust support options. At least with Bark, you get email support on all products. With Qustodio, you have to purchase the Premium plan to get email support. Mostly, however, these services want you to dig through help sections or FAQs to troubleshoot your product.

Qustodio dashboard on the rules tab.

Winner: Bark. Bark wins out by the slightest of margins because it offers email support to all pricing tiers.

Bark vs. Qustodio FAQs


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What is the downside of the Bark app?

Bark can get expensive, especially if you’re using the Bark phone. While plans start around $29/mo for the phone, they can shoot up to $89/mo, depending on the option you choose. Also, not all features are available on every operating system. If your child has an iPhone, you’ll find a lot of workarounds are necessary to use Bark’s technology.


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What are Qustodio’s disadvantages?

Qustodio only offers email support on its Complete plan subscription, which means Free and Basic plan users are left to search the help pages. Also, Qustodio has some less-than-desirable line items in its privacy policy that allow for some data sharing with third parties.

There aren’t any geo-fencing features either. If you’re looking to give a kid more independence in the outside world but still want to get alerts on their whereabouts, Qustodio doesn’t really do that.


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What is the difference between Bark and Qustodio?

There are a lot of differences between Bark and Qustodio. Bark is more expensive and has more products, which could be confusing. Qustodio offers email support only on its most expensive plan and shares some data.

Bark sells a phone with the software preinstalled, which could be a great option for anyone not wanting to figure out the configuration and compatibility with their child’s current device. Qustodio offers a free plan, so even parents on a budget can have some peace of mind protecting their children. The differences mostly come down to personal preference.

Bark vs. Qustodio: which is better?

Bark edges out Qustodio just a little. Even though Qustodio offers a free version, is priced lower, and offers a lot of features, Bark is still just a bit better.

We like that Bark requires consent to share your data. We also like the user friendliness of the Bark phone. Honestly, though, either service is a great choice. It’ll really come down to what works best for you and your family. The most important thing is protecting your kids, and both of these services offer enough features to do that.

Bark vs. Qustodio alternatives

While Bark and Qustodio are great options for parental control software, you may want something different or something with more software options. The suggestions below have standalone features but can also be bundled with other software like antivirus or identity theft protection. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s likely an option here to fit your needs.

  • Aura Parental Controls: Aura Parental Controls offers web filtering and time management options but no geo-fencing, text, or email monitoring. But the app does offer unlimited device coverage as well as auto-settings based on your child's age. 

    Get Aura Parental Controls | Read Aura Parental Controls Review

  • Norton Family: Norton Family can stand on its own as parental control software or be bundled into Norton 360 or Norton 360 with LifeLock for ultimate protection. Whatever you choose, you can feel good knowing you have the trusted Norton name behind a product meant to keep your children safe.

    Get Norton Family | Read Our Norton Family Review
  • McAfee: McAfee has been in the antivirus game for a long time, which is why you can feel good using its parental control software. It offers all of the features you want in parental controls, including limiting content and managing screen time.

    Get McAfee | Read Our McAfee 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 18+ categories
  • Activity can only be viewed if it’s triggered
Author Details
Mary lives in Los Angeles and has been a cybersecurity writer for over five years. With a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Clarion University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, her career in online security began in sales and content creation for a private cybersecurity firm.