Windows 8 Features New 'Family Safety' Reports

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has announced that child safety measures built into the new Windows 8 operating system (OS) will be significantly different from those in Windows 7. It insists the new strategy will be more effective in keeping kids safe.

According to the company, both Microsoft and third-party software developers have often been unsuccessful at helping parents and guardians to control exactly what children in their care can and can't do online.

That's because such systems can be complicated and require constant parental involvement. For example, some children who sought to access certain websites have found them inappropriately labeled as unsuitable. (Source:

Tight Parental Controls Less Effective Than Other Tactics

Traditionally, keeping kids safe online requires placing a family computer in a high-traffic area, such as a living or dining room, where monitoring is easier.

However, positioning a computer isn't as easy now that the machines are far more portable.

The new Microsoft approach is based on a notable feature built into Windows 8: multi-computer user accounts. With this capability in place, each person can set up one account that works on all the machines in the network.

Family Safety Option Switches On Monitoring

Using Windows 8, parents will be able to designate which user accounts belong to their children, and activate a new 'family safety' feature that gives them a weekly report of all the activity within those supervised accounts.

The reports will include a list of the sites the child visited, the search terms used, the total time spent online, the software employed, and the files downloaded.

By placing new emphasis on parents' monitoring each child's online activity, Microsoft says parents and child can learn to trust each other, and children can more easily learn what is and is not appropriate online behavior.

In case the strategy proves ineffective, each section of the report will also include a quick link to more active measures the parent can trigger to restrict the child's online activity.

For example, if the parent is unhappy with the sites the child has visited, they can quickly set-up filtering or blocking services to limit more such visits in the future.

There will also be an option to set time limits on how long the child can use the computer in a given period of time. (Source:

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