How to Manage Your Family Safety Settings Online, from Any Browser
We’ve covered in past tutorials what it takes to set up Family Safety in Windows 8. We’ve also shown you how to use the Family Safety website to check your child’s usage reports from any web connected device anywhere. If you should find, based on your child’s habits or usage, that you want to increase or decrease the permission level on their account, you don’t even have to go home to do it. You can use the same website to change any of your Family Safety settings. Here’s how:
How to Alter Your Settings on the Family Safety Website
To get started, you’ll need to access the Family Safety website on the Internet. We described that procedure for you in a previous article. Check it out if you need pointers: How to View Your Child's Usage Reports on the Family Safety Website.
Once you load the site, click or tap "Edit Settings" where it appears beneath your child’s account name on the main page.
The Settings page provides convenient links to all of the major Family Safety settings you’ll want to adjust. Click or tap the blue links to make your selection. Once you make your selection, you’ll be able to cycle through the various sections using the links in the left column of the site window.
Click or tap "Web filtering" to change the filtering level for your child’s account. Move the slider up or down to raise or lower their permissions. You can disable the feature by selecting "Turn off web filtering" from the top of the window. You can also toggle whether or not downloads are allowed on the bottom of the window. Click "Save" if you make any changes before moving on.
Click or tap "Web filtering lists" to alter your lists of specifically allowed or blocked websites. To remove a site from either list, select "Remove" next to the URL and click or tap "Save." To add a site to a list, enter the url in the appropriate box at the top of the window and click "Allow" or "Block." Again, don’t forget to save your changes.
Select "Time limits" to adjust your child’s time allowance for the computer. You can click or tap the drop-down lists for each day of the week to alter the allotted time for each day.
Select the "Curfew" tab from the Time Allowance page to manage your child’s curfew. Click and drag on the chart to highlight areas in blue. Those highlighted areas represent times your child is not allowed to use the computer. In the example below we’ve blocked out 7 PM to 7 AM.
Select "Game restrictions" to change the game ratings your child is allowed to play. Move the slider up or down to select the maximum rating you’re comfortable with. All lower ratings will be allowed also. You can then choose whether or not to allow your child to play unrated games at the top of the window.
Select "App restrictions" to choose which apps your child can or cannot use. Scroll through the list to view your installed applications. Select those you want to block, deselect those you want to allow. You can use the search bar at the top of the window to find a specific app without having to scroll through a long list.
How to Add a Remote Parent to Monitor Your Child’s Account
While it’s important to maintain control of your child’s computer usage, you don’t have to do it alone. If you have a spouse, family member or baby sitter who you trust to field permission request from your child, but they don’t have an account on your computer, you can add them as a parent on the Family Safety site.
To get this done, return to the Family Safety site home page and click or tap "Add a new parent."
If the individual in question has a Microsoft account, click or tap "Sign in."
If they don’t have a Microsoft account, click or tap "Create an account" to have them create one. They’ll have to enter information including their name, desired account name, password, birth date and phone number. For a full rundown of the procedure, check out this article: Introducing Windows 8: How to Create a New User Account.
After selecting "Sign in" or after the user creates a new account, have them enter their account credentials when prompted to log in to their account.
Take the time now to have them choose how often to receive emails from Family Safety.
Select "Request frequency" to choose how often to get emails about new permission requests from your child. You can choose one of the following:
- Immediately - An email is sent as soon as your child sends the request
- Daily per child - One email per child per day will be sent containing all of the days requests
- Off - No emails will be sent for permission requests
Select "Activity Report Frequency" to choose how often to receive emailed activity reports. Select one of the following:
How to Elevate a Local User to Parental Status in Family Safety
Having help with monitoring your child’s computer use can make it a much simpler job. If you’ve got a spouse or even an older child who wants to help field permission requests and view usage reports, you can elevate them to parental status on the Family Safety site. The procedure is exactly the same except you have to click or tap "Make a family member a parent."
Select the account you want to elevate and then click or tap "Sign in" to have them log in. They can also click or tap "Create an account" if they need to create a Microsoft account.
Not only is Family Safety a very useful tool for monitoring your child’s computer use, it’s also extremely convenient. The Family Safety website allows you to control all aspects of your child’s account settings without ever having to sit down at your home PC. What more could you ask for?
For more information about Family Safety, please check out some of the other articles in our series.