Do you trust your kids to responsibly use a phone, tablet, or computer 24/7, totally unsupervised? Do you trust them to responsibly use the Internet with zero restrictions? If you’re like most parents I talk to, you answered “No” to one or both of these questions. Did you? That means you’re interested in parental controls and Internet filtering.
Kaspersky Safe Kids is parental control software from the recognized name Kaspersky, of Kasperksy Anti-Virus fame. In this review, I’ll tell you how Kaspersky Safe Kids can help you protect your kids online.
Note: This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see Affiliate Disclosure.
In a hurry? In summary, Kaspersky Safe Kids provides strong parental controls and Internet filtering at a low price. It works on Windows, Mac, and Android, as well as iPhone and iPad (with some limitations). Read on for more details.
When kids have their own devices, especially those with Internet access, there’s a good chance they’ll try to use them in ways that are against your wishes, or are outright dangerous. Here are just a few of the challenges you face:
- Your kids may visit websites that contain malware that could harm their device, and even other connected devices.
- Your kids may access illegal content, such as pirated music and movies, and illegal forms of porn.
- Your kids may communicate with people who mean them harm, such as cyberbullies and Internet predators.
- Your kids may use apps you don’t approve of.
- Your kids may view websites, images, videos, and other content you don’t approve of, such as porn.
- Your kids may send and receive messages you don’t approve of, such as sexual or hateful messages.
- Your kids may spend more time using their devices than you want them to.
- Your kids may use their devices without your supervision, whether at home or outside it.
- The parental controls built into devices and apps may not limit your kids as much as you’d like.
For these reasons, you should consider parental control software such as Kaspersky Safe Kids.
How to Protect Your Kids
Kaspersky Safe Kids doesn’t try to hide itself from your kids. It shows its icon as well as notifications about the settings you’ve set. This reminds your kids of your rules, and that you have the ability to monitor their activity. It also makes it easier for you to communicate with your kids about your expectations.
There’s a free version of Kaspersky Safe Kids, but some of the features I’ll cover are only in the Premium version. Later I’ll explain what’s missing from the free version, and the pricing for the Premium version.
Video Tour of Kaspersky Safe Kids Parental Portal
1. What devices does Kaspersky Safe Kids work with?
It works on Windows, Android, and Mac.
On iPhone and iPad, its functionality is limited. That’s common for parental control software, because of Apple’s restrictions. On iPhone and iPad, Kaspersky Safe Kids can only control browsing that’s done through the Kaspersky Safe Kids app. It can block apps only if your child is below the age set for the app in the App Store.
2. What apps can Kaspersky Safe Kids monitor or control?
It shows you all the apps installed on your kid’s mobile device, and all the applications installed on their computer.
You can choose to block apps based on their age ratings, so that your child is forbidden from opening apps that are rated for ages older than your child’s age.
You can also manually control applications. For each, you can choose one of the following:
- Allowed: child may use application as much as they want (as long as device itself isn’t restricted).
- Restricted: child may use application within daily time limits you set (for example, child may use the app for 30 minutes per day, Monday through Friday).
- Forbidden: child may never use application.
Applications are put into categories, of which there are 17. You can set each category to Allowed or Forbidden.
This functionality is limited on iPhones and iPads, where Kaspersky Safe Kids can only block based on age rating. You’ll need to use iOS’s Screen Time for greater functionality.
Kaspersky Safe Kids notifies you when a new application is detected, so that you can quickly choose how your child can use it.
Pay special attention to social media, messaging, and dating apps.
It’s important to note that when your kid installs an app, it may be allowed until you forbid it, depending on your settings. So I recommend that you use the parental controls built into Android and iOS to prevent your child from installing apps. If you choose to allow your kid to install apps, you’ll want to keep an eye on new app installations so you can block any that you don’t approve of.
3. Will Kaspersky Safe Kids work outside my home network?
Yes. The software runs in the background, enforcing your settings, regardless of the network that’s used (whether your kids are on your home Wi-Fi, someone else’s Wi-Fi, or cellular data). However, the weakness in browser enforcement (see question 9) applies regardless of the network.
4. How granularly can Kaspersky Safe Kids filter content?
It filters based on web address (URL); it doesn’t actively scan the content of webpages.
If an allowed webpage loads content from a disallowed website (a disallowed domain), then that portion of the page may be blocked, but in my testing, this didn’t work consistently.
For example, if the Internet communication category (which contains social media) was blocked, I was blocked from viewing Twitter.com, but I could view tweets embedded on a website about web design. However, in a different test, embedded YouTube videos were blocked while the rest of a webpage loaded.
The Safe Search feature forces Safe Search on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Safe Search is a feature of search engines that filters out adult content (though it certainly doesn’t catch 100%). In addition to what the search engines do, Kaspersky Safe Kids also blocks search results in the following categories: Adult content; Alcohol, tobacco, narcotics; Profanity, obscenity; Extremism, racism.
The Safe YouTube feature blocks YouTube search results in the following categories: Adult content; Alcohol, tobacco, narcotics; Profanity, obscenity; Extremism, racism.
5. What website categories can Kaspersky Safe Kids filter?
Kaspersky Safe Kids can filter 14 categories of websites. Each website can appear in more than one category. For each category, you can choose one of the following:
- Allowed: child may access websites in the category.
- Warning: child is shown a message recommending that they not view the website, but is allowed to access. You’ll be notified if they do.
- Forbidden: child is blocked from websites in the category.
These are automatically set based on the age of your child, but you can change them.
For each category, you can view a brief description, with a link to a longer description.
For many of the categories, you can view advice from psychologist Christopher M. Bogart, Ph.D.
You can manually create an exclusion for any website, and set it to Allowed, Warning, or Forbidden, regardless of the setting you chose for the website’s categories.
There’s a setting to Block all websites apart from exclusions. If you check that box, your child will only be able to access websites for which you manually create Allowed exclusions. This may work well for young children who can be limited to a few websites, but it would be difficult to manage for older kids.
When a site is blocked, Kaspersky Safe Kids shows a page that explains why. If your kid wants to, they can send you a message to request access. You can see their request in the Kaspersky Safe Kids app on your mobile device, or in the My Kaspersky web portal. You’ll have the option to Allow or Decline, and your child will see your choice.
6. How will I monitor my kids’ activity with Kaspersky Safe Kids?
You can log into your My Kaspersky account from any web browser on any device, or use the Kaspersky Safe Kids mobile app to view activity.
You can get real-time alerts via push notification, SMS/text message, or email, if your kids try to access sites and apps that you’ve blocked, or leave the area you’ve set in location tracking.
7. Does Kaspersky Safe Kids use a whitelist or a blacklist?
First, a couple definitions (which you can also find in the Glossary):
- Whitelist: A list of approved items. A system that uses a whitelist blocks all items that are not on the whitelist.
- Blacklist: A list of disapproved items. A system that uses a blacklist allows all items that are not on the blacklist.
Kaspersky Safe Kids uses a blacklist approach for websites and apps.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a setting to Block all websites apart from exclusions. If you check that box, your child will only be able to access websites for which you manually create Allowed exclusions. This may work well for young children who can be limited to a few websites, but it would be difficult to manage for older kids.
8. Does Kaspersky Safe Kids control screen time? How granularly?
Yes. Each device can be set to Statistics only which simply tracks, or Time limit, which allows you to control screen time. Time limit gives the following options:
- Warn by daily usage (hours per day)
- Block by daily usage (hours per day)
- Warn by schedule (from … till …)
- Block by schedule (from … till …)
Warn means that the child is warned but is allowed to continue using the device. If your kid continues after a warning, you’re notified. Block means the child is prevented from using the device.
The daily usage options let you choose the amount of time (in 15-minute increments) that the device can be used on each day of the week. For example, 30 minutes on Monday through Friday, 1 hour on Saturday and Sunday.
The by schedule options let you choose the time frames during which the device can be used on each day of the week. For example, from 3:30 to 5 PM on Monday through Friday, 1-8 PM on Saturdays.
If your child is on a computer, a few minutes before the daily time limit is reached, Kaspersky Safe Kids will notify your child. They can click Request more time. You can see their request in the Kaspersky Safe Kids app on your mobile device, or in the My Kaspersky web portal. You’ll have the option to Allow or Decline, and your child will see your choice.
You can also set apps that are available even when a device is blocked because of hitting a time limit on the device.
You choose the settings for each device, so be aware that if your kid runs out of time on one device, they may try to use a different device.
9. What browsers does Kaspersky Safe Kids work with?
This is a weak area for Kaspersky Safe Kids, though it’s hard for parental control software to work with all browsers. Here are the browsers that Kaspersky Safe Kids works with:
- Android: Chrome, Kaspersky Safe Browser
- iPhone and iPad: Kaspersky Safe Browser
- Windows: Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox
- Mac: Safari, Chrome, Firefox
You don’t want your kids to be tempted to use a different browser, so you should use the supported browsers and use the parental controls built into the device to restrict access to other browsers, and to prevent their installation.
Use the parental controls built into Android and iOS to prevent your child from installing apps.
I recommend that you uninstall any browsers other than those that are supported. To prevent your child from installing other browsers, have them use a non-Administrator user account on Windows and Mac.
10. Can Kaspersky Safe Kids filter HTTPS traffic?
Yes, if your child uses a supported browser (see previous question).
HTTPS creates a secure, encrypted connection between a web browser and a website, to protect transmitted data from eavesdroppers. You’ve seen browsers show web addresses (URLs) starting with https://, and maybe also show a padlock symbol.
Many sites encrypt their traffic with HTTPS, so it’s important that you be able to monitor and filter your child’s HTTPS traffic.
11. Can Kaspersky Safe Kids track my kid’s location?
Yes, it can track Android and iOS devices, and show their location on a map.
It also lets you set allowed areas and a time interval for each. If the child’s device leaves the allowed area during the specified time interval, you’ll be notified. However, the allowed areas can’t be extremely small (they’re about 0.4 miles).
Also, Kaspersky Safe Kids doesn’t keep a history of your child’s location; it just shows their current location (although you could look back at your notifications to see the times your child left an allowed area).
12. How can I manage the settings of Kaspersky Safe Kids?
There are 2 ways to manage Kaspersky Safe Kids:
- The Kaspersky Safe Kids app on your device (Android, iPhone, iPad)
- Web portal (from any device)
The web portal is nicely designed, with a clean, usable interface.
Your settings are visible to your kids whether they’re on a mobile device, Windows PC, or Mac. A few example settings:
- “Safe Search is turned on”
- “Browsing history is recorded”
- “Some websites are blocked”
- “History of application use is recorded”
In the “Some websites are blocked” line, your child can click a link to see the forbidden categories.
13. How frequently is Kaspersky Safe Kids updated?
Looking at the release notes for the Windows and Mac software, and at the version history for the Android and Apple apps, I can see that Kaspersky Safe Kids is being actively developed.
I don’t know how often the database used for Internet filtering is updated.
14. How easily can my kid get around Kaspersky Safe Kids?
Kaspersky Safe Kids is designed to prevent kids from disabling it or getting around it. To change settings, pause the software, or uninstall it, requires the My Kaspersky username and password. So, keep that login info away from your kids (as if I need to tell you, right?).
To ensure web browsing is filtered, as I mentioned earlier, use only the browsers that Kaspersky Safe Kids supports, and uninstall or prevent the use of others. To prevent your child from installing other browsers, have them use a non-Administrator user account on Windows and Mac.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, when your kid installs an app, it may be allowed until you forbid it, depending on your settings. So I recommend that you use the parental controls built into Android and iOS to prevent your child from installing apps. If you choose to allow your kid to install apps, you’ll want to keep an eye on new app installations so you can block any that you don’t approve of.
15. How many devices or accounts does Kaspersky Safe Kids cover?
One nice thing about Kaspersky Safe Kids is that there’s no limit to the number of PCs, phones, or tablets you add to your account. There’s also no limit to the number of children you add.
This makes the software especially appealing to families with several devices and/or children.
16. What else do I need to know about Kaspersky Safe Kids?
There are a few other miscellaneous things I’d like you to know about Kaspersky Safe Kids.
Throughout the parental web portal (where you configure settings and view reports) is advice from a psychologist with 25 years of experience working with children, adolescents, and adults: Christopher M. Bogart, Ph.D.
The Battery Tracker tells you when your kid’s device has a low battery, so you can remind them to charge.
Kaspersky offers customer support via live chat, contact form, and social media.
Kaspersky Safe Kids was tested by the independent test lab AV-TEST in November 2018, and was one of two parental control options to receive the “APPROVED Parental Control” certifications for Android, iOS, and Windows. The other was Norton Family.
It also received the 2019 AV-Comparatives Approved Parental Control Award.
17. What does Kaspersky Safe Kids cost?
There’s a free version of Kaspersky Safe Kids, and a Premium version, which includes all the features for $15/year! This is a low price, especially for the number of features you get, with unlimited devices and unlimited children.
The free version only includes the following:
- Online Content Filter: “Protect your kids from inappropriate websites and content”
- Apps Usage Control: “Manage app use by time used, age restrictions or category”
- Screen Time Management: “Manage the amount of time your kids spend on their devices”
The paid Premium version includes those, plus:
- GPS Child Locator: “See where your kids go on a map & set a safe area for them to stay in”
- Battery Tracker: “Get notified when your kids are low on battery so you don’t lose touch”
- Social Network Monitoring: “Track your kids’ public Facebook activity via My Kaspersky”
- Real-Time Alerts: “Get alert if kids try to access bad sites & apps, leave safe area & more”
These premium features are most valuable if your child uses a mobile device.
If you’re looking for comprehensive Internet security, including anti-malware (antivirus), consider Kaspersky Total Security, which includes Kaspersky Safe Kids.
Who Is Kaspersky Safe Kids Best For?
Kaspersky Safe Kids is a good choice if your kids use Windows PCs and Android phones and tablets.
If you also have one or more iPhones or iPads, it can still be a good choice, even though it can’t control apps on those devices. If you have all Apple devices (rather than Android), I suggest choosing software that can control Apple apps. Note that it’s difficult to find parental control software that isn’t limited on Apple devices, because of Apple’s restrictions.
Because of the low price (only $15/year!), it’s a good choice for anyone who’s budget-conscious yet wants the power of paid parental control and Internet filtering software.
What You Should Do
- Define what you want parental control and Internet filtering software to do. Start with what you’ve learned in this review.
- Decide if Kaspersky Safe Kids will work for you and your kids.
- If you choose Kaspersky Safe Kids, install and configure it. As you do, consider my advice throughout this review.
- Talk to your kids about the settings you configure. Talk when you first set up Kaspersky Safe Kids, as well as regularly after that. Technology is no substitute for parenting.
- Regularly evaluate how well the software is working for your family. Adjust the software, and your settings, as necessary.