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Parental Controls Guide 2011

Parental Controls for PC's

With Windows 7 (and Vista, for those stuck with that OS), Microsoft has included a Parental Control feature in Windows—and it’s free! It lets you control when kids can use the computer, what games and applications they can run, and web filtering to block adult and mature websites. It also features activity reporting that can keep you up-to-date on their computer usage. Plus it also lets you configure and change the settings via the Windows Live Family Safety site from anywhere on the Internet.

If you’re using Windows XP or you want more control than what Windows Vista or 7 can offer, consider using a third-party solution, such as CyberPatrol Parental Controls ($39.95 for up to 3 PCs after the 14-day free trial).

Regardless of which parental controls you use, make sure each child or user has their own Windows account created and classified as a Limited/Standard user, not as Administrator. If your children are close enough in age to have the same type and amount of restrictions you could create a single account, or create multiple accounts for each age group. Also make sure your Windows account is password protected and is set to something your children won’t know or guess, otherwise they can bypass/disable the Parental Controls. Review and change these settings by clicking Start > Control Panel > User Accounts, and then click Manage another account.

To use all the Parental Control features in Windows Vista or 7, you must first install the free Windows Live Family Safety software on each computer you want to lock down, if not already installed.

In Windows Vista, you must first set up the Windows Live Family Safety software: click Start > All Programs > Windows Live > Windows Live Family Safety.

To enable or change the Parental Controls settings, click Start > Control Panel > and open Parental Controls. In Windows 7, you must enable the Windows Live Family Safety software here: scroll down to the Additional Control section and select Windows Live Family Safety as the provider.

You should be able to log into the Windows Live Family Safety site with your Windows Live ID to change settings and review activity logs.