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Qustodio vs. Bark: A Guide on How to Find the Best Parental Control App

Do you ever worry about your child's digital footsteps? Join our exploration of Qustodio and Bark – two leading parental control apps designed with your child's safety in mind. Let's take a look at which one truly offers that protective shield for our young explorers in the digital world.
by Chris Allmer | Nov 8 2023

It’s a rainy Saturday, and your kiddo, Max, has been spookily quiet in his room for longer than usual. You sneak a peek, and there he is, absorbed in his new smartphone. A flurry of thoughts hit you — is he chatting with friends? Perhaps watching one of those trending online challenges? Or maybe… stumbling upon corners of the internet he shouldn’t? Oh, the problems that come with being a parent today! 

But don’t worry if you’re a parent in the digital age. Blinkist has you covered. We did our research to find the best parental control apps for you and will compare the two reigning ones in our showdown, Qustodio vs Bark. The goal is to find out which one truly cares about your child’s online safety!

What is Child Online Safety?

Child online safety is the practice and measure used to protect children from physical, emotional, and online threats in the digital world. It covers everything from ensuring their physical well-being to safeguarding their online presence against 

  • Cyberbullying
  • Online predators 
  • Inappropriate content

A study by the Pew Research Center in 2018 found that 59% of U.S. teens reported experiencing cyberbullying, highlighting the urgency of establishing robust safety nets for our children. 

It is essential to ensure child safety and cyberbullying prevention because it builds trust and security in the present, but also lays the foundation for a mentally and emotionally resilient future.

Qustodio vs. Bark: An Overview

Keeping our kids safe online and stepping up our digital parenting is important, but as technology gets better, so do the dangers. Here’s a brief overview of two leading apps in the parental control arena: Qustodio and Bark.

What is Qustodio?

Often described as a digital guardian, Qustodio seeks to create a protective bubble around your child’s online journey. It utilizes advanced real-time filters to block inappropriate content, sets screen time limits, and even monitors text messages and social media activity. 

Furthermore, with its detailed activity reports, parents can stay informed about their child’s digital behavior.

What is Bark?

Bark, a modern take on parental controls, Bark believes in a blend of surveillance and comprehension. It uses advanced algorithms to scan texts, emails, and over 30 social media platforms for signs of potential issues—be it cyberbullying, online predators, or self-harm tendencies. 

By alerting parents only when necessary, Bark can be a great app for social media monitoring for children and still strike a balance between giving them their space and ensuring their well-being.

The Key Features and Offerings

How do Qustodio and Bark compare against each other? Below is a brief overview of what each platform offers.

Feature/Service Qustodio Bark
Content Filtering Advanced real-time filters for inappropriate content Scans texts, emails, and social platforms for potential issues
Screen Time Limits Yes Limited functionality
Text Monitoring Monitors text messages and social media activity Advanced algorithmic scans of texts and emails
Social Media Oversight Detailed activity reports Monitors over 30 social media platforms
Alerts & Reports Detailed daily and weekly reports Alerts parents only when potential issues are detected
Privacy Controls  Standard parental controls Balances child safety with respect for their digital autonomy
Geolocation Tracking Provides child’s location and history Real-time location tracking with history
Panic Button Available in premium versions Available for children to alert predefined contacts
App Controls Block, limit, or monitor app usage Overview of apps used and time spent
Call Monitoring Logs calls and allows blocking certain numbers Monitors call details but doesn’t record audio
Internet Search Monitoring Tracks search queries and websites visited Monitors search patterns and red flags concerning behaviors
Compatibility iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Kindle iOS, Android, Chromebook
Trustpilot Reviews 3,4/5 (153 reviews) 2,3/5 (11 reviews)

Platform Compatibility

Covering an impressive range of platforms from iOS, Android, to even Chromebook and routers, Qustodio and Bark have most households covered. Yet, there are subtle differences. 

For instance, while Qustodio has the edge in Chromebook and Kindle territory, Bark branches out, offering compatibility with the Amazon Fire app and a unique router support feature:

Feature Qustodio Bark
iOS App
Android App
Windows App
macOS App
Chromebook App
Amazon Fire App
Router Support


How You Can Trust Your Child and They Can Trust You

Knowing that parents are monitoring their online activities is important for kids, but understanding the “why” behind it and feeling respected is equally important. 

It’s essential to keep them safe, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of trust. Let’s explore how Qustodio and Bark strike this delicate balance:

How Qustodio Helps to Build Trust

  • Transparent Monitoring: This parental control software doesn’t operate in the hidden. While Quostodio provides detailed insights into a child’s online activity, it encourages parents to be open about its presence. This open communication ensures kids don’t feel spied upon, but rather protected.
  • User Profiles to Respect Growth: By allowing personalized user profiles, Qustodio respects the individuality and maturity of each child. An older teen might have more freedom compared to their younger sibling, acknowledging their capacity for responsible online behavior.
  • Fostering Conversations: The reports generated by Qustodio can serve as conversation starters. Instead of resorting to punitive measures, parents can discuss online behavior, reinforcing trust and mutual respect.

How Bark Supports the Parents

  • Less Intrusion, More Insight: Bark’s philosophy revolves around giving children ample digital freedom. It only raises an alarm when absolutely necessary. This approach assures kids that their parents trust them to surf the web responsibly.
  • Educational Outreach: Bark goes beyond just monitoring. It educates. When a potential online issue is detected, Bark provides parents with guidance on addressing it. This proactive approach ensures that children understand the ‘why’ behind certain restrictions or concerns.
  • Joint Decision-Making: One of the cornerstones of trust is collaboration. Bark recommends that parents involve their children when setting up controls. This shared responsibility educates the child and strengthens the bond of trust.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Internet Safety: 5 Top Tips

Talking to your child about online safety and why you’re using parental control software can be a bit tricky, but it’s super important. Here are five tips to make sure the conversation goes well:

  1. Open Dialogue: Start with an open conversation about the internet. Explain that while it offers endless information and entertainment, it also has areas that aren’t suitable for children. This will help them understand your intent better.
  2. Safety First: Emphasize that your primary concern is their safety. Just as you wouldn’t let them wander into a dangerous physical location, the same applies to the digital world.
  3. Collaboration, Not Control: Think of the discussion as a team effort, not something you control. Instead of “I will be watching everything you do,” phrase it as “Let’s work together to make sure you’re safe online.”
  4. Respect and Privacy: Assure them that you respect their privacy. Let them know that you won’t be listening in on their conversations or activities unless there’s a safety reason.
  5. Feedback and Check-ins: Set regular check-ins to discuss any concerns, updates, or changes related to their digital activities. This fosters open communication and assures them that it’s a continuous process of trust-building.

Remember, the goal is to build trust and understanding, not to create a surveillance state. After all, who would want to exist in such a state? Remember George Orwell’s “1984”?


Qustodio vs Bark: The Pricing

After exploring all the key features of the two parental control platforms, Qustodio and Bark, let’s now take a look at the pricing.

How Much is Qustudio?

Here’s a breakdown of Qustodio’s pricing based on the available plans:

Plan Annual Fee Number of Devices
Free $0 1
Small Plan $54.95 5
Medium Plan $96.95 10
Large Plan $137.95 15

How Much is Bark?

Let’s take a look at Bark’s pricing structure in this overview:

Plan Annual Fee Number of Devices
Bark Jr. $49.99/yr. Unlimited
Bark Premium $99.99/yr. Unlimited

Weighing the Pros and Cons

After gaining a deeper understanding of the main functions, differences, and pricing, let’s explore the core concepts behind these two parental control apps. Our comparative analysis will assist you in identifying which platform might best address your needs and concerns. Check out the following pros and cons for a concise overview:

Services Pros Cons
Content filtering options Limited social media monitoring
A detailed activity report Pricier than some other tools
Effective screen time management Compatibility issues with some devices
Extensive social media monitoring Limited content filtering options
Reasonably priced Relies heavily on alerts, which can be overwhelming
Efficient alert system Certain features require cooperation from children.


Qustodio vs Bark: Our Final Recommendation

We know, navigating the digital world as a parent in 2023 can feel like uncharted territory. However, armed with knowledge and the right tools, it can become a manageable task and not as scary when your child suddenly goes quiet in their room. Both Qustodio and Bark offer valuable parental control features, with each catering to different needs.

Qustodio’s detailed activity reports and content filtering make it ideal for parents wanting more oversight. Click here to gain a clearer picture of your child’s online activities with Qustodio.

 In contrast, Bark’s efficient alert system and extensive social media monitoring offer a less intrusive approach. Click here to get access to Bark.


The best choice will depend on your needs, preferences, and what you think will work best for your family. It’s also crucial to couple these digital parental control tools with open communication and understanding.

Moreover, parenting extends beyond digital control and deciding between Qustodio and Bark. It’s about understanding, connecting, and growing with your child. If you’re keen on enhancing your parenting journey, Blinkist offers a curated collection of book summaries that provide insights into fostering healthier parent-child relationships. Take a look!

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This article includes affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through them. Rest assured, our opinions remain unbiased.

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