Net Nanny Review 2024: An Okay Parental Control App

If you’re serious about keeping your children safe online, consider investing in parental control software. Net Nanny offers essential features like location tracking and screen time management, but the app isn’t as user-friendly as others in the market.
4.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Net Nanny's website

Net Nanny
  • Supports up to 20 devices
  • Easy-to-use Location Tracking and Screen Time Management features
  • No text and email monitoring feature
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You want to keep your family safe online, but it’s hard to explain internet safety to kids. That being the case, you sometimes have to take matters into your own hands. Net Nanny gives you a way to monitor what your children do online; this parental control app plus website blocker has features that give you more control, like screen time management, location tracking, and some forms of YouTube monitoring.

You can protect up to five devices for $39.99/yr. After testing the features offered by Net Nanny, we’d say it does a decent job of protecting your family. It didn’t get everything perfect, though. We show you what you can expect from this software and help you decide if it’s the right product to tailor what your kids can and can’t do.

In this article
Net Nanny review at a glance
Net Nanny prices and subscriptions
Net Nanny features
Our experience testing Net Nanny
Net Nanny customer support
Does Net Nanny collect your data?
Net Nanny parental control app alternatives
Net Nanny FAQs
Bottom line: Is the Net Nanny app good?

Net Nanny review at a glance

Price $39.99-$89.99/yr
Number of devices supported 1 to 20
Website filtering Yes
Social media monitoring Yes
Text message monitoring No
Email monitoring No
Screen time management Yes
Supported devices iOS, macOS, Windows 10, Android, Kindle Fire*
Learn more Get Net Nanny

*Android and Kindle Fire devices are currently not supported, pending the release of Net Nanny's new version in early 2024.

Net Nanny expert overview

Net Nanny gives you some features you may be looking for in parental control software. You get to customize what you want to allow your kids to view and what you don’t. There’s also screen time management, so you can decide how long the kids spend surfing the internet. You can also pause or disable the internet if you’d like. Being able to locate your child’s device is one of the features this product does well. What parent doesn’t want to know if the kids are safe and where they’re supposed to be?

We also liked the Net Nanny App Advisor, a view on the parent portal that shows which apps are dangerous and which are the most popular right now. You can run a search by rating to see how different apps stack up based on those ratings. The manage request function is a nice option to have because you get to approve or decline a request from your child for website access.

Screenshot of Net Nanny Family Feed overview screen

Net Nanny pros and cons

Pros
  • Location tracking is easy
  • Most devices are supported
  • Screen time management is simple
Cons
  • Some features don’t work
  • The interface isn’t always intuitive

Net Nanny prices and subscriptions

There are three pricing options for Net Nanny, depending on how many devices you want to connect: one device for $39.99/yr, five devices for $54.99/yr, and 20 devices for $89.99/yr. Coverage of devices using iOS is exclusive to the Family Protection Pass plans. Otherwise, each plan offers the same features.

Net Nanny plan comparison

Features 1 Desktop 5 Devices Family Protection Pass 20 Devices Family Protection Pass
Price $39.99/yr $54.99/yr $89.99/yr
Number of devices 1 5 20
Website filtering
Social media monitoring
Text message monitoring
Email monitoring
Internet search monitoring
Screen time management
Cyberbullying and online predator alerts
Location tracking
Details View Plan View Plan View Plan

Although Net Nanny has the Family Protection Pass that covers 20 devices as the “Best Value,” we think the 5-device plan is the best offer. It provides a nice midway point for about $11 per device annually. Of course, if you need more than five devices protected, the Family Protection Pass for up to 20 devices is your best bet. No matter which plan you choose, the features are the same across the board.

Net Nanny features

Net Nanny isn’t short on features. Some of the standout options are the Screen Time Management and the Track Location features. You can also block specific sites and mature content you aren’t comfortable with your child viewing.

Here are the Net Nanny filters and features:

  • Content monitoring
  • Screen time management
  • Location tracking
  • Activity reports
  • Website blocker
  • Internet filter
  • Pornography block

Content monitoring

Net Nanny keeps a keen eye on what your child views online. If you’re concerned about the amount of time they spend on YouTube or other platforms, we know it can be tough to catch everything. Net nanny allows the monitoring of your children’s internet access. You can set up website filters and receive alerts and usage reports of those online activities.

You can customize the specific websites you want your child to access. There are context filters that contain categories you can choose to block or allow, like drugs or nudity.

Social media and phone apps

iOS Android
Apps monitored by Bark
  • After School
  • Amazon
  • Bumble
  • Facebook
  • HBO GO
  • MeetMe
  • Netflix
  • OkCupid
  • STARZ
  • Snapchat
  • Amazon Music
  • Amazon Shopping
  • Calculator
  • Camera
  • Chrome
  • Clock
  • Coffee Meets Bagel
  • Duo
  • Gallery
  • Gmail
  • Hooked
  • Internet
  • Maps
  • Messenger
  • Photos
  • Play Music
  • Play Store
  • Prime Video
  • Sheets
  • Tidal
  • Wikipedia

You know kids are going to try to use social networking platforms, so you want to make sure they stay safe on social media. There are dangers on social media that kids don’t understand, and one of the biggest issues today is cyberbullying. If you’re not aware of what your child views online, you might miss clues that your child is being cyberbullied.

Another problem is that kids often post content they shouldn’t, such as where they’re going or what they’re doing. They might also be unwitting victims of phishing scams, which allow hackers to get access to your device. Innocent activities like online quizzes your child may think are fun can give out personal data to bad actors.

Net Nanny uses a Social Media Protection feature to give you control over apps and services. You can block services you don’t want or select the ones you do. Net Nanny Content Filters can also be used to monitor internet surfing.

A screenshot of Net Nanny Social Media Protection feature

Unfortunately, we were not able to block any apps. We tried to block Facebook and Instagram but to no avail. In short, we contacted support, but they were unable to fix the problem. The information is not clear if offline apps are scanned.

Text messages

Although some parental control software monitors text messages, Net Nanny isn’t one of them. It would be nice to have these features, as you can easily keep an eye on what your child is texting and who is sending and receiving communications to your loved ones.

Email

Net Nanny also doesn’t monitor email messaging. Other services, like Bark and Qustodio, have this option if you need more in-depth monitoring.

Web browsers

Net Nanny will alert parents if it senses that inappropriate websites have been accessed. You can view the Family Feed to see up-to-date online searches. This also helps to prevent cyberbullying because it gives you more visibility into what your child is seeing online and what is being communicated.

We used Google Chrome for the parent dashboard section of Net Nanny. If you’re installing it on an iPhone, it’s recommended you disable Safari and only use the Net Nanny browser. We didn’t find any documentation that reported specific web browsers compatible with Net Nanny, although the website indicates it will work with any browser.

Screen time management

If your child spends more time on a mobile device than you’d like, Net Nanny has a solution for that. The Screen Time Management feature can limit the time your family spends on a protected device. Now parents can regain control, and families can spend more time connecting instead of being isolated by technology.

Net Nanny even allows pausing of the internet or turning it off. You can disable the internet by going into the child’s profile. While you can’t change screen times for singular apps, you can change times based on days. For instance, let’s say you want your kids to pay more attention to homework than social media during the week, but on the weekends, you give them more flexibility. As the parent, you can set a broader window for those times.

A screenshot of Net Nanny Screen Time Management feature

Location tracking and geo-fencing

Knowing where their child is gives parents peace of mind. Net Nanny uses location tracking to help ensure child safety. You can pull up real-time updates to know where your loved one is at all times. The Family Overview Map shows the exact location of the device. Net Nanny also lets you set up a history function showing different locations the device has been.

Net Nanny lets you configure alerts, too. Under the Configure Location Screen, you can set alerts for arrival and departure. You can also customize this by your entire family or one profile. The location tracking works for both Android and iOS devices.

A screenshot of Net Nanny Location Tracking screen

Activity reports

Net Nanny provides visibility into what your child wants to access online so that you can keep an eye on what’s appropriate. Under the Family Feed section, you can see the online activity and latest online searches.

Here’s what you can expect with the activity reports:

  • Alerts for blocked content
  • Category and date/time of content
  • Mobile apps used most often
  • Search history, including search engine used
  • Search terms used

According to the Net Nanny website, you can set up email alerts, but we had trouble finding the section for that. We reached out to support to get more clarity. The customer service rep admitted the section on email setup is misleading and informed us that Net Nanny cannot send email notifications.

A screenshot of Net Nanny Customer Support chat about email alerts part 1

A screenshot of Net Nanny Customer Support chat about email alerts part 2

We did see alerts in the Family Feed section during testing. Here, you can see what your child is requesting access to, and you can manage those on the Manage Requests Page by ignoring them or adding them to the Net Nanny Whitelist.

A screenshot of Net Nanny Family Feed and managing a website access request

Our experience testing Net Nanny

Our experience testing Net Nanny was okay. We wouldn’t say it’s a bad product, but it’s not what we would consider a stellar design, either. The installation on an iPhone can be a bit confusing because you must disable Safari first. Then you install the Net Nanny mobile device management (MDM) profile. We got through all that, but some features still didn’t work. For example, we tried to block Facebook and Instagram for testing purposes, but both of these social media apps still worked on the iPhone. We tried this several times, but it still didn’t block these apps.

The other function that didn’t work was tracking the online searches. We visited numerous websites on the iPhone that Net Nanny was monitoring, and none of them appeared under the profile settings. Then we received a message on the dashboard that showed the device was out of contact, but we still had the Net Nanny app installed on the iPhone. Net Nanny has good points and does monitor important things, like location tracking and requested websites, so it’s still a decent product. We’ll expand on that more in the sections below.

Net Nanny setup

Preparing to use Net Nanny wasn’t hard when setting up the desktop version for the parent dashboard. Once you purchase the product from the Net Nanny website and set up an account, you install the software by clicking on the download link in your receipt or going to netnanny.com/download.

When you’re ready to add the child profile, you get the device your child uses and go to install.netnanny.com. From there, you can log into your account and create a profile. Follow along with any prompts to successfully set up the app.

A screenshot of setting up a Net Nanny child device profile

We used an iOS device and had to adjust some settings to allow for remote mobile management. You also may need to change your Android security settings to allow the software to work on that operating system.

Net Nanny monitoring in action

Even though we were disappointed that some settings didn’t work with Net Nanny, we were pleased with the ones that did. Location tracking is something we consider a must for anyone who has a child with a smartphone.

We wanted to know what would happen when our child tried to access a website for adults. We requested access to Tinder.com, and Net Nanny sent us an alert in the Family Feed.

A screenshot of Net Nanny child requesting access to Tinder and the Family Feed overview

Disconnecting the internet is seamless with Net Nanny. Under the Device Availability section, parents have the option to disable or pause the internet. In testing, it stopped internet access on our iPhone within seconds. In the same section, you can select time restrictions for a certain period each day to help minimize screen time.

Net Nanny customer support

Support type Net Nanny
Email or live chat
Phone
Online guides or forums Yes — online guides

There are a few online guide questions answered that show the user how to install the software or access some of the features Net Nanny offers. Email support and live chat are also options when you need assistance.

We contacted customer support to ask questions and were met with courteous service each time. It was disappointing that once the rep told us the website information was a bit misleading, and another time, the rep gave us instructions that didn’t work. That time, we were told the ticket would be escalated with no timeframe for a resolution. That’s not a great answer when something isn’t working.

A screenshot of Net Nanny Customer Support chat about unable to block Facebook access

Does Net Nanny collect your data?

Net Nanny collects statistical and demographic data. According to the website, it does this to show how registered and unregistered users navigate the Net Nanny services. It goes on to mention that this information could pertain to account settings, control activities, and session information. That data can be used for marketing purposes, as explained on the Net Nanny site.

Be aware that Net Nanny may allow third parties to target ads to its users. That means you may get marketing advertisements from vendors and research firms. In a sense, your online behavior will be tracked, and so will your IP address.

Net Nanny security

Net Nanny does not use two-factor authentication (2FA). It does encrypt your information both while at rest and when in transit. Here’s where it gets a bit unclear, to say the least. According to the Data Security section, Net Nanny uses access control mechanisms to ensure information isn’t lost or accessed by an unauthorized user. However, it doesn’t reveal what those methods are or what encryption is used. It’s a bit hard to trust what we can’t verify in writing. It does go on to specify that any transmission made is at the user’s risk.

Net Nanny parental control app alternatives

If Net Nanny isn’t your cup of tea, we can understand. Other services may offer more of what you want in parental control software. When it comes to your child’s online safety, we have some alternatives.

  • Bark: Bark uses machine learning to pick up on slang and frequently used keywords to help keep your child safe online from cyberbullying and predators. This comprehensive parental control app also offers text message and email monitoring and coverage for unlimited kids and devices.

    Get Bark | Read Our Bark Review

  • Aura Parental Controls: The maker of Aura Identity Theft Protection also offers Aura Parental Controls, which includes features like cyberbullying monitoring that can be useful when kids use social media. With the Family plan, you’ll get alerts when a sex offender lives within one mile of your address and safe gaming alerts.

    Get Aura Parental Controls | Read Our Aura Parental Controls Review

  • Norton Family: Perfect software for parents who want to track their child’s location history and implement web filtering with screen time limits. But Norton Family doesn’t offer text, email, or social media monitoring, which are huge privacy aspects for older kids.

    Get Norton Family | Read Our Norton Family Review

Bark also knocked the parental control app Qustodio out of the water in our Bark vs. Qustodio review.

Net Nanny FAQs


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Can kids get around the Net Nanny app?

Since we tested blocking Facebook and Instagram and were still able to access both, we would conclude kids can get around Net Nanny.


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Does Net Nanny have GPS tracking?

Net Nanny does have GPS location tracking as one of its features. It’s found under the profile overview section.


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Can Net Nanny monitor YouTube?

Net Nanny is supposed to show YouTube searches, but it will not monitor how long your child has been on the app. Supposedly, this feature is set up when you begin using the Net Nanny software, but we did not find that to be the case, as we accessed several YouTube videos, and none showed up under the Family Feed section.


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Does Net Nanny monitor calls and texts?

Net Nanny does not monitor calls, text messages, or emails.


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Is Net Nanny or Bark better?

Net Nanny is considerably cheaper than Bark, but the parental control app also doesn’t offer the feature to monitor text messages or emails like Bark. With Bark, you can add unlimited kids and devices, so there’s no cap for coverage. Depending on how big your family is or the number of devices you want to cover, that could be a deal maker. The flat $14 per month fee for Bark Premium might be worth it. Still, if you’re in the market for family protection and you want it at a less expensive price point, Net Nanny is an option.

Bottom line: Is the Net Nanny app good?

We don’t want to say Net Nanny is bad, but it’s not the best parental control app. It’s basic at best, and some of the features didn’t work during testing. Support knowledge seems somewhat limited from our communications with the representatives, and being told a ticket needs escalation without a timeframe for help doesn’t instill much faith in a product.

If you want basic parental control software, Net Nanny prevents too much screen time, helps you locate your child’s device, and monitors some website access and requests. If you want a product that will be easy to use right away with features like text and email monitoring, we’d suggest looking elsewhere.

4.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Net Nanny's website
Net Nanny
  • Supports up to 20 devices
  • Easy-to-use Location Tracking and Screen Time Management features
  • No text and email monitoring feature
Author Details
Patti Croft is a seasoned writer who specializes in all things technology. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and carries a wealth of hands-on experience thanks to her background as a technical analyst and security specialist.