How to Disconnect from the Family Safety Site & View Usage Logs Locally

Windows 8’s Family Safety allows you to police your children’s user accounts to ensure their safety and innocence while they use the computer. Microsoft provides a helpful web interface for this service that allows you to change your settings, monitor requests from your child to change permissions for pages and apps and monitor reports of your child’s usage. While this is a great feature that is sure to help a lot of users, it isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like the web interface, or would just rather manage your Family Safety reports locally, you have the option to disable the website for your user accounts. Keep in mind that this will disable the ability for your children to send requests from their account(s).

How to Disable the Family Safety Website

Disabling the Family Safety site is a very simple procedure that requires a simple click of a button. In fact, getting to that button is the hardest part of the job. For the fastest access, search for "Family Safety" from the Start screen, click or tap "Settings" and then click or tap "Family Safety."

You can also open the Control Panel and browse to the following location: Control Panel - User Accounts and Family Safety - Family Safety.

Regardless of how you get there, when you arrive at the Family Safety page of the Control Panel, click or tap "More Information" at the bottom of the window.

Next, click or tap "Remove it from the Family Safety website." You won’t see any dialog boxes asking you if you’re certain you want to do this and explaining the effects of the choice. Make sure you understand that you’ll lose access to your account settings online and your child will no longer be able to send requests to use pages or apps that are blocked on their account. If you still want to continue, click away. You won’t see any affirmations that the job is done, your computer will simply pause for a few seconds and then remove the "More Information" section from the page.

When this procedure is complete, your computer, along with any accounts on it, will be disconnected from the Family Safety site. If you choose to log in to the website to verify, you’ll find that your family account list is still intact. You will see, however, that there is a message at the top of the site indicating that you should install Family Safety. You’ll also see that your device list doesn’t contain the computer you disconnected in the previous step.

Click "Edit Settings" under any of the accounts in your family summary and you’ll find that the settings for the account are deactivated.

The accounts are listed, but you can’t do anything with them unless you reactivate the site. If you have second thoughts and want to get it working again, just click or tap the button below from the Family Safety page in the Control Panel.

How to View Activity Reports Locally

Now that you’ve disconnected your child’s account from the Family Safety site, the procedure we outlined in our article about viewing usage reports online becomes obsolete. That doesn’t mean you can’t access the information however, you’ll just have to do it through the Control Panel.

Return to the Family Safety page of the Control Panel and click or tap on your child’s account. Once the next page loads, click or tap "View activity reports" where it appears below the account name in the top-right corner of the window.

The first list that loads will show you your child’s activities including the most popular sites visited, the most recent blocked pages they’ve attempted to view and the amount of time they’ve spent on the computer.

For more information, click or tap "Websites visited" from the list of links on the left side of the window. From here you’ll see a comprehensive list of all pages viewed and whether they were allowed or blocked. You’ll also see the number of times your child has viewed each page and when the last time they visited it were.

Use the links at the left to view more information including files your child has downloaded and apps and games they’ve opened.

The information isn’t as detailed as in the reports on the Family Safety website, but they still provide more than enough information for your to keep track of your child’s usage and make sure they stay out of trouble.

Conclusion

While we certainly recommend using the Family Safety website for its comprehensive reports, quick access to Family Safety settings and the ability to field usage requests, we understand that some users won’t be comfortable with this information being online. We hope that the ability to manage these features locally gives such users the peace of mind to continue using Family Safety as it really is a great feature for anyone with child users in the household.

Are you currently using Family Safety without the Web interface? We’d be curious to know your views on the situation. What don’t you like about the site? We’re always glad to hear from you.