Norton Family Review 2024: Good for Kids but Teens Can Thwart Its Efforts

Norton Family has some truly positive aspects that can help you to open a dialogue with your child, but it lacks many features parents may want.
4.5
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Norton Family's website

Parental Controls
Norton Family
  • Excels at app blocking and content filtering across 47 categories
  • Offers age-specific restriction levels to enhance safety and unlimited device connections
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There’s a lot of content on the internet that speaks to adults but might not be appropriate for children. Whether you’re concerned about your kids watching movies with too much graphic content or you want to have open discussions about their search engine histories, Norton Family parental controls has features that facilitate that need.

Unfortunately, Norton Family doesn’t offer text, email, or social media monitoring, which are huge privacy aspects for older kids. It does, however, give you geo-tracking capabilities, web filtering, and time limits, which are perfect for younger children and tweens exploring their independence.

Whether you’re looking to purchase Norton Family on its own or want to bundle it into one of Norton’s other security products, you’ll find features and settings that help you teach your children about internet security. Depending on your needs and the age of your children, Norton Family might be the perfect app for you. If it isn’t, we have suggestions for services that cover what Norton doesn’t.

In this article
Norton Family review at a glancea
Norton Family prices and subscriptions
Norton Family features
Our experience testing Norton Family
Norton Family customer support
Does Norton Family collect your data?
Norton Family alternatives
Norton Family FAQs
Bottom line: Is Norton Family good?

Norton Family review at a glance

Price $49.99/yr
Number of devices supported Unlimited
Website filtering Yes, for Android — YouTube, Google, Facebook, Netflix, TikTok, Telegram, and more.
Social media monitoring Yes, limited monitoring for Android — Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and more.
Text message monitoring No
Email monitoring No
Screen time management Yes
Supported devices Windows, Android, iOS
Learn more Get Norton Family

Norton Family expert overview

Norton Family is parental control software that provides an easy way for parents to monitor the content their children are accessing across a variety of devices. With levels that allow for general controls based on age, you can quickly enable content filters appropriate for your child. There are a variety of features you can customize to create an even safer online environment for your kids. Norton also offers ways to moderate screen time for each child on each device to help them learn healthy viewing habits.

Norton Family works well in its own environment — it provides a browser if you don’t want to download browser extensions — but can also work on other aspects of your child’s devices. You’ll be able to see what they’re searching for, websites they’ve tried to access, and even their responses to Norton’s content warnings. There are some hiccups, like the lack of app supervision on iOS, but mostly we found a useful product that gave us more insight into our children’s online activities and habits.

Norton Family dashboard on the Account Summary page, which breaks down into web monitoring, time monitoring, and app monitoring.

Norton Family pros and cons

Pros
  • Offers age-specific restriction levels to enhance safety
  • Excels at app blocking and content filtering across 47 categories

  • Unlimited device connections
Cons
  • Not compatible with macOS and offers fewer features for iOS
  • Older kids may be able to bypass restrictions

Norton Family prices and subscriptions

If you’re looking to purchase Norton Family by itself, the current price of Norton Family is pretty reasonable. In the fine print, Norton doesn’t guarantee the price won’t change at renewal, but it does offer a 60-day money-back guarantee on all purchased products. If you’re looking to bundle Norton Family with other Norton products, you have two different options that can help you increase your overall security.

Norton 360 Deluxe offers antivirus, cloud storage, a password manager, and other features in addition to parental controls. Norton 360 with LifeLock Select offers these features as well as identity theft protection. Where there are device limits with the security software, you’ll be able to add multiple profiles and devices to your Norton Family subscription.

Depending on what your needs are, you may want to consider adding the cybersecurity protection features offered in the Deluxe plan and the 360 with LifeLock plan.

Norton Family plan comparison

Features Norton Family Norton 360 Deluxe Norton 360 with LifeLock Select
Price $49.99/yr (billed annually)$49.99/yr (first year only) $99.99/yr (first year only)
Number of devices Unlimited 5 10
Website filtering
Social media monitoring Yes, limited monitoring for Android
Text message monitoring
Email monitoring
Internet search monitoring
Screen time management
Cyberbullying and online predator alerts
Location tracking
Norton Antivirus
Norton Secure VPN
Norton Password Manager
Norton LifeLock
Details View Plan View Plan View Plan

Norton Family doesn’t really offer different tiers or plans, but it’s available as part of a bundle if you also want to purchase Norton’s security software. The biggest difference between Norton Family by itself and the other Norton products that include it is the additional cybersecurity features. The other plans include antivirus, a virtual private network (VPN), a password manager, and Norton LifeLock, which includes identity protection services.

If you purchase the Norton Deluxe plan for $49.99/yr (first year only), which is the same price as Norton Family, you’ll receive Norton Family as well. If you want even more features, you can purchase the Select plan with LifeLock for $99.99/yr (first year only). Just be careful before renewal because Norton’s renewal prices are usually at least double the sign-up price (but usually more). However, Norton Family is pretty reasonably priced compared to its competitors.

If you’re looking for a fully rounded security suite, either the Deluxe or Select plan is worth a look. As long as you’re aware of the renewal fees, we think purchasing Norton Deluxe, which includes Norton Family, is a good idea considering both plans cost the same.

Norton Family features

Norton Family offers seven features for monitoring and regulating your children’s devices. You’ll be able to see what content they’re viewing, including websites and videos, as well as regulate their screen time. While we found some of the features robust, we found others lacking.

Content monitoring

The web filtering feature will monitor content. Depending on the level of restriction you set, this may be a full-on block or a warning that the site they’re about to visit is restricted. We had our content filters on low, which is recommended for older teens. When we tried to visit adult sites, the Norton Family informed us the site had content not intended for our restriction level. Since we were set to low, it gave us the option to visit the site anyway. In the dashboard we could see what sites were accessed, if a warning was issued, and if we visited the site despite the warning.

There are no specific blockers for topics, just websites. If you want to restrict certain sites or allow others, you can do that within the Web feature. This helps you bypass the restrictions for a site that might be necessary without disabling all protections. You can also block and unblock sites from your dashboard.

Phone apps

App monitoring for iOS devices App monitoring for Android devices
App capabilities Unavailable on iOS Monitors and alerts you as to which apps your child downloads

Norton Family allows you to keep tabs on what mobile apps your child downloads as long as they’re using an Android phone. Since we were testing on an iPhone, we didn’t have access to the app monitoring features. This feature doesn’t monitor content on the apps, only which ones are downloaded.

Many parents are looking for ways to keep their children safe on social media. Since Norton Family can’t actually look at the content the same way it can’t filter text messages or emails, it’s important to have regular discussions with your child about appropriate online behavior, both what they put out and what they receive. Encourage your child to tell you or another adult if something distressing happens on social media. Also, remind your children that because of web crawlers, what they put on the internet can never truly be deleted.

Norton Family iOS app on the app monitoring page, which just reads that this feature is not supported on iOS.

Web browsers

Web Supervision is one of the most robust features available on Norton Family. You have the ability to see what websites your child is visiting and whether or not they fall under the content restrictions. For anyone wanting to know what their child is searching online, there’s a feature that shows the top search results from each device.

Screen time management

Screen time might be one of the biggest sources of contention between kids and adults. Norton Family allows you to set screen time limits that will lock out all or certain aspects of your child’s phone during the times you set. School and sleep schedules are preloaded, but you can adjust them based on what’s good for your family.

As far as we could tell, there wasn’t much nuance to this feature. Most of the device’s functionality is blocked during downtime. When we went into the settings, there wasn’t much to configure. If your child has an iPhone or an iPad, there are multiple settings within the screentime feature that allow you to choose specific apps and contacts during downtime. Norton Family didn’t seem as comprehensive as the iOS parental controls.

Norton Family dashboard on the screen time management section, which is separated by days of the week and hours.

Location tracking and geo-fencing

Location Supervision needs to be enabled in addition to just setting up the app on your kid’s phone. Without enabling permissions, you’ll get a general sense of where the device is located, but you won’t be able to constantly monitor. If you do enable the tracking, you’ll get live, real-time updates as to where the device is located.

In addition to real-time updates, you can search your child’s locations based on date and time. This is useful for parents with kids who are just starting to participate in activities by themselves. You can have peace of mind being able to see where your kids are during the day, especially if they do independent activities like ride the bus or get picked up in a carpool line.

Norton Family dashboard on the location monitoring section.

Activity reports

Activity reports are pretty simple. Within each of the seven categories, you can look deeper at the alerts you see on your dashboard.

In the Web category, we tried accessing the site OnlyFans, which isn’t strictly adult content but is used for a lot of very adult content. Since we had our restrictions set to low for older teens, the website warned us about the site. The dashboard noted that we didn’t visit the site after receiving the warning. As far as Google searches, we could see in the Search Terms section what words were searched.

Norton Family activity report displaying the most active categories.

Our experience testing Norton Family

Overall we found Norton Family to have some truly useful tools. It was easy to set up, easy to add a child, and it gave us a nice overview of the content being accessed on the monitored phone. We didn’t love that the app monitoring wasn’t available for iOS, but we know that you can access your child’s apps from the Family section in iOS settings on the device.

We also noticed that it’s pretty easy to remove the app from the device or disable the browser extension without parents receiving a notification, so Norton Family is excellent for younger children but may not be as effective for older ones. When we deleted the app without disabling the child account in our dashboard, it deleted ALL of the data on our phone. We had to go into the online dashboard and disable the entire account to get the apps, photos, numbers, and other information back. Imagine that five minutes of pure panic.

Norton Family setup

You’ll be prompted almost immediately after purchase to download the Norton Family app onto your child’s device. You’ll receive a special QR code, depending on the operating system you have. Once your child has the app downloaded, a code will appear for you to input into the system. After installation and login, you’ll be prompted to add the first child to your dashboard. You can add a photo or select an avatar for the child or leave it blank. You will, however, need to add the child’s name and choose a restriction level before being allowed to proceed. Once you do, you’re linked, and you can monitor your child from the dashboard.

The restriction levels give general permissions and exclusions to the profile, but you can customize each of those further. There are seven categories, but only six are available to iOS users. They won’t be able to see what apps were downloaded onto their child’s phone, but iOS Family Sharing has that capability within its internal systems.

After initial setup, you should install the browser plugins on your child’s devices as well. We suggest, depending on your child’s age and activity level, checking alerts every few days. Otherwise, sit back and know that your kid is accessing a safer internet.

Norton Family child setup page.

Norton Family monitoring in action

Norton Family monitoring sends out alerts when your children come across content that isn’t recommended by their specific filter. Depending on the level of restriction you enable, a website is either blocked or the child is sent a warning. When we tested this out with low restriction levels (recommended for teens 15+), we tried accessing adult websites. Norton warned that the website had adult content.

We then tried searching terms that were geared toward adult content. All of the search terms turned up in the dashboard. Additionally, we could customize our testing to restrict phone access during school hours. It showed us when the phone was disabled. The only downside to all of this is that teenagers and tweens with a decent understanding of technology may be able to thwart these monitoring efforts. That’s why it’s best to continue to have an open dialogue with your child about internet safety.

Norton Family dashboard on the Account Summary page, which breaks down into web monitoring, time monitoring, and app monitoring.

Norton Family customer support

Support type Norton Family
Email or live chat Yes — 24/7 live chat support
Phone Yes — you’ll need to fill out a form on the site for the number
Online guides or forums

Like most security products, you’ll first be directed toward a self-help support site. Their goal is to get you to troubleshoot your own problem by looking through forums and guides. If you really need to talk with a support specialist, you can scroll down the page and click Contact us. You’ll be redirected a few more times before receiving the contact options. We suggest going for the 24/7 live chat support because there’s a warning on Norton’s page that calling may result in long wait times.

Does Norton Family collect your data?

Norton Family falls under the Norton privacy policy, which collects a lot of data. We mean, A LOT of data. Essentially Norton collects everything about the devices you’re using, the Norton services you have, all of your interface and screen activity, your geolocation, financial data, and all your network traffic. Oh, and Norton will also collect data on friends and family connected to your accounts as well as third-party data.

Norton uses this information for all the standard practices. First, obviously, it’s used to provide you with Norton services and any consent to use it that you’ve given. It’s also used for network and information security purposes. Last, Norton uses anything collected to advance its own business as well as third-party affiliates. Translation? Norton sells your data.

Norton Family security

Norton uses 128-bit SSL encryption, which is surprising given that it’s the lesser of the two most commonly used encryption types. AES-256-bit encryption is usually the industry standard when it comes to data. While both have the potential to stand up to brute force attacks, 128-bit is less effective than 256-bit.

That’s not to say your data will be vulnerable. At our current computing power, it would take 149 trillion years to crack 128-bit encryption.

If you’d like even more protection, you can enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your account. Norton suggests you do this but doesn’t make it mandatory. Two-factor authentication allows you to log in to your account by verifying your identity on a second device. It can definitely improve your security.

Norton Family alternatives

If Norton Family doesn’t offer all the features you’re looking for, consider one of these competitors. Social media, text, and email monitoring are available with some of these services as well as the ability to remotely block numbers. Depending on your needs and budget, one of these may be the best parental control software for your family.

  • Bark: If you’re looking for an app that can help identify bullying and self-harm situations, Bark is a great choice. It’s one of the top-recommended parental control apps and focuses heavily on your child’s mental health and safety. Unlike Norton Family, Bark is able to scan your children’s apps for signs of bullying or suicidal thoughts. See how Bark compares in our Bark vs. Norton Family review.

    Get Bark | Read Bark Review
  • Qustodio: If a parental control app isn’t really in your budget but you still want to add some protection to your child’s phone, consider Qustodio. It’s a freemium service that offers safe and monitored searches, social media monitoring, and time limits with its free plan. If you want more features, you can upgrade when it works for your budget. See how Qustodio compares in our Qustodio vs. Norton Family review.

    Read Our Qustodio Review

Norton Family FAQs


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What can parents see on Norton Family?

Parents can see several different sets of metrics on their children’s phones. If a child is using the Norton Family browser or has the browser extension installed on their phone, parents can see the categories of websites visited as well as the search terms their child is using online.

Parents will also see what apps their child downloaded, the location of the devices where Norton Family is installed and active, time limits set, school time limits, and any videos the child is watching via browsers (does not work in YouTube or Hulu apps).


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Can Norton Family see text messages?

No, Norton Family doesn’t monitor text messages. You’ll be unable to see any text messages that come across the phone of a monitored child account within your Norton Family portal. If you want to see your child’s text messages, you’ll need to read them on their device.


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Is Norton Family worth it?

For the price, we do believe Norton Family is a worthwhile investment. The internet is a vast space with influence from every corner of the world. A lot of the internet is not child-appropriate, so Norton Family can give parents peace of mind knowing they have the ability to see what their children are looking at online.

Knowing the search terms a child uses, as well as the sites they visit, allows parents the opportunity to open up dialogues with their children about topics they’re curious about rather than learning it from a dodgy website or explicit video.

Bottom line: Is Norton Family good?

Yes, despite some of its shortcomings, Norton Family is a good service. We liked the web filtering and alerts on internet search terms as well as the location services. We wish we had access to the app monitoring, but we did appreciate seeing the video monitoring aspect.

This will work well for younger kids, but teens and tweens may be able to remove the service themselves without your knowledge. If you’re going to purchase Norton Family, we suggest bundling it with Norton 360 Deluxe for the same price. You’ll receive even more security products, like a password manager and VPN, which can boost your security across all devices.

4.5
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Norton Family's website
Parental Controls
Norton Family
  • Excels at app blocking and content filtering across 47 categories
  • Offers age-specific restriction levels to enhance safety and unlimited device connections
Author Details
Mary is a seasoned cybersecurity writer with over seven years of experience. With a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Clarion University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Point Park University, she educates audiences on scams, antivirus software, and more. Her passion lies in educating audiences on helpful ways to protect their data.