How to Configure the Family Safety Feature on Windows 8

The Internet has been a very useful tool to most of us and being connected to it has become a need to some including our children. The social media, news sites, blogs, online stores and other stuff that we can find over the Internet really improves the way we live and deal with other things which are otherwise hard to solve without it but as parents, we all should be aware of the potential threats that are luring around the Internet and preys on young minds.

Luckily, Microsoft has seen this problem and has included a feature that will give you control over many aspects related to your child’s Internet access and PC usage. This feature is called “Family Safety” which is part of Windows 8′s administrative tools. However, this feature is not set active on any Windows 8 computer by default and setting it up would involve a process that is nowhere to be found on previous Windows versions. Since Windows 8 allows apps to be installed along with desktop programs, this feature covers a wider scope than any security and child monitoring features on Vista and Windows 7. To learn how to setup your computer ready for “Family Safety” and know the process of enabling or disabling it, simply read on towards the end of this tutorial.

Preparing Your Computer

The “Family Safety” feature can’t be set active on any Windows 8 computer without the existence of two important accounts which would the “parent’s account” and the “child’s account”. Your account should either be a local account or a Microsoft account set as an “Administrator” while your child’s account should be a “Standard” type account which can also be a Local account or a Microsoft account. The first thing that we’ll be setting up is a parent’s account. To do this, simply follow the steps below:

  • You computer surely has an existing account which you’ve set up when you first used it. If you want to use this user account as the “parent’s account” then you need to make sure that it is set as an administrator. To check if the account is already an Administrator type account, simply navigate to this location: Control Panel -> User Accounts and Family Safety -> User Accounts.

TIP:

To open the Control Panel, you need to press the “Windows + X” keys to pull up a menu. From this menu, search for “Control Panel” then click or tap on it.

  • The “User Accounts” section will then show the current account that you are using. You will know if it is already set as an administrator if the word “Administrator” appears on the details below the account name, if you can’t see it then you need to click on the “Change your account type” link then choose “Administrator”.

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  • After selecting the “Administrator” option, simply click the “Change Account Type” button at the bottom and you now have your account changed to Administrator and it is ready to become the “parent’s account”.

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NOTE:

You can also create a new account which you can set as the “parent’s account” and set administrator privileges to it. To do this, please read our tutorial on “Setting Up Different User Accounts on Windows 8″.

Creating an Account for Your Child

As I have mentioned earlier, there are two accounts that needs to be setup in order to enable “Family Safety” on your Windows 8 computer. The “parent’s account” is what you will be using and another one should be created for your child. If you already created an account for your kid before then what you should do is set it up as a “Standard” account by doing the same process I’ve shown above in changing the account type of your/parent’s account but instead of selecting “Administrator”, you should choose “Standard”.

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  • After selecting the “Standard” option, simply click or tap on the “Change Account Type” button so the changes would take effect.

How to Enable Family Safety

Now that you already have the accounts needed to setup “Family Safety”. You’re ready to activate the feature for your child’s account. Below are two ways of enabling this feature on an existing and as well as a new account.

Enabling Family Safety on an Existing Account

If there already exists an account for your child on your computer then you can enable “Family Safety” right away. To do this, simply access the “Family Safety” section of the Control Panel. Follow the steps below to learn how it is done.

  • First, open the “Control Panel” Window, click or tap on “User Accounts and Family Safety” and click again on “Family Safety” and you’ll see a list of all the accounts that are registered on your machine.

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  • Simply click on your child’s user account from this list then click or tap on it to open the “Family Safety” options and settings. From here, you need to select “On” for “Family Safety” and “Activity Reporting” options.

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  • You’ll also notice other options like “Web filtering”, “Time limits”, “Windows Store and Game restrictions” and as well as “App Restrictions” which are all geared to giving you control over what your child is visiting on the Internet, what Apps he can download and use and as well as govern the time that he/she can use the PC and have access to the Internet. To learn how to enable time limits and curfews for your child’s PC hours, be sure to read “Taking Control Over Your Child’s PC Hours (Windows 8)”. Other restrictions and filtering settings for “Family Safety” will be covered in future tutorials.

Enabling Family Safety for a New Account

Another way of enabling “Family Safety” is by creating a new account. To learn how to do this, please read our tutorial on “Setting Up Different User Account’s on Windows 8″ and on the last part of the process, simply check the option that says “Is this a child’s account? Turn on Family Safety to get reports on their PC use” then click or tap on the “Finish” button at the bottom.

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You can either create a Local account or a Microsoft account for your child for as long as it is a “Standard” account. “Family Safety” will never work for a fellow “Administrator” account.

How to Disable the Family Safety Feature

The process of disabling “Family Safety” for an existing account involves the same process done in activating it but instead of choosing “On” for “Family Safety” and “Activity reporting”, you need to choose “Off” instead. Simply navigate to Control Panel -> User Accounts and Family Safety -> Family Safety and on the Window that shows the user accounts, simply click or tap on your child’s account and set everything “Off”.

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After doing so, you’ll notice that all of the other options and settings will be grayed out. This means that they are all disabled now and all of them are not clickable anymore. Once you are done turning off “Family Safety”, just click or tap on the “Back” button on top of the Window and all changes will be saved automatically.

That’s all there is to it. As you can see, Windows 8  has all the tools you need in controlling your child’s PC usage and monitoring what he/she does on the Internet. Enabling “Family Safety” isn’t that easy but all of the capabilities it has and the features that it offers are worth the time of setting it up. If you encountered any problem on any of the steps shown on this tutorial please feel free to air them out on the comments section.

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