It is impossible to keep kids away from computer and network these days. Actually, we should not attempt to do it anyways. They are born in this all digital world, internet is as natural as air and water for them. When I told my older daughter that when I grown up, we don’t have computer and we wait for a whole week for the next episode of Micky Mouse on air, she goes “Really?”.
Computers and network changed the lifes of my generation and the generations to come. And I view them as great tools with immense power but could be dangerous at the same time if you don’t know how to handle them, just like a double blade sword. So in one hand, I helped my daughter (now 6 years old) to learn to use the internet to find out the things she want to know, setting up her own email, so that she could drop me an email telling me what’s going on today, and teach her how to use PPT to show off her new art work. In the other hand, as a father of a young girl, I know there are many unknown danger out there and I am going to protect my little girl until she’s mature enough to handle all these by herself.
Sorry, I am going a little bit too far off the topic. But I view it as a disclaimer to my daughter if she read this article later. Baby, I am not tying to control you or anything. Just want to hand holding a little bit before you can fly on your own.
Long story short, here is what you can do to enable the free parental control in Windows 8 called “Family Safe”.
1. Create a separate User Account for your kid/s
Go to Control Panel/All Control Panel Items/User Accounts. Select “Manage another account”.
If you already setup the account then it should show up in the list like this. If you haven’t done so, you can click the little “Add a new user in PC settings”. Make sure to set the account type as standard user.
2. Setup Family Safety
After you setup the user account, click the account name, and then select “Set up Family Safety”.
There are four types of settings you can choose:
- Web filtering: You can select which website the child can access.
- Time Limits: Setup the time of the day the child can use the computer and for how long. You can have separate settings for week day and weekends.
- Windows store and game restrictions: Access by rating or title
- App Restristions: Setup which apps can be used on the computer.
So far my daughter is still in the stage that she shares what she is excited about and not sophisticated enough to install new apps in the computer. Actually I didn’t even restrict her access time earlier, but based my observation she’s staying in computer for too long in one use. So I am going to add some restriction on time allowance so she won’t need a prescription glasses prematurely.
3. Monitor Activities and View Reports
After setting up the Family Safety, you can click the “View activity reports” under the user name. It will show the details of the usage, website visited, duration, etc.
You can also choose to receive a weekly activity report to your email account. To do that you will need an email for your child. The advantage of this is that you can have the control across different computers. Here is one of the report that I received, sorry it is in Chinese but you got the idea.