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Apr 2017

How to Use the Parental Controls in Windows 10

In our last article, we explained how to set up a child’s account in Windows 10 with the aim of being able to protect and monitor their on-line activity using the parental controls. With your child’s account added, you will be able to set up appropriate website, app and game restrictions for their age, set PC time limits, and review their recent activity using the Microsoft family Safety website. Their settings will apply to any Windows 10 device that they sign in to.

To begin, you need to add your child's Microsoft account to your family by signing in at account.microsoft.com/family. Choose Select a child to view or edit their settings, then select Add. Then enter the email address your child uses to sign in to Windows 10 and click on Send invite. Your child needs to accept the invitation, which will arrive in their email in-box.

Once you’ve added your child’s account, you can start applying the relevant settings from the Family Safety website:

  • The Recent Activity settings will collect your child’s on-line activity and email it in the form of reports to you. You can disable this setting if you so desire, but I would recommend keeping it enabled.


  • You may also want to consider the “web browsing” category. You can “block inappropriate websites” and there is a check box to restrict your child’s web browsing to only websites on the allowed list, i.e., you can allow and block websites. If you elect to “only see websites on the allowed list,” this will be where you can add websites to the “Always allow these” list.


  • The next category is to limit apps and games from the age of three up to twenty, or not at all. Note, as you change the age, the ratings will also change. You can explicitly allow or block apps and games, just as you would with websites.


  • Finally, you can choose when your child uses the computer. You can decide how early and late they can use it, as well as how many hours per day. This means that even though your child may be able to use the computer throughout the entire day, you can still limit how many hours they’re allowed to use it.


Keep in mind that if you add an existing account to your Microsoft Family Account, you won’t be able to monitor it until you verify it via email. Until you do that, your child can log into the computer and it will not be monitored by Family Safety.

Windows 10, Adding a child's account

The Internet is a scary place and keeping your child safe online can often be a daunting prospect. Luckily, Windows 10 offers access controls, time limits and activity reports, including reports on the websites, apps and games your child uses. You can set up individual user accounts for each member of the family with their own unique passwords and then tailor the controls and restrictions to the age of your child. It’s relatively easy to set up a user account and then protect and monitor their activity in just a few minutes.

To get started, you need to create Microsoft accounts for your kids, which you then can add to your family at account.microsoft.com/family. Once you've added them to your family, you'll be able to choose the additional limits and permissions you want your kids to have. When your kids sign in with their own accounts, they can personalise their desktop and explore apps and games and in addition, their family settings will be applied to any Windows 10 device they sign into.

To set up a child’s account in Windows 10, open Settings, then Accounts, then click Family and Other Users in the left side panel. From here, you can either add a new family member, which gives you the option to set parental controls on your children’s accounts, or simply add a new user. If you choose 'Add a family member', each person you add will need to have their own Microsoft account. (You can create Microsoft accounts from here by clicking the 'The person who I want to add doesn’t have an email address' link).

For extra security, you will need to enter a telephone number. This way if you’re ever unable to access the account, i.e. if it is hacked or you forget the password, you can have a code sent to your phone that will let you reset it.

On the next screen, there are options to have Microsoft recommend apps and other such advertising techniques. I would suggest unchecking these boxes. It’s entirely up to you, but considering this is a child’s account, I don’t believe that either of these options are relevant.

Once you’ve set up your additional accounts, the next time you reboot or log off your PC the new users will appear to the bottom-left of the login screen.

With your child’s account added, you can set up and configure their account settings using the Microsoft Family Safety website. We will cover this and
How to Use the Parental Controls in Windows 10 in our next article.