FamilyTime Review 2023: Is It Right for My Family?

As all parents know, keeping our kids safe in the digital age is a huge concern. With smartphones, tablets, and 24/7 internet access, we want to protect our children from cyberbullying, predators, explicit content, and other online dangers.

But we also don‘t want to invade their privacy or limit healthy exploration. It‘s a tricky balance.

This is why so many moms and dads consider parental control apps like FamilyTime. But how well does it really work? Is it worth the money and effort?

In this in-depth FamilyTime review, I‘ll dig into everything this monitoring app can and can‘t do. You‘ll get the full rundown on its features, reliability, and how FamilyTime compares to leading competitors.

My goal is to help you decide if FamilyTime is the right fit to keep your kids safer online. Let‘s get started!

Why Parents Turn to FamilyTime

Before we look at FamilyTime specifically, it helps to understand what today‘s parents are worried about when it comes to their kids‘ device usage.

According to a 2022 survey by Digital Wellness Lab, 91% of parents have concerns about their children‘s screen time. Top worries include:

  • Exposure to inappropriate content – 79%
  • Lack of in-person interactions – 63%
  • Cyberbullying – 61%
  • Access to explicit material – 58%
  • Falling victim to predators – 44%

Additionally, children aged 8 to 18 spend an average of 4 hours and 44 minutes per day glued to screens, not including schoolwork. This massive amount of technology use makes parents uneasy about what their kids encounter each day.

This data shows why a staggering 92% of parents use some form of parental controls like FamilyTime. By monitoring their kids‘ activities, limiting screen time, and filtering inappropriate stuff, moms and dads hope to keep their children safer.

Now let‘s dive into how FamilyTime aims to address these concerns and where it succeeds and falls short.

What is FamilyTime?

FamilyTime is a parental monitoring app created by leading control software company Qustodio. It‘s designed specifically for parents to track and control their kids’ activity on smartphones and tablets.

It works by installing the FamilyTime parent app on your own device, then installing FamilyTime Junior on your children‘s devices. Once linked together, you can track locations, messages, apps, and more.

Some key things FamilyTime lets you do include:

  • View your kid‘s device location in real-time on a map
  • Get alerts when your child enters or leaves specific areas
  • Block access to apps and games
  • Limit daily screen time
  • Filter inappropriate websites
  • Record your kid’s phone calls (Android only)
  • Read your kid’s text messages (Android only)

FamilyTime offers monthly or yearly subscription plans ranging from $27 to $69 per year depending on the number of kids you want to monitor.

Next, let‘s look at how easy (or difficult) it is to get FamilyTime up and running.

Is FamilyTime Easy to Set Up?

Getting started with a parental control app like this involves downloading the apps, creating an account, installing on devices, and configuring settings. Here‘s an overview of what‘s involved with FamilyTime specifically:

The initial setup steps include:

  1. Download FamilyTime parent app from the App Store or Google Play on your device

  2. Download FamilyTime Junior from the app store onto your child‘s device

  3. Open the parent app, create your account and password

  4. On your kid‘s device, enter the activation code shown in parent app to link their device

  5. Adjust FamilyTime’s settings like time limits, location tracking, etc.

  6. Monitor your child’s activity in the parent dashboard

Seems easy enough right? The problem is, many parents report major issues getting FamilyTime properly installed and linked across devices.

Common complaints include:

  • Activation codes not syncing devices properly
  • Asking for subscriptions before the free trial ends
  • Requiring complex permissions to enable tracking
  • Customer support being unresponsive

While not overly difficult if everything goes smoothly, there are clearly some recurring technical frustrations around the setup process.

FamilyTime Features and Functionality

Once you get past the initial hassle, FamilyTime provides a full suite of monitoring tools. Here are the key features available to parents:

Location Tracking

By far the most used feature is real-time location tracking. FamilyTime will display your child‘s device location on a map within the parent app. You can check it at any time to see where they are.

Historical location data is also saved. You can playback a timeline of everywhere your child has been over any time period.

Tip: Make sure location access is enabled on their device for maximum accuracy.


Geofences are virtual perimeters you can set up around a specific location, like your home, school, or other areas. If your kid enters or leaves the geofenced area, you get an instant alert.

Use this to keep your children from sneaking out past curfew or get notified if they skip school.

Web Filtering

FamilyTime allows you to block entire website categories like pornography, gambling, weapons, alcohol, and more. You can also add specific sites to its blacklist.

However, web filtering on iOS works poorly since kids can access any sites through the Safari browser. Only Chrome filtering is effective on an iPhone.

Screen Time Limits

To prevent distraction and limit addiction, you can restrict how much time your kids spend on their device each day. FamilyTime can also limit daily usage of individual apps like TikTok or games.

Once the time limit is reached, apps or the entire device are blocked for the remainder of the day.

Text Message Monitoring (Android Only)

On Android phones, FamilyTime lets parents view the content of all texts sent and received by your child. You can monitor who they are talking to and read the conversations.

Because of iOS restrictions, the ability to view texts is not possible on the iPhone version.

Call Recording (Android Only)

In addition to texts, FamilyTime can also record phone calls made on your kid‘s Android device. You can listen back to see who they spoke with and what was said.

On the iPhone version, you can only see basic call logs – no actual call recordings.

Panic Button

Kids can press the FamilyTime panic button to discreetly send their location to parents if they feel unsafe or need immediate assistance.

This can provide peace of mind to both child and parent when apart.

App Blocking

Via the app blocking feature, you can restrict access to apps like TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, games, dating apps, and more. Block by category or add apps individually.

However, on iPhones this is not very effective. Kids can open most apps through the web browser without issue.

Fine-Tune Time Controls

FamilyTime allows impressive customization of time limits and schedules:

  • Set daily or weekly limits for app categories or the entire device
  • Allow/block apps during certain times or days
  • Customize internet access schedules
  • Override schedule for bonus time without deleting settings

How Does FamilyTime Compare to Competitors?

FamilyTime isn‘t the only parental control app out there. Top competitors include Norton Family, Kidslox, Boomerang, and Qustodio (also owned by FamilyTime‘s developer).

Here‘s a comparison of key features across FamilyTime and its main competitors:

Features FamilyTime Norton Family Boomerang Qustodio
Price $27 – $69/year $50 – $100/year $6 – $20/month $55 – $135/year
Platforms Android, iOS Android, iOS, Windows, Mac Android, iOS Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Kindle
Location Tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Web Filtering Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Screen Time Limits Yes Yes Yes Yes
Social Media Monitoring No Yes No Yes
Call Recording Android only No Yes No
Text Message Monitoring Android only Android only Yes No
Suspicious Image Detection No Yes Yes No
Uninstall Protection No Yes Yes Yes

*Limited effectiveness on iOS

As you can see, FamilyTime holds its own overall but falls short in a few areas like social media monitoring, call blocking, and uninstall protection. Competitors like Norton Family and Qustodio lead the pack when it comes to robust feature sets.

But there are legitimate reasons to choose FamilyTime over its alternatives:

  • Price – FamilyTime is one of the most affordable options out there
  • SMS monitoring – It‘s one of the few that can record texts on Android
  • Location accuracy – FamilyTime uses reliable location tracking technology

It really comes down to the features most important for protecting your unique child. FamilyTime nails the basics like time limits, filtering, and location monitoring. But it lacks a few advanced capabilities as well.

What Do Other Parents Think of FamilyTime?

Reviews from parents who have used FamilyTime are decidedly mixed. On Google Play, it averages 3.6 out of 5 stars based on close to 50,000 user reviews. The most common complaints cite:

  • Constant technical glitches
  • Features not working as expected
  • Excessive battery drain
  • Sudden costs after free trial
  • Very difficult to cancel subscription

Many positive Google Play reviewers say FamilyTime does exactly what they need at a fair price. But the sheer volume of technical issues reported is concerning.

Over at the Apple App Store, sentiment leans even more negative. FamilyTime for iOS averages just 2.3 stars based on around 6,000 ratings.

Parents call the iPhone version:

  • "Horrendous" and "useless"
  • "Not worth the money”
  • “Doesn’t block anything” and kids bypass it instantly

Many iOS users feel FamilyTime is poorly executed on iPhone with limited capabilities compared to Android.

Takeaway: Reviews indicate parents are frequently frustrated with technical issues and limitations of FamilyTime, especially on iPhone. It doesn‘t seem to consistently deliver on its promised feature set.

FamilyTime Review – Final Verdict

So, is FamilyTime a scam? Absolutely not. When it works properly, it can absolutely help parents monitor their kids and limit device usage. Location tracking is impressive, and Android call/text recording is handy for staying on top of your child‘s activities.

But the problems are real. From complex setup to bypassability on iOS, FamilyTime has some flaws holding it back from being a leading parental control pick. There are clear technical issues plaguing the apps.

For budget-minded parents of young kids, FamilyTime is worth considering if you understand its limitations. But more concerned parents may want a more tamper-proof option like Qustodio or Norton Family.

Here are a few final pros and cons:


  • Affordable yearly pricing
  • Accurate real-time location tracking
  • Can record calls and texts on Android
  • Good selection of time/app limits


  • Unreliable performance and bugginess
  • Easy for kids to uninstall without notice
  • Limited capabilities on iPhone
  • No protection across computers/gaming systems

In the end, while I can‘t call it a scam, I can‘t recommend FamilyTime as a top parental control pick either. There are simply more consistent apps available. But download the free version and give it a shot if you think FamilyTime could meet your needs. Just proceed cautiously.

And no matter which monitoring solution you choose, open conversations with your kids are still the most important digital parenting tool. Apps like these are simply helpful aids when used responsibly.

Written by Jason Striegel

C/C++, Java, Python, Linux developer for 18 years, A-Tech enthusiast love to share some useful tech hacks.