Prior to Windows 8, Family Safety was a program on the operating system that allowed you to set per account limitations relating to system and Internet access.
After Windows 8 was released all of that functionality was moved off the local desktop and placed under the main Microsoft Account management page via the web.
In the transition some of those desktop capabilities were lost but a parent could still control several elements of any children accounts that have been established under their primary Microsoft Account.
Microsoft has announced a new batch of features for their web based Family Safety program as they continue to introduce improvements to both desktop and mobile capabilities.
They detailed these updates in an email to users of Family Safety earlier today:
- Screen time extensions: When your kids ask for more screen time on a Windows 10 PC, you can extend it through email and the website.
- Safer settings for younger kids: When adults create new child accounts, only kids under 8 years old will have settings automatically turned on. For kids 8 and up, adults need to turn on the settings they want when they make new accounts.
- Simplified web experience: account.microsoft.com/family is now the one place to manage family settings for Windows Phone and PCs.
- Web browsing limits now only on Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer: On Windows 10 PCs, and now on Windows 10 Mobile, web browsing limits will only apply to Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. If you decide to prevent your kids from using other browsers, you can choose to block other browsers that are not supported.
On the mobile side, when your child sets up an account on a device running Windows 10 Mobile, the following capabilities will be possible:
- Recent activity to see their activity from Windows 10 PC and Windows 10 mobile devices.
- Web browsing limits to block inappropriate content.
- Set Apps, games & media limits according to their age and content ratings.
- Find your child lets you locate your child’s device on a map.
Finally, the ever growing Windows Store is now family friendlier and allows you the ability to manage the following options for each child account:
- Add money to your kid’s account without giving them your credit card.
- Kid-friendly Store browsing limited to the app, game, and media limits you set.
- Review your child’s recent purchases on their Purchase & spending page.
You can read more about these features at the Family Safety FAQ page.
I used some monitoring tools when my daughter was a teenager back in the 90s although at the time all of the options were only from third party developers.
Do you use monitoring tools like Microsoft's Family Safety to help control and limit your child's access to the Internet and other activities?
Let us know why, or why not, in the comments below.