So called family features, or parental controls, are designed to provide parent or legal guardians with options to control the computer use of minors.
They are usually controlled by one or multiple adults who manage what minors are allowed to do on a computer. This includes computer time, web browsing, programs they can run or safe guards to protect them against threats on the Internet.
Microsoft improved the family features of the Windows operating system in Windows 10 (and Windows 10 Mobile once it is released).
The new features add options to Family Features for the most part, but there is a new restriction as well that limits the functionality. The following guide provides you with information about these changes.
Windows 10 users can add family members via the integrated Settings application for the operating system.
Accounts for minors can be added without email address, but an outlook account will be created automatically during setup.
Accounts can be controlled on the local PC, or on the website.
Web Browsing changes
Microsoft changed the web browsing protection significantly on Windows 10. The main change is that the controls support only Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer in Windows 10, and not other third-party browsers.
According to Microsoft, this was made necessary because updates to these browsers may break the controls Microsoft created, and since the company does not know about these changes in advance, it could lead to situations where children were not properly protected anymore while on the Internet.
Microsoft suggests to block other browsers when they pop up under Recent Activity.
Windows Store changes
Three core changes went into Windows Store. First, the store will show only apps, games and media according to the limits that you have set. Second, you may add money to a child's account without giving them access to your credit card, and third, you can see the recent purchases that a child made under Purchases & Spending.
Screen time extensions
Children can request a play-time extension through email or the Family Features website. They can ask for a 15 minute, 1, 2 or 8 hour extension, and can do so again once that time runs out.
Defaults for children under 8 years of age
Family Features are automatically enabled for children under the age of 8. Parents and legal guardians need to activate these controls for children older than seven years of age when they create new accounts or afterwards.
Windows 10 provides additional information about Family Features during child account creation, when accepting invitations, or when other adults are invited into the family.
Microsoft revealed features that it plans to integrate into Family Features in the near future. This includes limiting web browsing of young children to websites that you permit explicitly and that kids can check their recent account activity.
The web browsing limitation to Microsoft browsers is a serious one, especially since Microsoft browsers don't provide the same level of customization options than other browsers. While that may change in the long run, it is a serious limitation right now.
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