Windows 8 and Family Safety

Win8FamSafety

Today my 10 year old son asked me when I will let him play around Windows 8. So I decided to set up an account for him. (This post will be a how-to mixed with my personal opinion.)

First, I created an account for my son by going to control panel in the WinRT part of Windows 8. With a click on “Add a user” you can create a new account. To create an online synced account, use the Microsoft account (Windows Live ID) you created for your child.

addauser

After looking if it is an existing account, you will be asked if this is a child´s account. Check the option and click on “Finish”.

Finishadduser

After that, go to Desktop and open Control Panel, and choose “User Accounts”, where you click on “Family Safety” at the bottom left.

Now you can choose if you want to manage settings online or local. I recommend online, so you can change settings at any time easily via the web interface. My experience until now was that if you need to change settings, you are not there on your local machine.

FamilySafety

You will be redirected to the Family Safety page, where you will be able to “edit settings”.

You can set up a bunch of things there:

  • Web filtering
  • Web filtering lists
  • Activity reporting
  • Requests
  • Time limits
  • Game restrictions
  • App restrictions

First, in Web filtering, you can set up different options. As I want my son to be relatively free on the web, but protected, I use “Online communication”. So he is able to write E-Mails from Windows 8 Mail app or chat via the Messaging app. You can add additional options to the “Web filtering lists” option.

webfiltering

Activity reporting shows you an overview what you child is doing on the web and the PC.

“Time limits” is a handy tool to control how much your child is on the PC. This is available on Windows 7 as well as on Windows 8 RP.

timelimits

You can restrict the games to a matching age setting based on the USK recommendations with “Game restrictions”.

gamerestrictions

Finally, with” App restrictions” you can choose which apps your child is allowed to use. This counts for Metro apps as well as for Desktop apps.

apprestrictions

My conclusion:

Until now, there is nothing that has changed to the former Windows Live Family Safety, which you had to install with the Windows Live Essentials on your PC. The integration into the Windows 8 RP is done very well. Also if you are not familiar with this feature, the web interface is pretty self explaining. The options are pretty broad, from allowing nearly nothing (this will be for my 5yo daughter) to allow a lot for bigger kids. Microsoft has done a good job here, and there is clearly no need for any third party app.

I can only recommend all parents out there to use this feature – be it on Windows 7 or be it on Windows 8.

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