Best browsers for kids 2022
What are the best kid-safe browsers for kids in 2022?
September 14, 2022
Keeping kids safe online is a responsibility all parents share, especially post COVID-19. Screen time for kids jumped to new highs during lockdown as parents looked for ideas to keep kids busy while working remotely. Some of these new habits have changed the way and the frequency our kids need to access the internet, and it’s therefore more important than ever for us parents to protect our children while they spend more time on the Internet across the myriad of connected devices we all have in our homes. Being able to access, or set-up, a safe browser for kids is essential, and we’ve written a handy guide to selecting and setting up a safe browser for kids on your home devices.
First, what is a browser for kids?
A web browser is just an application for accessing the World Wide Web. In simpler terms, a browser is an interface that allows someone to visit a particular website from a computer, smartphone or tablet. When someone requests to view a page, the browser retrieves the necessary data from a particular server and displays the page on the device.
One way of describing a safe browser for kids, is a browser that prevents exposure to harmful content. A browser that can block pornography, questionable political content, and in our opinion, a browser where parents can have visibility and control over what is shown to their children. Going further, we also believe a safe browser for kids is a browser that maintains their anonymity as they search, doesn’t take kids data, and a browser that should block adverts, as well as the dreaded youtube and youtube kids recommender system that always leads children to spiral into unwrapping video black holes.
What are the challenges with browsers for kids?
The main challenge with browsers for kids is that they don’t really exist! That’s why at URSOR we decided to build one, as we couldn’t find a browser for kids that provided us parents with all of the above safety features and experience for kids, but there are wonderful services available that can turn common browsers and devices into relatively safe places for kids to explore the internet. We’ve created a list of 10 of them, and included as much information on each service as possible, along with their pricing benefits and drawback.
11 services to help set-up safe browser for kids
Last but not least, URSOR is a safe browser and search engine for kids ages 4 to 10. URSOR takes a totally different approach to all others in this list, in that it has designed an app that gives children an educational and focused browsing experience. The app is designed to live on the devices you give children to browse the internet, and block usage of all other apps on the device. It gives parents the tools they need to learn about what their children are looking at online, but the good part is that URSOR doesn’t really allow kids to surf the web. Instead, when kids search for a keyword or question, URSOR pulls in content from all over the internet, filters it for harmful content and keywords (which parents can easily amend), and presents them the results in a calm and quiet results page that gives them access to the content without ads, distractions, or tracking. Managing screen time for kids is easily done through the parents dashboard, and most importantly, parents own and can see all the data generated by their children.
URSOR is an experience designed for kids from the ground up. From the way they search, to the way they can catalogue and save the content they find. It also provides content suggestion curated by a team of educators and industry experts that helps kids learn about future topics like cryptocurrency, entrepreneurship, coding and much more.
The cons in relation to other products in this list is that URSOR only does one thing, but very well. It gives parents a tool to help their children learn how to search and use the internet.
This software is on the pricier side than its competitors, but it is also highly ranked, and includes a wide range of features that really deliver when it comes to the safety and controls of kids online. It comes with features that block and limit inappropriate games, apps and content. It also comes with screen time management tools, location trackers for devices, and social media monitoring.
The pros of qustodio is that it offers a comprehensive device management solution for kids and families, and it is especially great for teenagers.
It doesn’t offer an experience fit for a young child of ages 4 to 10, and It can be technical to set-up, their VPN breaks the web filter on mobile browsing, and their social media monitoring is limited to Facebook.
£92.95 per year for their premium package
The feature we like most from Kaspersky’s tools is the ability to block harmful YouTube search requests, but just like Qustodio, it also helps parents manage and restrict screen time, inappropriate games, and apps you don’t want your kids spending time on. When it comes to social media monitoring however, we noticed it only reports Facebook activity, meaning other social media sites are hard to track. Something else we do like however, is the way Kaspersy shares helpsulf and expert advice about the challenges of online behavior from expert child psychologists.
Kaspersy is an excellent solution for data privacy management, with great reporting, encryption of data and firewall protection. Their vulnerability scans are also top notch.
Like Qustodio, it isn’t really a browser for kids, and doesn’t provide them with an experience designed for them. It’s a cybersecurity product. The updates to the app are frequent, and can be easily missed by users. It consumes a lot of memory on the device it is installed in.
£11.99 per year, per device install (premium product)
#4 Net Nanny
Unfortunately Net Nanny does not allow parents to monitor social media content, but they cover the basics well by providing strong parental control tools. Like the other two options, they make screen time management easy for busy parents, and they have features that allow them to put an internet filter in place that gives parents the ability to block inappropriate apps and websites. Net Nanny particularly focuses on blocking pornography, which is good. Parents can additionally monitor kids' online activity through a daily feed that sends alerts and reports that can be viewed by parents from a browser.
We really like their family feed feature as it keeps parents informed on all activity across all devices, and screen-time management is a breeze.
There are no social media monitoring options, and it does not really provide a safe browser for kids with a dedicated experience.
£89.99 per year for up to 20 devices.
Bark takes a different approach to safety, focusing specifically on content monitoring across 30+ popular apps, and social media platforms. It even allows parents to monitor their kids' text messages and email accounts. Bark alerts parents via email or text whenever it detects potential risks, and it was developed in collaboration with digital media experts, law enforcement professionals, and child psychologists. Like the other services, it will allow parents to manage screen time, filter websites, and track your child’s location.
It is an excellent solution for monitoring, and their potential risk alert feature keeps parents informed. Their cyberbullying alert feature is particularly good.
As with all the other options available, it’s not a product that will give kids ages 4 to 10 an amazing browser for kids experience.
$99 per year to monitor up to 30+ platforms and apps.
Mobicip is a great solution for monitoring all kids devices from one app, locking them and unlocking them in real time, reviewing your kids internet browsing one month at a time, block websites by theme or category, and block specific social media apps, games, video streaming apps, and sites. Like some of the other options available on this list however, there is no ability to monitor social media.
The pros of Mobicip are that the solution works across a multitude of devices, and allows parents to block specific websites.
This isn’t a safe browser for kids, and won’t provide children with a browsing experience that allows them to learn how to use the internet as they search.
$119 per year to protect up to 20 devices.
Ourpact is a powerful tool. The software allows you to block specific apps, set timers for them, and manage screen and app time as an allowance for your children. OurPact also has content monitoring, but unfortunately not within social media accounts in the same way Bark does. OurPact also has a good Geo-fencing feature within its offering. It works on iOS and Android devices, and also allows parents to schedule and block texting on the devices.
The big pro here is that Onepack lets you turn screen-time into a negotiable allowance with your children.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, Onepact is a great tool for monitoring device usage and managing screen-time, but it isn’t a browser for kids.
$119 per year to fully manage a single device.
#8 OpenDNS VIP Home
If filtering content across all devices your kids have access to is your primary concern, OpenDNS VIP Home even works across Chromebook, Kindle, and Nook. The parental controls allow you to customize content and filtering, and even give parents the capability to restrict internet access to specific white-listed domains. You also have the ability to review your kids Internet history for up to a year.
A simple, but effective product when it comes to restricting access to specific domains across all devices in a home.
The solution isn’t a browser for kids. Like the other services it only allows you to partially create one out of an existing browser for adults. It doesn’t really secure devices, but it only secures the connected “home environment”
$19.95 per year for securing home environment.
Circle Home Plus is a hardware solution. It’s a compact cube you can connect to your Wi-Fi router to manage every device on your home network, and is controlled via an app. It’s a subscription service you pay quarterly, yearly, or for a lifetime. The content filtering features allow you to customise the filters on each of the connected devices based on age. It also allows parents to track their kids Internet history, and pause Internet access to promote better family time. It has location tracking, but one of its best features is the ability to use screen time as a rewards scheme or incentive for good behaviour.
It helps secure all the devices connected to home wi-fi and set restrictions on internet browsing as required. The “for life” pricing structure is also a win!
It doesn’t provide children with a specific browsing and search interface, which is the same criticism we have for all other products.
$129 per year for the device and service.
Also in the hardware category, this router claims a “7-layer IntelliFilter” that lets parents customize the type of internet content they wish to filter, logs the activity of all connected devices, blocks content by keywords, and it even filters searches and content according to preferences on YouTube. Finally it also emails parents reports on internet usage to give them visibility.
It’s a clean simple solution for content filtering on internet browsing at home.
You guessed it... it isn’t a browser for kids, and won’t provide your children with a valuable learning experience as they browse.
$179.88 per year for the device and service.
This is a solution that takes a different approach. The software doesn’t block content, but it just monitors it. The service sends parents real time alerts to their phone whenever children visit inappropriate websites, download a new app, or specific topics/words are sent and received in SMS messages. The service even alerts parents when children upload photos to social media platforms, and sends them a view of the post and comments attached. It gives parents the ability to set a screen time curfew, and the capability to lock devices immediately. Location tracking and geo-fencing features are also included.
We like a permissive approach to this service. It gives children agency over how they use their devices, and creates healthy dialogue within the family.
Some may not like the idea that websafety doesn’t really prevent threats, but just provides tools for live management. Also... not a browser for kids.
Currently free once subscribed.
The responsibility to protect children online is paramount for all parents. The tools available to do so effectively are many, but they are not all easy to implement. If you are motivated however, and have the patience to research and install the right product for you and your family, you can go beyond simply providing a safe browser for kids. At the end of it all however, the best way to protect your children is to talk to them, educate them, and help them understand. Whatever tool suits you best, nothing beats developing a caring and trusting relationship with your kids. Be safe!
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