It’s reassuring to see parental controls incorporated into software and they can be very useful as a starting point for protecting your kids online. If you want to set up parental controls in Window 8.1 read on; it’s relatively simple.
 

The release of Windows 10 may be just around the corner but many people are still using Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, and will likely to continue to do so for some time to come.

There was a lot of fuss about the Windows 8 interface design, given that it was a fairly radical departure compared to previous operating systems.

 

That said there are many useful features for Windows 8 and 8.1, not least of which are the parental controls.

With its ear to the ground Microsoft clearly recognised the need to protect children online and as result introduced parental controls. But this is hardly surprising, its PhotoDNA technology is designed to help find and eliminate images of child pornography.

And from Windows 7 onwards there have been parental control features in its operating systems.

If you want to set up parental controls in Windows 8.1 here’s how to do it

  1. First of all, the responsible adult in the household should have an administrator’s account and each child should have a standard user account.
  2. When your kids sign in with their own accounts, they can personalise their desktop and explore apps and games. And as an administrator you can choose the limits and permissions you want to wrap around the children.

This Microsoft page is useful to help you set up user and administrator accounts, if you haven’t already done so.

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Setting up a child’s account

Before you set the parental controls you will need to sign in with your administrator account.

Once you’ve done this simply follow the steps below:

  • Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.

If you're using a mouse you can point to the bottom-right corner of the screen, click Settings, then click Change PC settings.

  • Tap or click Accounts, tap or click Other accounts, then tap or click Add an account.
  • Tap or click the Add a child's account link.

Then take one of the following steps:

  • If your child already has an email address, enter it, tap or click Next, then follow the instructions.
  • If you want to get a new email address for your child, tap or click Sign up for a new email address and follow the instructions.

That’s it – you now have an account for your child.

Setting up parental controls in Windows 8.1

Parental controls help you manage how your children use the computer. You can set limits on the hours that your children use the computer, the games they can play, and the applications they run.

Parental Controls can block access to a game or application and when this happens a notification is displayed that the program has been blocked. Your child can click a link in the notification to request permission for access to that game or program. You can allow access by entering your account information.

  • Open Parental Controls by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button and then click Control Panel
  • Under User Accounts and Family Safety, click Set up parental controls for any user.  If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • Click the user account that you want to set Parental Controls for – the one that you’ve just set up if you followed the steps above.
  • Under Parental Controls, click On to enforce current settings.
  • Once you've turned on Parental Controls for your child's standard user account, you can adjust the following individual settings that you want to control: - Time limits - Games - Allow or block specific programs

Time limits prevent children from logging on during hours you specify. You can set different parameters for each day of the week. If child is logged on when the allotted time ends, they'll be automatically logged off.

You can control access to games by choosing an age-rating level and the types of content you want to block.

By allowing or blocking specific programs you can prevent children from running programs that you deem harmful or undermining.

The good thing about parental controls for Windows 8.1 is that you not only get activity reports about what the children are up to online, but it’s a good way to start conversations about online safety habits to develop awareness early on.

Growing awareness for protecting children online

It’s great to see awareness about the need for child protection on the internet growing. Microsoft is not alone in its endeavours and there several organisations whose remits are to protect children online.

Perhaps the most well-known is Get Safe Online which provides a wealth of advice and information. And then of course there is the UK’s CEOP which works closely with its European counterparts to identify, track and arrest predators and abusers.

BullGuard has been developing parental controls for over a decade and as a result our products are fully featured and refined. Importantly they address the precise protection needs that parents highlight, such as tools to create lists with private information that will not be usable online on monitored accounts

These can include numbers, e-mail addresses, names or phone numbers and other private information. After all, we’re all familiar with stories about Facebook invites that turned into a free for all and in the worse-case even a riot.