Keeping your kids safer on the PC

Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1

Setting limits for when and how your child uses the PC

By monitoring your kids' accounts with Family Safety, you get a better sense of whether they're finishing their homework or spending too much time online. This info can help you set specific PC activity limits for each child, including when they're allowed to use the PC, which games and apps they can use, and which apps they can see or download in the Windows Store.

You can set and manage all these limits on the web, from anywhere. Sign in to the Family Safety website, tap or click the name of the child whose settings you want to change, and follow the instructions from there.

Note

  • You can also manage Family Safety on each of your family's individual PCs, if you prefer.

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Setting time limits

There are two ways to limit the time your child spends on the PC. A time allowance determines how many hours per day the child can use the PC. For example, you might let them spend two hours a day on the PC during the week, but give them more time on weekends. A curfew sets hours when any PC use is prohibited (like after bedtime, or during school hours).

  • Tap or click Time limits, then do one of the following:

    • Tap or click the Allowance tab, make sure that time allowance is turned on, then choose the number of hours and minutes that the child can use the PC on weekdays and weekends.

    • Tap or click the Curfew tab, make sure that curfew hours are tuned on, then select blocks of time for each day when the child isn't allowed to use the PC at all.

Setting limits on the websites your child can visit

There are two ways to limit the Internet content your child is allowed to view. You can use web filtering to set broad categories of sites that your child can visit. For example, you might allow them to see known child-friendly and general-interest websites, while automatically blocking any sites that provide adult content. You can also allow or block individual websites – or even specific pages within a site – by their web addresses or URLs.

To filter all websites by category

  1. Tap or click Web filtering, then tap or click Restriction level.

  2. Make sure that web filtering is turned on, then use the slider to choose which categories of websites your child can visit.

To allow or block specific websites

  1. Tap or click Web filtering, then tap or click Allow or block list.

  2. Make sure that web filtering is turned on, enter a specific web address, then tap or click Allow or Block as appropriate.

    You can add multiple web addresses on this page, one at a time. You can also choose to apply the same permissions for a website to multiple family members.

To allow or block file downloads

You can also limit what your child is able to download from the Internet, so that he or she doesn't download a virus or other software you don't want.

  1. Tap or click Web filtering, then tap or click Restriction level.

  2. Make sure that web filtering is turned on. Under File downloads, tick the Block file downloads from the web check box to prevent your child from downloading apps, games and other files from the Internet. (To allow your child to download files, just untick the check box.)

Setting restrictions on games and apps

Setting limits on the games and apps your child's allowed to use is similar to setting their website restrictions: you can set an age-and-content-based rating level for all games and for those apps they can see in or download from the Windows Store, or you can allow or block specific, individual titles.

To use Windows Store and game rating levels

  1. Tap or click Game restrictions, then tap or click Rating.

  2. Make sure that restrictions are turned on, then use the slider to choose a rating level. You can also use a different game rating system if you prefer.

    The Windows Store bases its download restrictions on a child's game restrictions in Family Safety.

To allow or block specific games

  1. Tap or click Game restrictions, then tap or click Game list. Make sure that game restrictions are turned on.

  2. Select options for specific games as appropriate.

To set other app restrictions

You can also decide whether to let your child use other apps and software, whether it's downloaded from the Windows Store or not.

  1. Tap or click App restrictions.

  2. Make sure that app restrictions are turned on, then choose the available apps you want to allow or block as appropriate.

Managing your kids' requests

Over time, the settings you apply to your family's PC activities can evolve. For example, your child might want to download and play a new game everyone's talking about, do some Internet research for a school project, or get a little more PC time to finish a homework assignment. In Family Safety, your children can send you email requests for new apps, games or websites they want permission to use. You can always deal with those requests individually, but you can also manage them all in one place on the Family Safety website.

  1. Tap or click Requests.

    Recent permission requests are organised according to category.

  2. Next to each request, tap or click the drop-down list under Response and choose an action.

Note

  • You can allow all your kids, or just the selected child, to use the website, game or app in question. Likewise, you can block something for just one child or everyone. Websites, games and apps are added to the Allow or Block lists accordingly.

Next: Monitoring your child's PC use with activity reports

Other resources

Go to Family Safety

Change your settings on the Family Safety website.

Family Safety: FAQ

Have a question? See our FAQ.

Service status

Can't get to Family Safety? Check service status.

Help from the community

Ask your question in the community forums.