Amy Iverson: These parental control software options are money well spent

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Parents need a little help these days when it comes to keeping kids’ screen time safe. There are some great options out there to help limit time spent online and to help kids learn to set their own healthy habits.

In today’s world of ubiquitous screens, parents have to be on alert. Responsible parenting in 2017 really must include purposeful technology monitoring. And while many devices have decent built-in ways to filter out some content, moms and dads most likely need to kick it up a notch.

Here are three of the best affordable apps to help keep kids’ screen time and activity under control.

Net Nanny may be one of the oldest parental control software options, but it’s still good. You can set internet filtering, and it actually comes with its own pre-filtered browser. A unique perk is the profanity blocker. Your child may be watching a perfectly innocent YouTube video, for instance, but the comments are filled with foul language. The profanity blocker turns those words into nonsense like *#(@!.

Net Nanny will also email you — not text — if your child tries logging on to a website with questionable content, so you can talk to them about it, or just block it. This service will show a list of all the apps on a child’s device so parents can easily block or allow them. While it doesn’t allow time limits for specific apps, parents can set time limits for the device overall. There are no text monitoring capabilities to speak of.

Net Nanny works for Windows, iOS, Android and Mac. The cost of $40/year is for one device, $60/year for five devices, and $90/year for 10 devices.

OurPact is getting a lot of buzz as a fairly newer, all-inclusive parental control option. There is a very limited free plan for one device, and a limited plan for $2/month, but most families will need to choose the $5/month plan to gain access to the most robust features. By spending $60/year, parents can manage up to 20 devices to establish healthy family routines.

It allows parents to block specific or all apps for scheduled times, or for a certain amount of time. Parents have the ability to block texting and web browsers in the same ways. This capability could be a life-saver, and…

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