Qustodio has some of the best filtering and blocking technology on the market, including intelligent monitoring (it distinguishes between suspicious activity and misinterpreted words) and the ability to block HTTPS sites. While its free version works very well, parents wanting more protection should opt for the premium product.
Free version is great; paid comes with Facebook, app blocking. Although it hasn't yet earned an abundance of professional reviews, Barcelona-based Qustodio's upgraded web-based parental control program (version 1.9) is attracting buzz, though it's a heavier system (55 MB). Qustodio works on an unlimited number of Macs, PCs and Android devices and offers two choices for its product: free or paid (Est. $50 for an annual subscription). The premier version offers more in-depth reports on Facebook activities and app blocking. Qustodio is managed online, but you'll need to download the client on each computer or device. After setting a password to control the program, you can set up as many as eight user profiles.he restrictions you choose for each child (for example, time limits and blocking sites in any of nearly 30 categories) will be applied across all of his or her devices. Qustodio provides in-depth reporting and a huge array of options that can overwhelm some parents, but there's a tutorial to walk you through the program. (One test says it takes less than five minutes to set up and install; a handful of users complain the setup is laborious.) You can also hide Qustodio on devices if you don't want your child to know that it's monitoring them.
A highly flexible and customizable tool. Qustodio offers no shortage of features. It blocks up to 29 categories and upon installation automatically begins blocking 10 such as Pornography and Loopholes. (PCMag.com notes that the Loopholes category is especially important; it refers to websites that your child may be able to access despite standard parental controls.) You can customize the settings to allow or block access to categories or receive notifications via email if your kids try to access a website in a checked category. Reports include charts and data tracking -- how long your child is spending on each device each day and which websites are being visited.
Parents can permit or block access to individual websites and receive notifications if a new computer has been detected but isn't being protected by Qustodio. You can also set time limits (and tailor the limits for each device), and you'll have the option of receiving daily or weekly alerts. The social monitoring functions let you know with whom your kid is chatting on major social media networks, but the paid version documents all of your child's Facebook activity (with his or her permission; if permission isn't granted, Facebook is blocked). Qustodio's commercial product also lets you block apps. Those opting for Qustodio's free version can always use Avira's Social Network Protection (Free) to monitor Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Qustodio rocks in limited professional tests. Compared with industry giants like AVG, Norton and McAfee, Qustodio isn't one of the bigger names in the parental control market, yet it performs well in a limited number of independent tests. As PCMag.com notes in its in-depth review, an upside to using Qustodio is that its technology blocks HTTPS sites. Only a handful of competitors can make similar claims, like the best-reviewed parental control program Net Nanny (Est. $40) and AVG Family Safety (Est. $50) . One reviewer with the tech blog MakeUseOf.com tests the software as an alternative to OpenDNS FamilyShield. In an otherwise glowing review, the writer states that Qustodio's web-filtering options "aren't anything special, but they have everything you'd expect."
The options include filtering by Qustodio's pre-set categories: allowing exceptions, deciding whether websites that don't fall into any categories should be blocked or allowed, and blocking inappropriate sites from showing up in search results. PCMag.com is impressed by the program's effectiveness in blocking inappropriate content while letting inoffensive content go through; it also stopped the tester's attempt to circumvent restrictions on a game. The PCMag.com reviewer notes that a child could turn Qustodio's web-content filtering off if they figure out the network command.
PCMag.com gives Qustodio v1.9 an "excellent" rating after testing the program, praising its features and blocking capabilities. (Qustodio wasn't fooled by the reviewer's attempts to circumvent the program.)
Review: Qustodio v1.9, Neil J. Rubenking, April 11, 2013
2. MakeUseOf.com (blog)
This detailed review by the blog MakeUseOf, which has 450,000 active subscribers, tests Qustodio and calls it "by far the best" of several parental control programs the reviewer has used over the years. Joel Lee walks readers through the setup and functionality of the program and is impressed by the amount of information Qustodio provides in graphs and data. He notes that the web-filtering software isn't spectacular but gets the job done.
Review: Qustodio: Free Parental Control Software for Internet Access [Windows], By Joel Lee, Sept. 18, 2012
Almost 90 people give Qustodio a 4.2 out of 5 rating, but unfortunately only a handful post written reviews of the program and the reviews are short. Most find Qustodio useful, though there is one complaint that the installation is time-consuming.
Review: Qustodio 1.1201.1250, Contributors to Softpedia.com, As of April 2013
CNET's Download.com contributors give Qustodio 3.5 out of 5 stars, but the rating is based on feedback from about 20 reviewers. Most say the program is effective and well designed, but some complain that Qustodio has poor customer service.
Review: Qustodio, Contributors to Download.com, As of April 2013