Microsoft Shows Off Family Safety in Windows 8 Release Preview

Windows 8 lets you use multiple accounts on any PC, making it much easier for parents to use tools that can help protect their children from content on the Internet as they see fit. In a latest blog post, Phil Sohn, the senior program manager lead for Family Safety, outlined the substantial improvements the company […]

Windows 8 lets you use multiple accounts on any PC, making it much easier for parents to use tools that can help protect their children from content on the Internet as they see fit. In a latest blog post, Phil Sohn, the senior program manager lead for Family Safety, outlined the substantial improvements the company made to family safety features and services, and describes how Family Safety features will work in Windows 8.

For this post Sohn uses a Pre-Release Preview build or the Release Preview build of Windows 8, as well as several updated apps possibly coming in the Release Preview.

"With Windows 8, you can monitor what your kids are doing, no matter where they use their PC. All you have to do is create a new "children" specific account for each child, which allow parents to have full control over what their children are doing on the internet. For example, parents can set time limits and turn on web filtering for their kids, which would restrict them to a certain amount of time and block them from censored websites. "check the box to turn on Family Safety, and then review weekly reports that describe your children's PC use. No additional downloads, installation wizards, or configuration steps are required. Just check the box!""

windows 8 children specific user account

Windows 8 gives you a "monitor first" approach, which provides informative activity reports for each child. With the simplicity of activity reports, we believe more parents will adopt Family Safety, resulting in a safer computing environment for children. Here's what a Family Safety activity report looks like:

windows family safety activity report

Standard accounts for the kids in Windows 8 has several benefits for children:

  • Won't be able to access their parent's email, online accounts, documents, etc.
  • Can customize their own account settings without affecting their parent's account
  • Won't be able to download malware or other questionable files because the SmartScreen Application Reputation service automatically prevents it
  • And for parents who want more control:
    • Web filtering: You can choose between several web filtering levels.

      windows 8 children account web filtering

    • SafeSearch: When web filtering is active, SafeSearch is locked into the "Strict" setting for popular search engines such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo. This will filter out adult text, images, and videos from your search results.
    • Time limits: With Windows 8, you now can restrict the number of hours per day your child can use their PC. For example, you might set a limit of one hour on school nights and two hours on weekends. This is in addition to the bedtime limits currently available in Windows 7.
    • Windows Store: Activity reports list the most recent Windows Store downloads, and you can set a game-rating level, which prevents your children from seeing apps in the Windows Store above a particular age rating.
    • Application and game restrictions: As in Windows 7, you can block specific applications and games or set an appropriate game rating level.

Here is a short video showing how Family Safety works in Windows 8: