Family Safety is free technology from Microsoft that helps parents keep their kids safe when they use the PC.
Kids get to:
Know that they're safer from content that would get them into trouble.
Learn safer online behaviours with monitored independence.
Parents get to:
Allow or block websites, games and other content.
See websites their kids visit, as well as apps they use.
Limit their kids' time on the PC.
Set defaults based on their kids' ages.
On your PC, use these instructions to set up Family Safety.
For Windows Phone 8, find instructions here to set up My Family on the Windows Phone website.
For Xbox, find all the privacy, online safety and access to content settings online.
Yes! Set up Family Safety on every PC your family uses, and make sure that everyone uses their own accounts. Then manage their Family Safety settings and monitor their activities on the Family Safety website. You may see different options when you sign in from different PCs, depending on the operating systems.
Yes! Allow or block specific games and apps, and set the rating level appropriate for your child by age or by content rating. They'll be allowed to see and install those games and apps from the Windows Store. Learn more here: Using Family Safety settings with the Windows Store.
Updates to Family Safety are installed automatically as part of the regular Windows Update process.
To check whether any upgrade has been installed, open Settings, then Change PC settings, then Update and restore, then use the Update history link to see which updates have been applied to that device.
Not every update applies to all versions of Windows. For example, the June 2014 Family Safety update only applies to Windows 8.1, but PCs and tablets running Windows 8 can get a free upgrade to Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store.
We tell kids that family safety is turned on every time they sign in to their accounts. This gives families an opportunity to discuss using Family Safety, privacy and security for safer, more family-friendly computing experiences.
For years, parents have turned on Family Safety to know which websites their kids visit and what search terms they use on search engines. Our goal is to provide features and information that parents can use to create a healthy computing environment for kids.
You get more Family Safety features in Windows 8.1, but you may need to manually change from Windows Live Family Safety to Microsoft Family Safety. Learn how to make the change in the Family Safety area of the Windows Essentials 2012 Release Notes.
On a particular PC, when a child is signed in, the Family Safety icon should appear in the notification area. If the icon isn't there, or if the icon is there but it isn't working as expected, follow the steps under I can't connect to the service.
To check all of your child's Internet-connected PCs, sign in to the Family Safety website. Each PC that has Family Safety turned on for your child is listed there, along with the date your child last used it. If you can't see a particular PC listed, but you think it should be, follow the steps under I can't connect to the service.
When your child tries to use a website or app that is above the rating you set in Family Safety, they're blocked unless you give permission to specific websites and apps on the Family Safety website.
You can give permission ahead of time, or if your child has requested permission from a Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 PC, we send you a request by email. Requests also show up under Requests when you sign in to the Family Safety website. You can approve or deny the request from either the email or the website.
When you have a request that's been waiting for you, Family Safety sends an email to follow up – often in the middle of the night. It doesn't necessarily mean that your child is up that late. If we've worried you, we're sorry! We wanted to make sure that you received the request from your kid.
If kids don't sign out of the PC, it still looks like they're using the PC. Teach your kids to sign out, then the time will be more accurate.
Sign in to the Family Safety website, then tap or click into a child's account. Choose Web Filtering from the list on the left, then use the slider to determine which categories of websites your child is allowed to see.
To see which websites your kid has been using, and the search terms they've been using on Bing.com, use the Family Safety website.
Find more info here: How do I prevent my child from seeing certain websites or chatting online?
Websites are first categorised by computer analysis, then the results are verified by real people. Find more info here: How are web content categories determined?
Many sites have content that they pull in or push to a different site, especially to share on social media. For example, when you visit a page with a Facebook "Like" button, even if you don't click it, the mere presence of the button may show up on the activity report as a visit to Facebook, because the button came from Facebook.
A website is listed as suspicious if a child has used a website that, under stricter web filtering settings, would have been blocked.
If a website appears on the suspicious sites list and you believe it should be blocked, you have two options: block that web page or set a stricter web filtering category.
For more info, learn how web content categories are determined.
Follow the instructions here: How do I remove Family Safety?
For everybody to have the right settings for their own age (including parents!), everyone should have their own account.
If your kids use your account, you won't be able to separate out what you and other adults in your home do from your kids' PC and web activity. Having their own accounts lets you set different rating levels and permissions for different children.
Make sure that your kids can't get into your administrator account, because then they'll be able to turn their own safety settings on and off.
If you have guest accounts on your PC, you should turn them off. Kids could use a guest account to bypass their own safety settings. For more info see Turning the guest account on or off.
For a young child, a local account may be fine: it's an account that only works on one PC. For a kid that uses more than one device (like a tablet, PC, Xbox or Windows Phone), needs to use email, wants to buy games, films or other content, or needs other services from Microsoft like Skype or OneDrive, it may be a good idea to create a Microsoft account so they can enjoy a personalised experience while staying safer online.
Whether a Microsoft account or a local account, kids should have a child account (not an administrator account) on the PC.
Use your child's actual date of birth when setting up their account so that it will be easier to set smart defaults for what they're allowed to do on the PC, Xbox, Windows Phone and online.
Never enter a false date of birth that would make your child appear to be an adult online.
In the United States, Microsoft has to make a small charge to the parent's credit card to satisfy the requirements of the US Child Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). To learn more, see Why does Microsoft charge me when I create an account for my child?
Find more info about the types of accounts here: Which account is right for me?
If a child uses more than one PC, link the reporting together on the Family Safety website so that you only get one report from Family Safety for that child.
Tap Link family members.
Checkboxes will appear for each account. Tick the accounts you want to merge.
Verify that you've ticked the right checkboxes (this can't be undone), then tap OK.
No. Any Microsoft account can only be in one Microsoft family at a time.
If you can't save your changes, or if you see an error message that the service is unavailable, the problem could be between our systems and your Internet connection. Please wait a short while and try again.
To make sure that you're connected to the Family Safety service:
Press the Windows key on your keyboard.
Type "family" in the search box, then choose Family Safety from the list that appears.
Tap or click Manage settings on the Family Safety website.
Your name should be in the list People who can manage these settings online, and you should now be able to control settings on the website.
Firefox may show a warning when a website requires an encrypted connection. Follow the steps here to fix the problem.
Time limits only work on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 PCs. If you use time limits, your time limit will apply to each PC, not to all the PCs together. For example, if you set a time limit of two hours, they can use the first PC for two hours and then sign in to the second PC and use it for an additional two hours.
Sign in to your account to make sure that it's a verified parent account. If you've recently changed your email address, ask another parent in your Microsoft family to invite your new email address to the family.
Follow these steps:
Sign in to the Family Safety website.
Tap on the account you want to remove from the family.
Tap Remove family member.
A message appears to ask if you're sure. If you are sure, tap Remove.
That account should now be able to join the correct family.
Can't get to Family Safety? Check service status.
Ask your question in the community forums.