Symantec Norton Family Premier Review (With Screenshots)

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Is Symantec Norton Family Premier just another parental control app? Or does it do something useful?

Pros

 

  • Very affordable
  • Great web dashboard
  • Unlimited number of PC licenses available
  • Licenses also work on phones, tablets or other children protected devices
  • Can track the child’s location
  • Users settings apply on all of the user’s devices

Cons

  • No support for Mac platform
  • The free version is no more
  • One can easily disable the web extension
  • Some features are platform-dependent
  • Social media tracking feature is lackluster
  • Unable to block HTTPS sites on non-compatible web browsers

 

Bottom Line

Norton Family Premier has a top-notch online web interface.

That helps with managing all the things from a single window.

It also comes with a wealth of extra features that make it easier for all types of parents to track and then manage their children and their online activities across all of their computing devices.

The only problem is that it doesn’t work on Macs and there is no free version now.

Symantec Norton Family Premier Full Review

When it comes to parental control apps and monitoring programs, all of them follow a wide range of behaviors.

There are some parental control apps that install their software on the given device in stealth mode.

Then they allow parents to spy on their kids.

This is a bit creepy by anyone’s standards.

Symantec Norton Family Premier is different.

It, as opposed to most other parental control apps, actually encourages parents to take part and engage with their kids.

It also allows them to make their children aware of precisely what rules they want them to follow and hence are in place.

Symantec Norton Family Premier offers superior supervision to other parental control apps.

The company also makes it easy for parents to take advantage of that supervision across multiple and an unlimited number of computer devices.

Newer versions of this service enable parents to monitor all of their children’s activities from the company’s standalone companion app or its completely revamped online web interface.

As mentioned at the top as well, Symantec Norton Family Premier does not work with the Mac platform.

Moreover, it does have some encryption-based and browser-based limitations.

From an overall perspective, Symantec Norton Family Premier is easy to install and offers a wide array of capabilities which allow it to become a pretty solid parental control choice.

Price

As far as the price goes, the first thing readers need to understand here is that, parental control apps vary a lot in their pricing tiers.

Some are cheap.

While others are expensive.

Norton, as a company, tries to offer a pretty simple plan to all its users.

Potential customers can pay the company $49.99 per year in order to subscribe to Symantec Norton Family Premier.

What does this package include?

The package includes capabilities related to,

  • web filtering
  • Location tracking
  • Time usage restrictions

Symantec Norton Family Premier has features in place which allows it to keep 30 days worth of user activity history.

There are some other less-important but worth-it features such as SMS logging and instant locking.

In the past, Symantec Norton did offer users a freemium version of their software application.

As the term suggests, that software application came with some limitations.

There is no point in talking about those limitations now because the freemium version is gone.

The company no longer offers its freemium software application to potential users.

Of course, users are free to try out the company’s software applications for a period of 30 days by taking advantage of the company’s 30-day trial.

What About Number of Devices?

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As far as the number of devices go, Symantec Norton Family Premier doesn’t put any limit on it.

Users can add any number of children and/or devices to their account.

That is ideal for people who have an always-connected family generation.

This deal is also very economical for people living in large families.

We have already mentioned the fact that Symantec Norton Family Premier offers an unlimited number of devices.

What we haven’t mentioned is that same feature makes it indisputably one of the top parental control apps if we compare it to other competitors out there in the market today.

For comparison’s sake, Net Nanny costs users $39.99 per year for a single license.

Net Nanny also offers Family Protection Pass which allows users to utilize 10 licenses.

But that the Family Protection Pass package users have to shell out $79.99 per year.

Then there is Qustodio.

Qustodio charges $54.95 per year for all users.

The company allows users to protect up to five of their devices.

These devices include,

  • Smartphones
  • Tablet’s
  • Macs
  • PCs

How Does Norton Work?

For handling tasks such as reporting and configuration, Symantec Norton Family Premier takes advantage of its online console.

With that said, it is also true that users can make all the necessary changes from the company’s Android app as well.

Symantec Norton Family Premier uses a local agent app that enforces all the user rules and monitors user activity.

Users can install Symantec Norton Family Premier’s tracker in order to monitor and then control activity on platforms such as Windows and Android.

But the tracker has no power over platforms such as Mac.

However, users can still access the company’s web portal via their Mac machines in order to set up more parameters.

They can also use the console from Mac machines to view their child’s online activity.

Another feature enables users to manage profiles that belong to their other child.

How To Set Up Symantec Norton Family Premier?

Setting up Symantec Norton Family Premier is fairly simple.

To install it on an iPhone device all you have to do is go to the official App Store and download the company’s official app.

For people on the Android platform, they will have to go to the official Google Play Store and install the official app on their Android device.

Symantec Norton Family Premier also works all modern day computer machines such as HP Elitebook laptops.

Our research is based on how Symantec Norton Family Premier monitored online activity in a desktop environment.

On the mobile platform, users should have no problem is running the company’s applications on devices such as Google Nexus 5X or Google Pixel.

It is better if their Android devices are running Android 8.0 but that is not a requirement.

For iPhone users, it is best if they have a new device such as iPhone 8 that is running iOS 11.

But again, that is not a requirement.

How To Get Started?

The very first thing that you need to do with Symantec Norton Family Premier is to create an official Norton Family account.

After that, you will have to sign in via the online portal.

How To Add a Child?

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You can add a child by first specifying the child’s name, gender and then the birth year.

After that users are free to either choose an avatar to use with the profile or upload the child’s profile photo.

Symantec Norton Family Premier will automatically set up the initial configuration.

This configuration is based on the child’s birth year that the user specified in the beginning.

Parents, or users, are free to change any information about their child at a later date.

Users can perform a simple click on the child’s profile in order to manage the child’s settings.

The app allows users to customize all types of notifications that the official Norton app sends their way.

Needless to say, users will have to download and then install Norton Family agent on all of their devices which they want to protect.

Right now, they can install Norton protection on devices running operating systems such as,

  • Windows
  • iOS
  • Android

Basically, any device that your kid could be using right now.

All that the user needs to go is to log in to the online official web console and then click the button that says Download Norton Family.

This button will always provide the user with the correct and official download.

Each time the user installs the app, Norton will ask the user which of the user’s child uses the device.

As far as the PC platform goes, the app allows users to connect each of their child’s profile to a separate Windows account.

If the user wants to prevent his/her child from circumventing and/or uninstalling the company’s apps, Norton recommends all users to rescind any and all administrative rights.

Moreover, users should also make sure that they remove all types of guest accounts including generic ones.

That does it for the desktop.

Setting up Symantec Norton Family Premier on mobile is a bit more involved than setting it up on a desktop machine.

For the Android platform, users first have to give Symantec Norton Family Premier several different permissions.

These permissions would include accessibility and usage access.

Moreover, users will also need to add the official app as a device admin application.

On the iOS platform, users will have to enable location access.

They will also have to install an MDM, mobile device management, profile if they want all the program’s features to work properly.

We have already mentioned the fact that Symantec Norton Family Premier emphasizes the fact that parents should not spy on their kids.

They should communicate with their children.

There is no point in making attempts to secretly monitor and then control them.

Hence, Symantec Norton Family Premier does not come with a silent install option.

In other words, if you do decide to use Symantec Norton Family Premier on your kid’s devices to monitor them, they will know about it.

Let’s get to the part where you get your hands dirty in the configuration settings menu.

This is the place where users will make all the changes to the child’s profile.

And all those changes will boil down to a simple set of house rules.

The user’s children will have the opportunity to see those rules.

Norton’s app makes sure that children are able to not just see those rules but also understand them.

That is the reason why the official Symantec Norton Family Premier mobile app, as well as the notification tray icon, take a lot of pain to explain all the rules with clear messages.

These messages are sometimes as simple as “Web Sites that I visit can be monitored”.

Other times, the message can say something like “my time on the computer can be restricted”.

The Official Web Interface.

The official Symantec Norton Family Premier web interface is in a great place at the moment.

What we mean to say is that it takes full benefit of the recent but significant redesign.

All elements on the page now have ample white space around them to separate them from each other.

The tabs and icons also have bigger sizes.

There are many things to like here.

For example, the company’s official trademark Norton which is yellow color sparingly makes an appearance on the console.

Meanwhile, other secondary colors tend to appear consistently near and around all other elements on the page.

Needless to say, Norton has improved its web interface a lot.

The older left-rail menu system simply did not provide as much convenience as this new interface does.

The new interface does have one annoying feature left though.

And that annoying thing is the dashboard’s tendency to log the user out on its own, automatically, when the user hasn’t registered any activity for a few minutes.

Even worse, users don’t have any option to change the way that the dashboard works in this regard.

Generally speaking, automatic logouts provide users with more online security.

But even with that, software application developers should give users the ability to adjust those automatic logout times.

Main Interface

The main interface of the software application has a total of three tabs.

These tabs are,

  • Children
  • Parents
  • Device

The children’s tab, which is the default tab as well, lists all of the user’s child profiles.

Users can click on any profile to view the House Rules and Activity below the profile.

What does the Activity tab show?

It shows a complete overview of each and every category that Symantec Norton Family Premier offers for monitoring.

There are a total of eight supervision categories.

These are as follows,

  • Web
  • Video
  • Time
  • Text Message
  • Search Social Network
  • Mobile App
  • Location

If the user performs a click on individual tabs, it will let the user drill down for even more details.

The other House Rules tab enables users to customize their set of restrictions across all categories.

The next tab we have to talk about appears at the top.

It goes by the name of Devices.

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As the name suggests, this Tab enables users to manage their children’s existing tablets and phones.

Users can also add new devices via this tab.

The app also allows a filter feature.

With this feature, users can change the list of devices to show all the devices that Norton is protecting at the moment.

Or just the devices (such as tablets, smartphones, PCs) which the user has assigned to specific children.

For those wondering, there is no option for users to filter the list for the age range.

We think that a lot of large families would have found that feature very useful.

Each of the devices comes with an appropriate icon.

And has an editable name.

Hence, it is very easy for users to distinguish between different devices.

This always helps to reduce the time parents have to spend on the app in order to make sure they have set up everything appropriately.

As far as PCs go, users have the option of specifying which log accounts they want to associate with which of their child from this very section

The tab that exists on the rightmost tab is the Parents tab.

There is where parents can edit their own profile.

They can also add more than one administrative accounts.

If the user wants to invite a parent then all that the user needs to do is to click on the Plus sign that is located in the top left corner of the screen.

Before users move ahead and add more administrative accounts there is something we would like to talk about.

Mainly that users need to keep in mind that anyone that they add will have the privilege of full access to the user’s account settings.

They will also have complete access to the children’s activities.

Therefore, users need to ensure that they only invite those people who they trust completely.

The Web Filtering Feature

This is perhaps the central feature of almost all parental control systems.

Some parental control apps like to call this feature as the content filter.

This is the component that is responsible for keeping kids away from inappropriate websites.

Whether kids end up at these websites accidentally or deliberately is none of content filter’s business.

It has to stop access to matter what.

Symantec Norton Family Premier has a content filter which offers great and effective customization options.

Sometimes though, it falters when it comes to implementing those customization options.

So how do you get started?

To get started users first have to go to the House Rules tab.

Then they have to go the option that says Web Supervision.

After that, first, they have to select the level of supervision they would like to enable.

Now, supervision levels vary a lot.

They go from High (which means to block the site completely) to just Moderate (which would give the child a warning but will allow access) to Low.

The Low level will monitor the child going to a specific website.

But it will not block anything.

Other parental control apps such as Net Nanny also provide users with this functionality.

Net Nanny, in particular, allows users to warn children instead of blocking access to a website.

Moreover, Net Nanny also enables users to configure the supervision option in a separate menu for each of Net Nanny’s categories.

Norton is not as detailed as Net Nanny in this regard.

In other words, it only allows users to configure settings that apply across the whole board and not just for a particular category.

Below the Web Supervision options, users have the option of managing access to Symantec Norton Family Premier’s 48 content categories.

Now, users will have to face a lot of options here.

So let’s break it down a bit.

First, users should know that they can manually block categories.

If they don’t want to do that much work, they can just use Norton’s preset collections.

These collections are based on the kid’s age group.

Users can also take their mouse and hover over each category to trigger the app to display them an explanatory tooltip.

This is very helpful for users who eventually decide on selecting a custom list of websites that they want to block for their child or children.

A few users may find that the pre-existing 48 categories simply do not offer enough customization options for them.

Well, then they can take advantage of all the dedicated sections that Norton has made available within the app for allowing or blocking specific sites.

The other thing users need to know is that whenever Symantec Norton Family Premier block a given website, it always explains why it has done so.

This allows the child to (optionally) send his/her parents a message.

The message is basically a request to allow the child access to a link.

Additionally, the child can also click the link in order to report to parents that they incorrectly categorized a given website.

The default settings dictate that parents would get an email message in the form of a notification whenever they child ignores any of their warnings.

The same will happen if the child tries to intentionally visit a website that parents have blocked.

Parents have the option of viewing a log of all the web visits on the app’s Activity page.

They can access this page online.

We would like to mention here is that sometimes the list can grow to epic proportions.

To counter this problem, Norton provides the user with the option of limiting the number of questionable activities it will display at any given time.

Symantec Norton Family Premier also allows users to choose a particular category in order to shorten the list.

It even has options for users to specify a time range for their kid’s activities.

If the user clicks a given item on the list, then the app will open up a very detailed page.

This page would display the thumbnail of the website page that the child tried to visit.

The page would also show the user the categories that the user assigned to the webpage in question.

Below that, it will display the number of actual visits to the page.

From the same detailed page, users can select to actually dispute the website categorization.

In other words, they have the option of whitelisting the website so that their child can access the website.

Or they can allow access not only to the website but to the whole category.

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What we mean to communicate here is that the detailed page is a lot more than just a report which shows static data.

Symantec Norton Family Premier also comes with advanced online web tracking features.

But these work the best on the Windows platform.

We’re talking about tracking features which allow supervision of things such as,

  • Social networking websites
  • Web
  • Search
  • Video

Supervision for these categories is also available for HTTPS content.

But to fully avail that feature users first have to install an extension.

The problem with the extension is that users can only install it on mainstream browsers such as,

  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Google Chrome

And that leads us to the second main issue with this supervision feature.

The child can simply disable the web browser’s extension and/or plugin at will.

Then the child can just go ahead and browse the internet to his/her heart’s content.

After disabling the plugin, the child can also access HTTPS-encrypted websites.

These would include services such as anonymizing proxies.

So, you can rest assured that once the child disables the extension, all bets are off.

This is why we think that Norton seriously needs to pay a lot of attention to this area and improve how its browser extension works.

This Is How You Are Supposed To Test Symantec Norton Family Premier Web Filter

In order to test the feature out, first, you will need several web browsers.

That bit is easy.

Just download them.

And install them.

Then try to access a website that has HTTP encryption.

Twitter, is a good choice here.

Then, go to Symantec Norton Family Premier and block the category that says social media.

You can find this option in the House Rules.

After that, it is better to change the settings related to supervision to their highest level.

Then install the web browser extension.

And then test if Norton works appropriately.

What Did We Find?

Our research shows that Symantec Norton Family Premier would block Twitter if you followed our procedure above.

It would also report this activity.

Then it will throw up a big red flag.

That is, if you are using Google Chrome.

What about other web browsers?

Our research shows that Norton would actually allow you to access the site on web browsers such as Microsoft Edge and Opera.

In fact, it would not even give you a warning message.

Even if you try to explicitly block Twitter, it won’t block your access to Twitter.

As explained before, that is only because Twitter uses HTTPS encryption.

Symantec Norton Family Premier works perfectly on unencrypted sites.

And that category includes websites such as CNN and the rest.

It will even block those sites on Opera and Edge web browser.

For best results, it is better to just block the related category or at least add the category to the existing exception list.

Our multiple research efforts also show that even if the user blocks broad content categories or even add a particular website to the Restricted Website list, the user’s child would still have the opportunity to access any HTTPS-encrypted website if the child simply uses a not-supported web browser.

As you can probably tell, that is not fine.

In fact, these are some of the biggest shortcomings of Symantec Norton Family Premier.

A child is free to take advantage of these so-called workarounds.

Symantec Norton Family Premier applies Restrictions local on any device.

Hence, a given child can’t simply get around the restrictions or blocks by simply using a VPN service.

Norton has systems in place which alert parents if the child tries to make use of an anonymizing web proxy service.

Of course, if your kid just uses a web browser that Norton does not support, then you wouldn’t know a thing.

Users who want broader control over what their child sees on the internet should make use of OpenDNS Home VIP.

They can even use SAfeDNS for the purpose of whole-networking content filtering.

As far as the iOS and Android platforms go, Symantec Norton Family Premier recommends users to force their kids to use the company’s integrated Norton web browser.

On the Android platform, parents should go ahead and just block all other web browser apps in order to make sure that their child can only use a web browser that Norton can monitor.

On the iOS platform, things are a bit different.

The MDM app that we talked about before is going to disable Safari.

So all that parents need to do on the iOS platform is to toggle the option that says Installing Apps.

This option is available in the Restrictions section of Norton’s main settings applications.

Our research shows that this will prevent kids from getting around any rules that their parents have set.

As a browser, the Norton browser is reasonable.

It can block non-encrypted sites as well as HTTPS in a reliable manner.

Most of all, it is sufficiently fast.

Time Supervision

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Symantec Norton Family Premier gives users a lot of methods to manage their children online.

One of them is Time Supervision.

This method allows parents to monitor their children’s device use on a hardware basis.

If the child has reached his/her time allowance limit then Norton won’t allow any more device time.

In other words, they won’t be able to use it.

If the child tries to use the device at a time that the schedule does not allow, then Norton will block the use of the device.

This is pretty similar to what Net Nanny offers.

Net Nanny can limit the total amount of time the child can spend in the online world.

But it does not do anything about the hardware.

Norton locks down the user hardware.

Another Norton competitor is Qustodio.

With Qustodio, parents have the option of scheduling hardware use.

They can also schedule internet use.

The third option they have is to limit the time the child spends on specific applications and/or programs.

Symantec Norton Family Premier time supervision feature works both on Windows and Android.

Unfortunately, it is not available for the iOS platform.

Just like with the content filtering feature, the time supervision feature comes pre-configured based on the kid’s age.

It does that automatically without the user having to change settings.

The other thing readers need to know is that the preset age ranges can’t or rather don’t affect the number of hours the child can spend on his/her smartphone device.

But these preset age ranges can and do modify the specific hours in which the child can operate any given device.

Users have the option of changing the default schedule.

They can also enable daily limits on various devices.

But in the case of applying daily limits, users will have to do the same for each given day of the week separately.

The official app will give parents the option of increasing the daily limit that the child can use the device for in half-hour and one-hour increments.

Other competing parental control apps do something different.

They use grid-style schedules.

And we prefer that approach more than Norton’s.

Why?

Because with a grid-style schedule it is very easy for users to block out a given time range on each day of the given week with the help of nothing but a single mouse-drag.

In such models, users also have the ability to set time limits.

Then they can move forward to set supervision levels for each individual day.

The option of High supervision helps users to completely block the child after the child has consumed all of his/her time limit.

Then there is the option of Low.

This option is useful when uses only want to monitor the activity after the child has reached his/her time limit.

Users can easily set it up with a PIN though so that the child (or parents themselves) can access the device in case of emergency.

Net Nanny has a time allowance function that covers each and every device.

So it a child turn out of his/her internet time on his/her iPad then he/she is out of internet time on all devices.

The child can’t just switch his/her device from iPad to PC and continue surfing the internet.

Other parental control apps such as Qustodio tries to swing it both ways.

It allows users to select between individual settings and an overall allowed time limit.

Qustodio has a Time tab which is available in the Activity page of the app.

Within the tab, parents have the option of viewing a calendar.

That calendar shows parents how much time does their child has left and has used on any given day.

Qustodio can track each PC, tablet, and phone on a separate basis.

Moreover, the same page also lists out occasions where the kid actually ran out of internet time.

It can also show the times when the kid disregarded Qustodio’s timeout warning message.

Facebook Monitoring

Symantec Norton Family Premier can monitor all Facebook activity.

But the user has to make sure that the child is using the Windows platform.

And that the child is using the machine with a supported web browser.

Symantec Norton Family Premier will send parents a notification if the child manages to create an account by inputting a false age number.

Norton will also notify parents each time the child tries to post personal data.

We’ll talk more about protecting personal data in a short while in this review.

For now, users need to know that Norton allows parents to block any and all access to many other social media websites in their entirety.

Norton can also disable social media mobile apps.

Parental control apps that offer social media monitoring usually require the user to install an app.

What does that mean for parents?

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That usually means that the parent of the child will need the child’s actual login credentials.

It means one other thing.

The child is free to uninstall the app at any given time.

Parental control apps such as Qustodio take an interesting and a rather novel approach to this problem.

It Qustodio recognizes that the device has not enabled its app, it automatically blocks any access to the website in question.

Features like that enable Qustodio to track any and all social activity.

This includes any posts, comments or pictures that the child engages in.

The hardware that the child uses does not matter in Qustodio’s case.

Norton is different from Qustodio.

It takes the simpler approach of watching the web browser.

And taking notes whenever the user’s child is using a social media website such as Facebook.

This approach may work for Norton but we see one huge problem with it.

Facebook, as a platform, changes a lot.

And that means, it can sometimes disable Norton’s social media monitoring feature.

Moreover, the user will have to contend with no social media monitoring unless and until Norton engineers can work hard and push out a fix.

Bonus Features

Symantec Norton Family Premier also has a Search Supervision feature

Users can turn this feature on to allow Norton to force search engines such as Yahoo, YouTube, Ask and Google to use Safe Search.

Kids will be kids.

And will try to turn Safe Search off.

However, if they do it while Norton Search Supervision is around, it will turn Safe Search right back on.

Moreover, this feature enables parents to see a special list.

This list shows them what kids are searching for.

To view the list, users must first go to the Activity Page.

And then click on the Search tab.

Norton’s official website claims that it can force-enable its Search Supervision on search engine, Bing, as well.

But our research shows that it won’t lock down the Safe Search feature.

Now, you may think that all of the features that we have talked about till now are features that almost all good parental control apps offer.

And you would be right.

So, let’s talk about an uncommon feature.

Symantec Norton Family Premier has a feature which can monitor all the videos that the parent’s child watches on video platforms such as Hulu and YouTube.

To see the list of each and every video that your child has watched on YouTube and Hulu, first you will have to go the Activity page.

And then click on the Video tab.

Each and every item on this page would include the time and date when your child viewed the video.

The page will also show the videos’ category.

When the user tries to open any item on the list, the app shows the user the full description of the item.

It also displays a thumbnail of the video image.

Along with that, it mentions the link so that the user can himself/herself view the video clip and take further action.

As reviewers of Symantec Norton Family Premier, we would like Norton to apply this functionality to other video streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix as well.

Sometimes Kids act with naivety.

And end up sharing their personal information a bit too easily.

With Symantec Norton Family Premier, users have the option of recording their kid’s SSN along with email address and phone number.

They can also fill out a free-form field if they want to include further personal data.

If the user’s child tries to share his/her personal data or information online, the Norton app will warn the child that his/her parents have not allowed that.

Moreover, it will also send the user an email notification about the incident.

With that said, this feature is limited.

It is limited in the sense that it can’t really track data that is sent on pages that are secured.

Or HTTPS pages.

Hence, no matter how useful it looks on paper, that usefulness is pretty limited.

Symantec Norton Family Premier has recently added another extra feature.

It is called the Instant Lock feature.

The Android and Windows platform can take full advantage of this feature which helps to temporarily render a device unusable.

It also locks down any and all activity.

In fact, on the Android platform, the child is allowed to make some calls.

These calls can only connect to approved contacts.

But as far as apps are concerned, the child can’t launch them when the Instant Lock feature is working full-time.

So what about the iOS platform?

Does the iOS have this feature?

Yes.

But only somewhat.

The MDM controls this feature on the iOS platform.

And hence anyone can uninstall the profile without even triggering a notification.

With that said, it is true that for a user’s child to do that, the child will first have to enable the device’s airplane mode.

Messaging And Apps

Modern kids are quite different from kids of the old.

What we mean to say is that modern kids use several devices to access the internet.

They may use a smartphone or a tablet or even a clunky old (and slow) desktop computer.

Fortunately, Symantec Norton Family Premier has no problems in recognizing that fact.

And that’s why it has introduced a number of features which specifically deal with the problem of kids using multiple mobile platforms.

Users have to keep in mind that a lot of features that Norton offers as a part of its Family Premier package do not work in iOS.

The company simply does not offer these features for the iOS platform as we have alluded to before.

If the user makes his/her way to the House Rules page and then clicks on the App tab, the user can see a list which displays all the apps that the user has installed on the device.

To block an app, all that the user has to do is to check the related box.

We have also noticed that this App page points out to the user that it won’t block processes which install new apps unless and until the user blocks those apps first.

But if the user pays particular attention to the Activity Page and its App tab, the user would notice new installations.

Symantec Norton Family Premier also provides features with which users can monitor their child’s SMS messages along with all the contacts on the Android platform.

Parents can also avail the option of viewing their child’s friends on the mobile platform.

Along with that, they can assign two kinds of status to each friend.

They can either choose to “monitored” a particular friend or use to give the friend an “unmonitored” status.

The monitored status would mean that the device will allow messaging with the friend but it will also log conversations.

The unmonitored status is where the app allows messaging but does not record conversation logs.

Our research shows that if you are running the latest version of Android, you can’t block a contact outright.

That same research also told us that Symantec Norton Family Premier is likely to record both outgoing and incoming messages without causing any issues.

It is also likely to notify the users that Norton had actually successfully logged the related activity.

But users need to understand that as far as MMS messages go, Norton does not store their content.

It only saves the instance of the actual activity.

Moreover, this function is also, kind of, limited to SMS type of messages.

In other words, this function will not apply to online services such as,

  • Line
  • Signal
  • WhatsApp

But users don’t need to despair.

They can just block all these apps individually using Norton’s other features.

Which other features?

Other features such as App Supervision.

This feature is only available on the Android platform.

So iOS users will have to think of something else.

Location

Symantec Norton Family Premier wants to accomplish more than just keeping your kids safe in the online world.

It wants to help users ensure that their kids are safe even in the real world.

And the way it does that is by recording their location.

The location feature is available for both iOS and Android platform.

The good news is that Norton makes use of all the standard methods which parental control apps use to determine the child’s location.

And that includes methods such as,

  • Monitoring via WiFi
  • Monitoring via GPS

In fact, Symantec Norton Family Premier also tracks the child via the SIM card.

To access the location tab, users should make their way to the Activity page.

Within the Location tab, users can view a complete map which has pins to indicate recent locations of the child.

It also shows the user a timeline.

This timeline identifies when the app dropped the pin at a particular location.

Users can click the pins in order to get the address of the location along with an accuracy estimate.

Perhaps this is a good time to mention that Symantec Norton Family Premier app does not come with the geo-fencing functionality.

Hence, users can’t really set the app up to alert them if their child tries to leave a specific geographical boundary.

Additionally, it won’t notify parents automatically when their child’s changes his/her location.

It will, though, refresh the child’s location after every 15 minutes.

Other parental control apps such as Locategy and Boomerang offer tremendous geofencing capabilities.

Symantec Norton Family Premier For Android

Of course, everyone is going mobile and not just kids.

The official Norton Android app has a Parent Mode.

As the name suggests, it enables parents to set rules.

It also allows them to view child activity.

Furthermore, it alerts parents for all the devices they have decided to monitor.

The Android app has the same amount of functionality as the web console.

The only unfortunate problem here is that the online web console’s terrific interface didn’t manage to clear the jump to the Android platform.

As far as the main interface goes, the application makes use of a mix of grey and white elements, just like the web console.

It also comes with a sporadic splash of different colors.

But as far as the general layout is concerned, it is simply not as clean as the web console’s.

Moreover, a large amount of text has a small font.

Or at least the text looks small.

Additionally, the Android app tends to suffer from checkboxes that are poorly aligned.

The same goes for artificial shadows along with elements that are inconsistently spaced.

Norton’s Android app has tabs for,

  • Rules
  • Activity
  • Alerts

These tabs run across the whole of the top part of the screen.

The individual options are neatly organized under each of the above-mentioned sections.

As we have reported above, all the activity and rules related to tracking work as before.

So it doesn’t really matter if the user configures settings via the Android parent app or the web console via the desktop version.

The Android app also has a Child Mode.

This mode simply enables the device to open up the Norton Browser.

Norton’s Android app also enables the child to access House Rules.

The child can access House Rules from a menu that appears in the left-hand corner of the screen.

But that is about it.

Assuming that parents have set the device up for Child Mode, they can still sign in from the menu on the left side of the screen and then start to make changes if they have a need for those changes.

While making changes, parents should make sure that they revert the device to the original Child Mode before they actually hand the device back to their child.  

Symantec Norton Family Premier For iOS

We have already mentioned the fact that Norton did indeed provide a Parental Control application for the iOS platform.

It did lots of things.

The iOS app allowed parents to monitor and control child activity easily.

But that has changed now.

The app is only useful if the user wants to monitor a tablet or a phone.

And what about that child app on the iOS platform?

Well, it is just the company’s proprietary Norton Browser.

In other words, it doesn’t offer any choices for parents/users to sign in to the iOS app and actually make any kind of changes to the House Rules.

Needless to say that the iOS experience is frustrating.

Particularly so because almost every other parental control app competitor on the market allows users to make the same kind of changes from the iOS app.

Just to reiterate, this version of Symantec Norton Family Premier iOS app does not come with features such as,

  • Text message supervision
  • Any Mobile app supervision
  • Social network supervision
  • Time supervision

The other thing worth noting is that the iOS app comes with a set of built-in app blocking features or tools.

Users can find these in the Restricted section after making their way to the app’s Settings menu.

From the Restrictions section page users are free to block apps.

Users can block all types of apps such as,

Users who want to, can use the same tool mentioned above to prevent access to iBooks store and iTunes.

This tool is also very useful for preventing children from deleting and/or installing any apps or making any kind of in-app purchases.

The iOS app also comes with the content filtering feature.

It is also a built-in feature.

This feature, as mentioned before, can filter content by maturity ratings and age for almost all types of content.

But what are the different types of content?

The different types of content are,

  • Apps
  • Books
  • TV Shows
  • Movies
  • Audio files

Norton users can also use the app’s tools to customize any and all settings related to privacy.

They can also prevent features from working in the app’s Game Center.

Essentially, the Restrictions section on the iOS platform does a better job of securing and protecting the kid’s privacy and safety when compared to Norton Family.

Conclusion

Symantec Norton Family Premier comes with a reasonably impressive range and variety of parental control features.

The same goes for its monitoring features.

Today’s kids are hyper-connected.

And parents need these type of apps to take control.

Symantec Norton Family Premier can track any number of devices and comes with an intuitive online web interface.

It can log a ton of usage data related to the child’s activities online.

With that said, it is also true that it does not enforce the app’s web filtering feature with strong intent.

Moreover, many of the mobile features come with restrictions that are only based on the platform that the user is on.

On that note, we have to mention the fact that Symantec Norton Family Premier simply does not support Mac machines.

So, for users who want more flexibility, we recommend that they should go with other good parental control apps such as Qustodio.

Qustodio is the one that will likely meet all of your parental control (and monitor) needs rather than Symantec Norton Family Premier that doesn’t even work on Mac.

 

Zohair

Zohair

Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
Zohair

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