There are a lot of monitoring apps out there for parents who want to track their child’s phone and read text messages. Two of the most popular parental control apps are MMGuardian and mSpy. In this article, we will break down the differences of MMGuardian versus mSpy.
- Unlike MMGuardian, mSpy is based outside of the US (US residents are not protected by the US federal and state laws that govern US-based companies like MMGuardian) and has had multiple data breaches which, according to the linked article, they denied at first. As most monitored data is stored in databases, it is strongly advised to be cautious about who you trust with your child’s personal information.
- MMGuardian is available from the App Store and Play Store. mSpy’s full app was removed from all stores, so parents will need to download it directly from mSpy. mSpy also requires jailbreaking/rooting for most of the features.
- MMGuardian comes with a 14 day free trial and costs $3.99/month per device or $34.99/year. If you don’t want to root/jailbreak the phone, you will need to purchase the Family Kit which covers up to 3 devices. It is only available as an up front annual payment of $480.
- If you read reviews, mSpy has numerous users complaining about not getting refunds on TrustPilot. You can also read more reviews on sitejabber.com. For MMGuardian, you can find reviews in the App Store and the Play Store. You can also read stories from real, verifiable parents who use MMGuardian on Facebook. We highly recommend spending time viewing the real user reviews for both apps when considering what to use.
- mSpy is a monitoring-focused app. MMGuardian offers similar monitoring capabilities in addition to a large selection of other parental controls such as phone locking, contact blocking, time limits, and much more.
- Both apps allow parents to see all text messages on their child’s phone, along with messages in a number of social media/messaging apps. mSpy can monitor a few more than MMGuardian (like Telegram and Tinder) but is missing some popular apps such as TikTok and Discord which MMGuardian does monitor.
- Only MMGuardian contains AI-powered Safety Alerts that will alert a parent if any concerning content (cyberbullying, suicidal thoughts, drugs, predators, etc) is detected in messages. Parents can view the message right away from their own phone. With mSpy, parents will have to read every single message their child sends/receives to ensure their child’s safety.
- Message Monitoring– view all of your child’s SMS text messages in addition to chat messages in popular social media apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Discord, and more- all from your own phone.
- Safety Alerts– MMGuardian’s AI scans all messages and if any are detected as containing concerning content (predators, drugs, cyberbullying, etc), you will receive an alert and can view the message in your parent app. You can also enter custom keywords to be alerted about.
- Web Filter– control which websites your child can and cannot visit (by category or individually) and view their browsing history.
- Location– get your child’s location manually or automatically with a schedule.
- Reports– view detailed reports of your child’s app usage and more
- Inappropriate Picture Detection– if MMGuardian’s AI detects any pictures sent/received via MMS or saved on the child’s phone as being potentially inappropriate, you will receive an alert and can view the image in the MMGuardian app on your child’s phone. Sending the image to your parent app would require it to be stored in a database (and could also violate laws related to transmitting child pornography), so storing them locally is the most secure option.
- Screen Lock– lock your child’s phone manually for any amount of time or automatically according to schedules.
- App Block– block apps on your child’s phone and set limits for how long and when they can be used.
- Contact Block– control who can and cannot contact your child.
- Anti-tampering– MMGuardian features patented anti-tamper technology to prevent children from bypassing it. Psychologist-approved resources are also provided to help parents discuss monitoring with their child.
Note: The features below are based on mSpy’s marketing claims and not based on our testing.
- All features require rooting/jailbreaking the child’s phone unless you have purchased the “Family Kit” subscription for $480 (but you will have to root/jailbreak anyway if you want to access all features). Note that jailbreaking iPhones voids all of Apple’s warranties, and you will have to permanently disable “Play Protect” on an Android to prevent Google’s anti-virus software from removing mSpy.
- Message Monitoring– view all of your child’s SMS text messages in addition to chat messages in popular social media apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, and more.
- Picture Monitoring– view pictures shared, received, and saved pictures on the child’s device. Since you can view these from the dashboard on your computer, they are stored in a database.
- Location– view the child’s current location as well as previous routes and locations. Geofencing is also supported.
- App Block– block individual apps.
- Browsing History– view all browsing history and block individual websites.
- Call Reports– view details about all calls.
- WiFi– view and block WiFi networks.