The internet can be a wonderful educational tool as well as providing so much fun and interactive leisure activities for children. However, most parents are rightly worried about some of the content their children may be exposed to on the web and want to keep them safe online.
An effective safeguard which all parents can take immediately is to take advantage of the parental control functions within Windows 10.
Your Microsoft account
Setting up parental controls in Windows 10 is very easy and can be completed in just a few steps. Once done you can manage and monitor your child’s online activity across all your PCs and mobile devices including Windows smartphones, and Xbox.
Step 1) You firstly need to create a Microsoft account for every adult and child in the family.
Step 2) Go to account.microsoft.com/family and sign in using your Microsoft account details. You will be greeted by this screen:
Step 3) Click the ‘Add a child’ button and input your child’s email address on the following page (below) and click the ‘Send invitation’ button.
Step 4) The child must log into their email account and accept your invitation.
That’s it! Once you have completed the four steps you are able to set up a whole range of website and app restrictions to manage and track your child’s activity from your Microsoft family account.
Any limits or restrictions you place on the child’s account will be applied across any Windows device your child signs in to.
What you can do
From within your Microsoft account you are able to monitor your child’s activity. By turning on the ‘activity tracking’ feature you will be able to see which games or apps your child uses, how long they spend on their computers and the websites they visit.
It should be noted the tracking will only work with Internet Explorer or Edge so make sure you block any other browsers in the Apps, Media & Games section of your Microsoft account.
Browsing the web safely
You can help protect your child from unsuitable websites by switching on the ‘Block inappropriate website’ function. This not only blocks adult websites but prevents inappropriate search results. As well as this you can also chose to prevent access to individual websites if you wish.
Again, these controls will only function with Microsoft’s IE and Edge browsers so ensure you have blocked other browsers in your settings.
Playing games and apps
There are apps and games on every subject under the sun and children love them. They also spend an inordinate amount of time on their favourites.
However, using the family controls in your Microsoft account you can limit the amount of time your child spends on their device and even specify periods of the day when they are allowed to use the computer.
You can also block specific games and apps or restrict access to all age inappropriate titles.
Keep the piggy bank safe
We’ve all seen the news stories of kids inadvertently racking up charges of hundreds of pounds on their parents credit cards from in-app purchases. Happily, the controls within your Microsoft family account can prevent that happening to you.
Without linking your credit card you can deposit an ‘allowance’ into the child’s Microsoft account which they can use to purchase games or apps. You control how much is deposited and when the money has been spent the child is unable to purchase other apps until you physically replenish their allowance.
For more hints and tips on keeping your child safe online see our Safer Internet Day page.