Microsoft have added their best parental controls system yet to Windows 10, giving you more control over what your children can see and do on the computer and online.
In order to apply controls to a particular user's account, two important criteria must be met; Your user account must be linked to a Microsoft account (rather than being a local account on the computer), and you must make sure to add your children as a child account. This will let you manage their access to the PC, as well as any other Windows 10 device their account is used on.
From the home screen, click the Windows Start icon (or the Action Centre icon) and then click Settings.
On the main settings menu, click Accounts.
In the account menu on the left, click Family & other users.
In the 'Your family' section at the top, click Add a family member.
Click the circle to Add a child in order to be able to apply controls to the account. Family accounts will all need to be linked to Microsoft accounts, so enter their account address in the box and click Next. If the child you're adding doesn't have their own Microsoft account, click the link below the email box and sign up for one for free.
If you're adding a family member with an existing Microsoft account, you'll see a prompt showing their email address. Check this is correct then click Confirm. If you're creating a new Microsoft account, fill in the text boxes. If your account name is already taken, you may need to try a few different ones before you can continue. Enter the password you want to use, and click Next to proceed.
The next steps differ depending on whether the family member you're adding to your computer has an existing Microsoft account, or whether you've created a new one:
You will see that an email has been sent to that user's address, inviting them to join your Windows 10 family. Until they click the link in their email, they will be able to use the computer without any restrictions. They should click the link as soon as possible so you can protect their account. Click Close.
The new child will appear immediately, but will show as 'pending' until they click in the confirmation email. Once done, when they log in to their Windows account all controls or restrictions you place on the account will be enforced.
Now that you've added your child's account to your computer, you'll need to manage your child's account.
You will need to provide security information to enable the password to be reset, and protect the account. Enter a mobile number in the box, or click the link to enter an alternative email address, then click Next.
Microsoft will use account information to personalise the new users experience online, and would also like to send promotional offers by email. Tick or untick the boxes as you see fit, and click Next to continue.
You will see confirmation that your child's new account has been added to your family, and that your computer will have to be connected to the Internet for them to log in for the first time. Click Close.
The child's account will show on the Accounts screen in the Your family section. You can now add more accounts for other family members, or go online to manage your child's account.
With the child's user account created on the computer, you can monitor and manage their access to the Internet through Microsoft's online portal.
In the Your family section of the Accounts page, you will see a link to Manage family settings online. Click this link to open your browser and manage the account.
When your browser opens you will be taken to your family settings page. On the page you will see all the accounts that you've added as family members (both adults and children), and any devices they have already signed in to. To start applying controls, click an account name.
Beneath the account name, you will see switches to control activity reporting. These are turned on by default, so you'll always be able to monitor and receive weekly reports of your child's online activity. If you don't want either of these, you can click the switch to turn these off.
Scrolling down the page, you will see information about web browsing, apps and games and screen time. If activity reporting is turned on, you'll see information when your chid uses the computer. To apply controls to each section, click the Settings link to the right of each section.
If you wish to control the websites your child is allowed to visit, then click the switch to enable family settings to Block inappropriate websites. This will block adult content, enable Bing's SafeSearch filter (which will filter search results) and disable InPrivate browsing.
There are sections to add specific websites to be always allowed or always blocked. This lets you fine-tune the automatic settings – either allowing access to a website that's blocked by the automatic filter, or to block one that isn't. To add a website to either of these lists, type it in the appropriate box and click Allow or Block.
Any websites you add to these lists will appear, along with a link to remove that site from the list.
Apps and games through the Windows Store are usually rated either by Microsoft or PEGI. If you wish to restrict the apps and games your child can or download, click the switch to Block inappropriate apps and games.
If you turn this switch on, you will see a drop-down menu to allow you to select the age of your child. This controls which apps and games your child has access to, based on their ratings. Changing the child's age in the drop-down menu will allow them access to different apps and games, as determined by you.
To limit the time of day and the amount of time that your child can access the computer, click the switch to Set limits for when my child can use devices.
Using the drop-down menus, you can select the earliest time on any given day that they can log into their account, and also the time they will be logged off. For each day you can also set the number of hours they can use the computer, unlimited access between the times you have set or block access to prevent use on that day.
As you can see, once you've added the child's account to your family, it's easy to control their access to the computer and keep them safe online!
That concludes our guide to customising parental controls of Windows 10. If you need further assistance, be sure to contact us here!
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