How to Use Kid's Corner - Parental Controls for Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone 8 includes a nice new feature named Kid's Corner, designed to make it easy and safe for parents to share their phone with their children. In this guide, I would like to share what this feature is, how it works and how to use it to safely share content, games and apps with your children.
What is Kid's Corner in Windows Phone 8?
Kid's Corner is a sort of parental controls feature for Windows Phone 8. You can use it to share a pre-approved list of apps, videos, games and music with your child. He or she will then use Kid's Corner on your phone and get access to a special Start screen designed just for him/her. This screen allows access only the items you approved.
How to Set Up and Turn On Kid's Corner in Windows Phone 8
On your Windows Phone 8 device, go to Settings. In the system list, scroll down to kid's corner and tap on it.
The Kid's Corner setup wizard is launched. Read the information presented about this feature and tap next.
You are asked to select the content you want to add to Kid's Corner. As mentioned before, you can add games, music, videos and apps. You can select only items that exist on your phone.
Let's see how to select the games you allow your child to play. Tap Games. A list with all the installed games is shown. Select those you allow your child to play.
Then, tap Done. You are back to the list of content categories. The number of selected games is displayed below the Games category.
The same selection principles apply for music, videos and apps. But, to make sure everything is clear, let's go ahead and show how to select some music for your child. Tap Music.
Your phone's entire music library is listed by playlists and albums.
Select the albums you allow your child to listen to and tap Done. Unfortunately you cannot select individual songs.
You are back to the list of content categories. Add also the videos and apps you allow your child to use. When done, you will see the number of allowed items beneath each content category.
To go ahead with the setup, tap next. Depending on how your phone is set up, you might be done or you might need to go through an additional step.
If you have a lock screen password enabled, you are done and you can skip to the last step in this guide. If you do not have one, Windows Phone 8 will ask you to create a password to protect your phone and keep your child from accessing your Start screen. Good advice, isn't it?
Tap set password.
You are asked to create a password. Type a four digit number and confirm it.
Then, tap done and you are finished.
Also, you now have a lock screen password to prevent your child or anyone else from accessing the phone when you are not around.
How to Launch Kid's Corner & Share Your Phone with Your Child
Now it is time to share your phone with your child and launch Kid's Corner.
Even though you turned on this feature, there is no new tile on the Start screen nor any entry in the list of apps. To launch it for the first time, you need to go back to settings -> kid's corner.
There you can find a button named launch kid's corner. A tap on it launches this feature.
If you plan to use it often, you should pin kid's corner to the Start screen. Tap the pin button and its tile will be added to the Start screen.
Another way to launch it, is directly from the lock screen. Swipe from right to left to open it.
When you launch kid's corner, you will see a lock screen specific to it. Unlock it and enter the lock screen password you have set.
Now, the kid's corner Start screen is displayed and you can give the phone to your child.
He or she will be able to use only the stuff added to this Start screen.
To end the play session, press the Power button on your phone. kid's corner is turned off also if the phone is leaved untouched for a while and it locks itself automatically.
Then you can unlock your phone and get back to your Start screen.
How to Customize Kid's Corner in Windows Phone 8
There are a few things that can be further customized about kid's corner: the name used for it, its welcome picture, its background and accent colors.
To customize these elements, launch kid's corner. Then, tap the customize tile found on the top-left. This opens the customize window.
Type a new name for this feature in the "Name your Kid's Corner" field.
Then, select a new background and a new accent colour. You can also tap choose picture and select a new picture from your gallery of photos.
Press Start and you are back to your child's Start screen. Your changes have been applied automatically.
Annoyances When Using Kid's Corner
While this feature can be fun and useful, I don't consider it fully developed. There are some annoying aspects about it. For example, your phone will function normally in the background while your child plays. That's great.
But, if you receive a phone call, when you end the conversation, your child's play will not be resumed. Kid's corner is automatically closed. You will have to manually launch it again and your child needs to start over whatever he or she was doing. Also, if there's period of inactivity and the phone locks itself, Kid's corner is, again, automatically closed.
How to Turn Off Kid's Corner in Windows Phone 8
Turning off this feature is very easy. Go to settings -> kid's corner.
Then, move the Kid's Corner switch from On to Off. That's it!
As you can see from this tutorial, Kid's Corner is a rather interesting feature and, at least at this time, unique in the world of smartphones. I'm pretty sure it won't be long until you will find something similar in upcoming versions of other operating systems. Also, I do hope Microsoft will spend some time to further enhance it in future updates for Windows Phone 8.