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.
As children get older it is inevitable that they will start using social networking sites. Within these sites they will be encouraged to share all aspects of their lives – thoughts, opinions, feelings, pictures etc. – thus creating digital traces of themselves across the internet. However, what they probably fail to realise is that the internet keeps a record of everything we do online. In other words, it creates an “online reputation”.
It is vital for children to understand how to manage their online reputation because once information is uploaded to the internet, it can be very easily and very quickly shared around. This in turn could affect their friendships, leave them open to cyber-bullying and even affect their job prospects (many employers and university admissions teams check social media profiles when researching candidates). Yet a digital footprint is incredibly difficult to remove.
You can help your child keep a positive presence online by ensuring they understand the long-lasting effects of their internet activities and that their online reputation is created not only by what they post about themselves but also by what others post about them.
Emphasise the fact that it’s almost impossible to keep things private online. Even friends or family members could pass on messages you’ve asked them not to.
Children should never post anything online they don’t want thousands of people, including their family, to see.
A computer screen may give the illusion of distance between them and the other people they are communicating with, however being online is the same as living in the real world.
Always ask permission before tagging a friend online and never post inappropriate pictures. Watch out for photos tagged by their friends and remove any that are offensive.
Stop & think before posting a comment online. They could end up hurting someone or being hurt themselves. It is easier for comments to be misunderstood when typed rather than spoken.
Ask your child to tell you about all their email and instant messaging accounts and what the passwords are, thus allowing you to monitor their activities. Don’t feel guilty about it - you’re only giving them a false sense of security by letting them believe that privacy exists on the Internet.
Ask them to “friend” you on all their apps. This may not go down well but it could be one of the conditions for you allowing them to access social networking sites.
When your child stops using a social networking site, deactivate or delete their account.
Keeping Your Family Safe On-Line
The internet is a fantastic resource with its millions of websites, apps, games and online communities, and just like thousands of other parents, I want my child to learn how to use it safely and responsibly. Unfortunately, it’s nigh on impossible to watch what our children are doing every minute they’re online. The increase in use of mobile devices in particular makes it even harder to keep tabs on what they’re watching or playing when they are out of sight. So, how can we help our children to stay safe on-line?
For further helpful advice, we recommend the following websites: