MMGuardian vs Bark

MMGuardian vs Bark – Which Parental Control App Is Best?

Key Points:

  • Both apps use AI to send alerts about concerning messages on your child’s phone. However, Bark will only allow parents to view messages that generate alerts while MMGuardian allows parents to view all of their child’s messages if they wish.
  • Bark has very few anti-tampering capabilities, making it very easy for children to remove. MMGuardian has patented anti-tamper technology and frequently releases updates to ensure maximum security.

(MMGuardian review from the Google Play Store)

  • For Androids, MMGuardian monitors chat messages in the most popular messaging/social media apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Discord, and others. Bark monitors these apps, along with a wider variety such as Tumblr, Reddit, and the business chat tool, Slack. Both apps are much more limited for iPhone monitoring.
  • Parents can download MMGuardian directly from the Play Store. Bark is not available on the Play Store, so parents need to download it directly from Bark’s servers.
  • To monitor with Bark, you will need your child’s login information for every app. You do not need login information to monitor with MMGuardian.
  • Both apps offer standard parental controls (app blocking, location, web filtering, etc), although MMGuardian’s options are more robust and customizable, including the ability to completely lock the child’s phone except for contacting parents. Additionally, Bark’s location retrieval requires the child to “check in” on their phone whereas MMGuardian allows parents to retrieve location on demand without any requirements from the child’s phone. Parents can also send a siren/buzz to their child’s phone via MMGuardian in case it’s lost or a child is ignoring their parent’s calls/texts.
  • If you are interested in monitoring, Bark offers two subscription choices- $14/month or $99/year for all devices. MMGuardian’s comparable family plan is $7.99/month or $69.99/year. If you are only monitoring one device, MMGuardian also provides a single-phone option- $3.99/month or $34.99/year.

    Here at MMGuardian, we believe our app is by far the best parental control app available to parents who want to protect their children and have peace of mind. In this review, we will provide you with an honest comparison of the premium features available between MMGuardian and Bark for Androids and iPhones.

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In-Depth Review

Alerts

Android– Both apps provide AI-powered alerts about concerning topics detected in the child’s messages and internet browsing such as contact with predators, cyberbullying, suicidal thoughts, inappropriate pictures, and much more. MMGuardian also offers a large number of other alerts (such as apps being downloaded, adding new contacts, contacts being changed, the device being powered off, etc). Bark will provide some additional alerts as well such as if it detects a registration email indicating the child created a new account for some app/service and concerning apps being downloaded. Bark also allows parents to adjust the sensitivity of the alerts between relaxed, moderate, and strict, and Bark is capable of monitoring sent, received, or saved videos.

MMGuardian alerts are generated within seconds of the message in question being communicated. According to our tests, Bark typically had a delay of around 15 minutes which can make a big difference when it comes to alerts dealing with suicide, predators, cyberbullying, etc. Bark also missed some very concerning messages (including some related to child grooming) that MMGuardian detected.

Additionally, the detection of nude photos saved on the device was lacking with our Bark tests whereas MMGuardian’s detection was successful and immediate for all photos tested (although it can have a tendency to be too sensitive and generate alerts about pictures that aren’t actually inappropriate).

Again, these results are according to our in-house testing, so your results may vary.

iPhone– Both apps provide AI-powered alerts about concerning topics detected in the child’s messages and internet browsing such as contact with predators, cyberbullying, suicidal thoughts, inappropriate pictures, and much more. Bark will provide some additional alerts as well such as if it detects a registration email indicating the child created a new account for some app/service. Bark also allows parents to adjust the sensitivity of the alerts between relaxed, moderate, and strict, and Bark is also capable of monitoring sent, received, or saved videos.

After testing, the detection of nude photos saved on the device was lacking with Bark whereas MMGuardian’s detection was successful and immediate for all photos tested (although it can have a tendency to be too sensitive and generate alerts about pictures that aren’t actually inappropriate).

Again, these results are according to our in-house testing, so your results may vary.

Message Monitoring

Android– MMGuardian can be downloaded from the Play Store and allows parents to view all of their child’s SMS text messages as well as messages from monitored social media and messaging apps. Bark only allows parents to view messages that generated alerts based on concerning topics (see Alerts section below) in order to help provide privacy for children, and parents will need to download the app directly from Bark’s servers as it is not available in the Play Store. Both apps provide alerts for the most popular social media and messaging apps such as Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and Discord, although Bark does currently offer more expansive coverage including apps like Reddit, Twitter, and Pinterest. MMGuardian’s app can be downloaded from the Play Store while Bark’s requires the parent to sideload the app directly from their website in order for messages to be monitored.

iPhone– MMGuardian allows parents to view all of their child’s SMS text messages and iMessages as well as messages from monitored social media and messaging apps. Bark only allows parents to view messages that generated alerts based on concerning topics (see Alerts section below) in order to help provide privacy for children. As iPhone message monitoring is a newer addition for MMGuardian, the social media apps covered are more limited and include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Kik. However, more apps will continue to be added over time. Bark offers a much more expansive list of apps that are monitored. However, it’s worth mentioning that monitoring on iPhones for both apps is much more limited than their Android counterparts due to Apple’s restrictions on developers.

Anti-tamper

Android– MMGuardian has patented anti-tamper technology to prevent children from bypassing it. The developers frequently release updates to address any new loopholes that are introduced from phone updates. Bark does not have any sort of anti-tampering capabilities other than requiring a password to log in, so children can easily uninstall or disable it. However, it will alert you if the app is uninstalled by the child.

iPhone– Due to Apple’s restrictions, parents will need to use the iPhone’s native Screen Time controls (found in the child’s phone’s Settings) to prevent the child from uninstalling the apps, although parents could monitor their child’s messages without installing any apps on their child’s device. Both apps use the same method to monitor messages, but they require the child’s device to be connected to the same WiFi as the computer which the app is installed on, leading to vulnerabilities for both apps.

Web Filter

Android– MMGuardian allow parents to view their child’s browsing history. Both apps allow parents to block or allow websites based on categories or specific URLs, although MMGuardian offers a much larger number of categories. They can also both monitor most browsers, including incognito modes.

iPhone– MMGuardian allows parents to view their child’s browsing history. Both apps allow parents to block websites individually or based on categories, although MMGuardian offers a much larger number of categories. MMGuardian requires the parent to install the MMGuardian app which will act as a web browser. Parents will need to be sure no other browsers are installed and can disable disable the App Store and Safari on the child’s device to ensure they do not have access to another browser. Bark is able to provide web filtering for any browser.

Location

Android– Location is (understandably) the most used command by parents. MMGuardian allows parents to retrieve their child’s location on demand (without any need for the child to take action) and to view their current and past locations on a map. Bark does not offer location on depend, but it allows parents to send a “check-in” request to their child’s phone. The child will need to tap a button to confirm to their parent that they are at their destination. This will provide the child’s location via GPS, and Bark will provide you with directions for how to get to the location. This feature was very unreliable from our testing, often returning errors. MMGuardian also allows parents to create schedules during which their child’s location will be retrieved automatically.

iPhone– Only MMGuardian provides on demand location retrieval for parents, and it allows parents to view their child’s location history. Bark allows parents to send a “check-in” request to their child’s phone. The child will need to tap a button to confirm to their parent that they are at their destination. This will provide the child’s location coordinates via GPS, and Bark will provide you with directions for how to get to the location.

App Blocking

Android– Both apps allow parents to block or allow specific apps and set schedules for when apps can or cannot be used as well as daily limits. Bark also offers the ability to block apps by category. MMGuardian will alert parents to new app downloads whereas Bark alerts to downloads of concerning apps. allow parents to view the install/uninstall history of apps. Additionally, MMGuardian provides parents with the ability to set any apps that are downloaded (from any source) to be blocked automatically so that their child can’t use them until the parent manually unblocks them.

iPhone– MMGuardian allows parents to disable all downloaded apps, either according to a schedule or on demand. You are not able to disable apps individually. You can also set restrictions on apps based on age. Bark allows parents to disable internet for individual apps or categories, either according to schedules or on demand, but the child will still be able to open and access them.

Phone Locking

Android– MMGuardian allows parents to lock the phone completely, only allowing the child to contact the admins or emergency contacts. This can be done manually for a set amount of time or according to schedules. Bark does not provide any phone locking functions.

iPhone– Neither app offers a way to completely lock the phone down due to Apple’s restrictions.

Contact Blocking

Android– MMGuardian allows parents to control who their child is able to communicate with. Parents can create a list of contacts to either allow (and all others will be blocked) or block (and all others will be allowed). All texts to and from blocked contacts will be blocked. Blocking calls will depend on the operating system on the child’s device. If it’s Android 9, you’ll need to download the app directly from us to block calls instead of the Play Store. For Android 10+ phones, only incoming calls can be blocked. MMGuardian also shows call history. Bark does not provide any contact blocking functions.

iPhone– Due to Apple’s restrictions, neither app offers contact blocking features, although MMGuardian does show parents their child’s call history.

Pricing

MMGuardian
Bark

MMGuardian offers a 14 day free trial, and Bark offers a 7 day free trial. We highly recommend trying out both apps to see which works best for you!

 

You can also check our MMGuardian vs Net Nanny article to make the best decision about which parental control app is the most suitable for you and your child.

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