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5 Best Apps Parents Use to Monitor Their Child’s Phone

With this guide I want to show you 5 great apps for monitoring your child’s phone without them noticing. After reading this, you will have what you need to read messages, view browsing history, and even track live GPS locations without a lot of tech savviness.

Best apps to monitor and track your child's phone

Hello my friends! It is your friend Frankie here for more useful hacking advice to help keep your children safe.

If this is your first time on my blog let me introduce myself: I am 36 years old, Italian by birth (and also by death, most likely), and I’m a professional amateur in that ugly business of social media and computer security.

More specifically, I help all those frustrated moms and dads who call themselves digital illiterates to understand something about this confusing digital world so their kids don’t get in trouble.

If you would like to know my story, I will share my bio link with you.

If you are one of the parents who worries about what their child might be doing on their phones, you have certainly come to the right place.

There are multiple situations associated with growing up that could frightened mothers and fathers looking to protect their children.

Beyond traditional concerns like alcohol and drugs, bullying and cyberbullying have taken center stage and threats on children. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media outlets create volatile relationships at times Anna Lau sharing of photos, media, and personal information.

If you consider that more than half of the children in the United States now have a mobile phone, this is a pressing concern.

best app to monitor child's cell phone

Because you are a good parent, and you’ve asked questions about the apps that your children are using, there are ways that you can learn more. You might be concerned if Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and other outlets are really safe. You might want to know how to tell what they have stored on their phones.

More importantly, if you’ve noticed your kids are hiding their phones and guarding them from your site, you might be interested to access them quickly and efficiently. Often what they are trying to hide from you is something you should know about.

Use this guide to help you discover how to get the answers you seek.

There are apps that help adult monitor a child’s actions on their devices. This is legal, and in most cases, will leave no trace of their presence on a child’s phone.

They will know nothing about it.

The apps are designed to help access conversations from social media networks an even if your kids are using dating apps. You can access live GPS locations as well.

Let’s not waste more time and get right to it.

Top 5 Apps to Monitor Your Child’s Phone Activity

I put together a rank of the best control software to help you monitor everything happening on your child’s phone.

You should note, I tried to keep this chart updated through testing software personally. There are multiple applications out there claiming to help you monitor your child’s smartphone, so I am sure to miss some.

If you’ve had positive experiences with software and wish to share them with me or others reading this blog, leave that in a comment at the bottom of this post.


APP Available on Android? Available on iPhone?
mSpy Yes (no Root) Yes (no Jailbreak)
FlexiSPY Yes (Root needed) Yes (Jailbreak Needed)
Family Time Yes (no Root) Yes (no Jailbreak)
Mobicip Yes (no Root) Yes (no Jailbreak)
Qustodio Yes (no Root) Yes (no Jailbreak)

1. mSpy (Best App for Monitoring a Child’s Phone Activity)

mSpy app monitor child's phone

What Should You Know Ahead of Time:

  • Works on Android/iPhone
  • Easy to Use
  • Leaves No Trace on Target Phone
  • No Jailbreaking (iPhone) or Rooting (Android) Required

In my opinion, the top spot for best spying applications goes to mSpy. I mention it all the time, and with good reason.

It is one of the most widely used control applications in the world, and features everything you need to monitor your child’s phone to the fullest.

mSpy only offers a single subscription called Premium that can be purchased month-to-month, quarterly, or annually.

To get this package, you can expect to pay a $48.99 monthly charge. If you want to purchase every 3 months, the per month price drops to $27.99. Annual subscriptions have a per month value of $11.66.

The premium license allows you to access social networks and read chats from Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, and other messaging applications like WhatsApp or Tinder. You can also find access to the call log, Internet browsing history and any saved media on the device.

These features work on both Android and iPhone, you just have to follow these steps to get started:

  1. Purchase your license from the website (if you follow this link, you will get a 25% discount)
  2. Install software on target phone
  3. Access the dashboard to monitor all new information you receive

Seems pretty simple, right?


All the spy apps available on the market work at 100% of their potential when you have the target device jailbroken (iPhone) or rooted (Android.)

NOTE: Rooting and jailbreaking are procedures designed to unlock a device and remove its factory limitations. Spyware can infiltrate the device more completely with these barriers removed.

mSpy is one of the only products out there that can bypass this process and not require rooting or jailbreaking.

Allow me to explain.

If the phone you wish to monitor is an iPhone, you can install inspire without performing a jailbreak, even if it only provides access to certain features. For example, spying on WhatsApp, iMessage, and SMS logs. You can also have access to exchanged emails, internet history, and more. If you want access to Facebook and messenger, Tinder, Snapchat, and other applications like these, the target device must be jailbroken.

Dashboard mSpy

Likewise, if the target is an Android phone, you can install this software without rooting. With a feature called Screenrecorder, you can take a picture of the phones screens every time your child accesses any social network. You can see screenshots from the dashboard and read conversations that have occurred. Similar to the iPhone, features are limited without rooting.

mSpy ScreenRecorder


TIP: I personally suggest to have control from the very beginning. Buy a phone, root/jailbreak it right away, install a version of mSpy on the device, and then gift it to your child ready to go. They will never know anything is amiss, and you get some peace of mind. Follow these links to learn how to jailbreak your iPhone or how to root an Android phone.

[wpcd_coupon id=6365]


✅ World’s foremost spy app

✅ Easy to install and use

✅ No trace on target device

✅ Monitor activities from anywhere in the world

✅ Read conversations from WhatsApp and iMessage (even if they were deleted)

✅ You can try a FREE DEMO version to see how it works

✅ Full assistance in multiple languages – mAssistance

❌ Only tracks cellphone activity – does not work for computers

❌ Is not free (costs a few dollars a month, but can be cancelled anytime with no added fees)


Frankie’s Take:

I would consider mSpy to be the complete option for those looking for a credible solution. It has loads of features. If you want to know how to set it up, I have a free guide available describing how to install mSpy in under three minutes. If you are not familiar with some of the steps, mAssistance is a service that can walk you through installation to avoid any possible issues.

2. Flexispy

Flexispy parental control app

What Should You Know Ahead of Time:

  • Works for iPhone/Android
  • Seemed slightly complicated to us
  • Requires jailbreaking iPhones or rooting Androids
  • Must physically access device to install software

Flexispy is one of the best programs on the market, and similar in many ways to mSpy. There are more than 150 distinct features ranging from listening/recording phone calls to tracking live locations. Here are some of the best features:

  • Spying on social media accounts
  • Live GPS locations
  • Environmental listening through microphone
  • See internet history
  • Emails
  • Intercept calls/messages
  • Monitor installed applications
  • Read conversations from WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and more.

There is no other software out there that allows all of what Flexispy can do, including providing passwords entered on the target device.

There’s got to be a catch, though, right?

The one main flaw I would see in this program is that it can be a little more complicated and intricate than other options. While you do not need to be a programmer or a computer engineer, you do need to be able to navigate them without many issues.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Start by jailbreaking or rooting the device.
  2. Purchase one of Flexispy licenses and packages
  3. Install the software to the target device (must have physical access)
  4. View the dashboard for incoming information and data

If you want to learn more on installing FlexiSPY on your kid’s iPhone or Android device, I composed a comprehensive guide to help you. Click here to access that detailed walkthrough.

Many of these features will mimic the functionality of mSpy, but you also will get a few unique options such as call recording, listening to calls in real time, environmental registration, or viewing data from your phone without having to log onto a specific website.

There are great features here, but this program will not work on an iPhone unless it has been jailbroken or an Android unless the system was rooted. If you aren’t sure how to do this or what this means, perhaps mSpy is the better option for you.


✅ Feature-rich spy software

✅ Free 24/7 multilingual technical support

✅ User-friendly interface

✅ Free demo to test features

✅ Invisible on target device

❌ Must jailbreak/root device

❌ Costs more than mSpy

❌  Must physically access child’s phone to install


Frankie’s Take:

This is a comprehensive solution for monitoring your child’s phone. You do need some technical knowledge to accomplish this, however. If you have basic device knowledge, you should be able to install the software without incident.

3. Family Time

FamilyTime App to monitor child's phone

What Should You Know Ahead of Time:

  • Works on iPhone/Android
  • Relatively easy to use
  • No need to jailbreak iPhones or root Androids
  • The app is displayed on the target device

Family Time is an app that gives you access to nearly all of the data happening from your child’s phone.

Though it might not seem easy to understand at first, as the interface is not the easiest, this is not a complicated app to use. The drawback is that it remains visible on the phone, but it cannot be uninstalled. The only way you can uninstall is through inserting a code that only the parent would have.

This is different than the other apps that you have been introduced to already. Family Time is a true parental control application.

Allow me to explain the differences.

This app is not meant to access conversations held on social networks, but you can block or set limits for the use of certain apps.

Let me give you an example of this. If you are worried that your child might be spending too much time playing Candy Crush on their phone, you can set a usage limit for the app. After the designated amount of time in the span of a day, they will no longer be able to access it until this timeline recycles.

As is customary with spy apps, you can geolocate your child’s mobile phone in real time.

This service is available on both an iPhone and Android devices. You do not need to go through the extra steps of jailbreaking or rooting the device to install. It is easy to use. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Buy the software from the official site.
  2. Install the app on the target device
  3. Manage all devices from the FamilyTime Dashboard App or available Web Portal

I found some cool features – such as setting tasks (homework, bedtime, or just limiting device usage)

In addition to these, which in some cases are exclusive to this application, you also have options for services like geofencing which alerts your phone when the target device leaves a specific area. You can also block specific apps, sites, and videos that do not seem appropriate. The service monitors calls, contacts, and text traffic.


✅ Very easy to use

✅ Low cost (Premium is only $27 for a year)

✅ One membership is good for several devices

❌ You can’t read messages or monitor social networks

❌ Application is visible on the device

❌ No demo to try


Frankie’s Take:

While this is a capable and effective app, it is best used when your children are young (likely using their first mobile phones.) At this age they are less inclined to be using apps like Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Unlike mSpy or Flexispy, Family Time cannot track social media apps like this for its content.

4. Mobicip

Mobicip app

What Should You Know Ahead of Time:

  • Works for iPhone/Android
  • No jailbreaking (iPhone) or rooting (Android) necessary
  • Easy to use and install
  • App is displayed on the target device

This application is very similar to Family Time. You can instantly block the device or decide to prevent access to specific applications like social networks or streaming sites. This is great for getting a child focused on getting their work done without distractions.

Much like Family Time, this software cannot access WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram conversations.

I would say that one advantage to choosing this app is that the interface is clean and easy to navigate. The creators centralized all necessary data into a highly accessible area, allowing you to easily monitor activity and set your daily or weekly time limits for devices.

One of the key features is being able to monitor browsing history going back a month. With customizable content blocking, you can prevent access to specific apps or websites that you know to be inappropriate.

Mobicip takes data protection seriously, meaning that you do not have to worry about others accessing the information for your child’s activity.

You can only access this service with a premium version, but any package that you choose comes with a free 7-day trial to see how it works.

Installing this application is easy and fast:

  1. Purchase software and install the app on the target device
  2. Adjust settings to meet your needs
  3. Monitor activity with your personal dashboard anywhere in the world


✅ Works on smartphones, computers, and tablets

✅ Affordable ($4 a month for up to 5 devices)

✅ Control targeted smartphone remotely

❌ Visible icon on your child’s phone

❌ Only allows you to set time schedules (not limits)


Frankie’s Take:

I would recommend this app for anyone monitoring younger children.

5. Qustodio

What Should You Know Ahead of Time:

  • Works for iPhones, Androids, and Kindles
  • Easy to use and navigate
  • No need to jailbreak (iPhone) or root (Android)
  • App is displayed on the child’s phone

This is a very popular parental control app accessible for everyone. This is ideal for those with no experience at all.

Unlike other parental control apps that I’ve shared so far, this software provides options that help parents know as much as possible about online activities to protect their children from predators and the dangers of the online world.

I consider many of these features to be very useful, including allowing you to here are some recordings of incoming and outgoing calls when using Android devices, though I imagine this feature will also be on iPhone soon. You can also learn what phone numbers are heavily contacted. This can help you to create your blacklist and add numbers for people that you don’t wish your child to speak with anymore.

Because the dangers are not limited to the online world, Qustodio also allows you to know your child’s GPS location in real time. You can monitor their movements and know if they are where they said that they would be or not.

To begin running the app, you first need to install it on your child’s device. Once it is installed, everything is easy. It is almost automated entirely, and the installation and registration process take less than five minutes to complete.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Create your Qustodio account
  2. Install the app on the target device
  3. Set the limits you need to protect your child from the dangers of the internet

The app is visible on the target device, but they will not be able to uninstall it.

Unlike other applications on this guide, there is a free version of this software. I should warn you, that the features available for this limited version or not that rate. If you want to access all the features and availabilities, you will need to purchase the premium version. It has a reasonable cost about $45.00 a year, and you can connect up to five devices to this plan.


✅ Different features

✅ Great call and text monitoring (Android)

✅ Can monitor Macs, PCs, Chromebooks, and Amazon Fire tablets

✅ Live GPS tracking

❌ No access to social media conversations

❌ App is visible on the target phone

❌ Dated web portal access


Frankie’s Take:

Like all the apps listed as parental control options, this is ideal if your kid is under 13. After that age, my advice is to get a more structured and diverse option of Flexispy or mSpy.


There are two main types of apps to monitor your child’s phone: those that allow you to read messages and track a social media presence, and those that just allow you to set restrictions on the usage of the device.

The best of these allow you to control a great deal of things, so they are what I recommend the most. These include:

  • mSpy
  • Flexispy

For parental control apps designed to limit the use of specific apps or reduce possible threats from the internet, some of these options included:

  • Family Time
  • Mobicip
  • Qustodio

Choosing the Best App to Monitor Your Child’s Phone

Between reading this tutorial and browsing many of the other websites, you have come across a lot of information. Now, you might be confused and not know which app is best for you to choose.

This part of the guide is going to be dedicated to giving you a few tips on how you can narrow down the best app for you and the needs you have.

First, take into account the age of your child. If they are under 11 years old, parental control apps are often the best option. If your child is older than this designated age, or hanging out with friends that have social media profiles, spy apps like mSpy are better options.

You might also choose any of the apps that allow you to track the location of your child in real time. This is a very interesting and useful feature for many reasons.

Another consideration that you must have when choosing the right application is going to be the price. Monitoring apps with stealth functionality (meaning they don’t leave a trace on your child’s phone) do not come cheap. They cost more than parental control apps that are visible on the main screens. Even with this being said, the most expensive monitoring application on the market right now does not exceed $45.00 a month. When you consider the priceless nature of your child’s safety, this is well worth the expense.

Yet another consideration is the support. If you are not familiar with these types of applications, having reputable support services can help you through installation and use of the software. mSpy, for example, has a service beyond the free 24/7 service, called mAssistance to help you install this program easily on a target device.

Do Any Free Monitoring Apps Exist?

Let me be explicitly clear here. You are not going to find free apps to monitor your child’s phone. Consider that no one would spend their money and time creating a program they could not generate a potential profit.

There are free options to set restrictions on apps on your child’s phone. Even more to this point, Apple and Google have parental control options available through their devices as stock settings. To learn more about this, I have a guide that I wrote to help you.

Why Should You Monitor a Child’s Phone?

With both the expanse of the internet and social media applications, diligent parents are finding monitoring to be a constant need. Kids choose to talk about their problems on different forums rather than sharing it with their parents.

There are specific risks involved in the use of the internet when children are involved. While there are overwhelming positives, real dangerous or continuous concern.

Monitoring what your child is doing and saying online can help protect them from dangers. Some of these include:

Pedophilia: This refers to sexual abuse that involves a minor. Usually, the predator is part of a circle of family or friends, so it can be difficult to get proof of any suspicions one might have. Honestly, this could be someone your child speaks to every day. According to research, the internet is a primary provider for access and means for this monstrous behavior.

Bullying: more than ever, children are dealing with bullying. Your child might not want to tell you about how humiliated they are in these situations. If they cannot get away from a destructive situation, as is the case with many children, they may choose options like suicide to remedy the situation. With so many online forums through social media, cyberbullying is becoming more and more of a threat.

The ability to monitor what is happening with your child can keep these negative things from over taking their lives and minds.

Older Boyfriends: children often cannot differentiate the complexities of what they consider to be true love. With age comes experimentation, and nothing can be more concerning to a parent then their daughter dating someone older than they are. One of the greatest possible risks in this situation is that they want something from your child that they are not mature or ready enough to provide. A method to keep her safe is monitoring messages sent and received before the situation gets out of control.

Abductions: you might teach your child to be wary of strangers, but this might not always be enough to keep them safe. Those that might kidnap in the modern era are creative and new methods of luring children who are naive about life. This is far and away from the cliche candy in a van outside of the school. This is a great use of monitoring your child’s location.

Drugs/Alcohol/Addictions: Drugs are more widespread than ever in modern youth and can lead to irreparable problems if this situation gets out of hand. Many deaths of those 14-24 stem from drug or alcohol. In addition, the use or abuse of these substances can welcome other situations like violent crime or becoming sexual abuse victims.

Your child is going to likely talk about their problems with a trusted friend before they talk to you, so make sure you know what is happening to keep them safe.

Can you Recommend a Messaging app that’s Safe for Kids?

Fortunately for you – but especially for your child’s health – there are several apps that are considered “safe” for children. I have collected the best ones in this guide. Take a look!


Hopefully the information I was able to provide in this guide has been valuable. I am always happy to help. Before we depart, let me quickly recap but we’ve covered in the guide to make sure that you haven’t missed out on important information that could help you keep your child safe from potential pitfalls and hazards.

There are so many apps that can protect your child through monitoring their actions on their device. If you can give you real Peace of Mind that your child is safe, however. This guide has been dedicated to showing you five of the best applications that you can find.

The first that we discussed was mSpy, which is the best in my opinion. You can track everything that your child does on their mobile phone using this service. You can find what messages they send and receive on social media applications and messaging apps, as well as monitor call logs, browsing history, live locations, and more. For all of these features, as well as how easy it is to install, the recurring charge below $50 a month is reasonable.

Secondly, we talked about Flexispy (a serious competitor for mSpy). This is another comprehensive application providing great features like recording calls. This application and software might be a little more complicated to use and requires the device to be jailbroken (iPhone) or rooted (Android) to install. The full package of features is a little higher than average, so keep that in mind.

Family Time was discussed next. This application allows you to block specific functions on your child’s phone, and set timers and limitations to prevent distractions during critical times.

Mobicip followed next in the line. This app is very similar to Family Time in that you can set timers on the device or to prevent access to specific sites/apps during the day.

Last, Qustodio was discussed. This is among the most heavily used of parental control apps, as one of its many features is call recording.

If you are only looking to monitor a select app or two on your child’s device, I have guides about spying on Facebook (and Messenger), how to read conversations from a WhatsApp account, or how to spy on an Instagram profile.

As you will know, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram are all social apps that are heavily used by children right now and might require more monitoring than other options.

I spent a lot of days and hours testing apps and spying software to keep this guide as current and helpful as possible. I recommend that you come back often to check many of the blogs that are featured on messagingapplab.com to see if there are more updates or new content.

That is all that I have for you right now. If you have any questions or concerns about what you’ve learned, you can leave a comment on this post below and I will be sure to reach out to you as soon as possible.

A hug,

Frankie Caruso

PS – if your child has an iPhone, you should check out my guide on setting up parental controls on this device to keep them safe. I have already helped many families just from them reading and following this guide.

PS II – I recommend that you access my Newsletter for free. The first online newsletter that provides you with lots of useful tips and tricks to help you better understand the dynamics of the internet and protect your children from the dangers that lurk there.

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About Frankie Caruso

I'm Frankie Caruso. I'm a professional amateur in that ugly business of social media, instant messaging apps and computer security. I help all those frustrated people who call themselves digital illiterates to understand something about this confusing digital world.