Microsoft Family Safety for Windows 10: Features, How to set up and use

Microsoft Family Safety is a free parental control and monitoring service developed by Microsoft. The feature, however, is available on Windows 10 PCs, but if you had previously set up family features when using Windows 8, and then upgraded to Windows 10, you need to adjust a few Settings take to turn on family settings again.

Microsoft Family Safety for Windows 10

Family Safety allows parents to keep an eye on what minors are doing on their computer. To enable the feature, you first need to create your child’s account and then add it into your family account. Basically, the Family account is controlled by any adult in the family who manage and control what minors are allowed to do on the PC. It helps you keeping your kids safe online and also forbid them to watch inappropriate websites etc. Furthermore, you can also set the time limits for their computer usage and restrict any apps or games you don’t want them to play.

Having seen how to set up Family on Windows 10, let us now take a look at the new features Family Safety on Windows 10 offers.

New Features of Microsoft Family Safety

Apart from features like recent activities, age limits, time limits, websites blocking etc., the updated Microsoft Family Safety brings much more.microsoft family safety 5

Screen time extensions

Besides time limits and age limits you can now adjust the screen time for your child. Assign them 15mins, 1-2 hr or a 8 hr screen time on their PC. Also, you can extend the screen time via email if they run out of time.

Safer default settings for younger kids

This new feature helps you avoiding the hassle of adjusting the settings for your children separately. When you add a child in your family account, you automatically set the preferences for all kids under 8 years old. For the account of kids above 8 years, you have to adjust the settings manually every time.

Changes to web browsingmicrosoft family safety 5

One change that is visible is the change in web browsing habits. Earlier, family settings worked on browsers of different make but beginning this version of windows, Microsoft Family Safety features are now applicable only on Microsoft’s own web browsers i.e. Edge and Internet Explorer. You can now set the web browsing limits for your kids only on these two web browsers.

Other brands of browsers frequently make changes which can break the technology Microsoft has in place for them. As such the company cannot fix those breaks fast enough to keep kids protected, the focus is on making family settings work seamlessly for Microsoft products and services, including web browsers.

To ensure your child does not use other browsers for browsing the web or not supported by family, select Block where you see those browsers in every child’s activity.

Windows 10 Mobile Protection

The software giant has extended the protection to the Windows 10 Mobile devices too. You can now browsing limits on your kids’ mobile devices running on Windows 10 operating system and also check all their activities online.

How to check your Child’s Online Activity on Window 10 Mobile Phone

To check your child’s internet activities on Windows 10 Mobile Phone, you first need to set the phone with the same Microsoft account which is used to join the family. It will automatically apply all family account settings.

You can then check the Recent Activity of your child from both Windows 10 PC as well as mobile devices. Microsoft sends an alert to remind adults of the family to check children’s activity report.Microsoft Family Safety for Windows 10

The new web browsing limits automatically block adult content on Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. However, you can manually allow or block the websites too.

You can also allow or block the apps and games on the Windows 10 Phone according to the content ratings.microsoft family safety apps and games

A new feature named Find Your Child enables adults of the family to find the child’s device on a map. When the feature is turned on, Microsoft sends a reminder that the child’s location is available for adults in the family.

Kids Purchase & Spending

There’s also some change in the Windows Store settings to make it more family friendly. You can allow the kids to purchase an item of their choice, provided their shopping spree is within your spending limit that you have set.

You can add money to your kid’s account without divulging your credit card details. For this, go to the child’s account > Purchase and Spending > Add money to this account.

The Store will display browse results based on the limit you have configured for purchase. For viewing your child’s recent purchases, check Purchase and Spending page.

Adults in the family can set the content limits for the money they spend at Windows Store. You can add a set amount of money to your Kid’s account rather than giving your credit card details

Microsoft will soon bring some more of interesting and useful features to Family Safety reportedly. As posted on the official Microsoft blog, the company will soon be adding a new home for Windows Phone 8 family where users will be able to manage the family settings for Windows 8 PCs and Windows Phone 8, as well.

Also, some other features like Web browsing limits for younger kids and Kid’s view of recent activity will also be added allowing parents to allow kids to visit only specific websites.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update adds some more features:

  • One Microsoft family: You can see all your family accounts for Windows and Xbox, see the settings for each child in your family, and make changes to their settings.
  • Multiple time limits per day: You can set multiple time limits per day for your child’s Windows PCs. You can also give the child more time on that device when it’s not connected to the internet.
  • Keep kids safe while browsing: Choose which websites your kids are allowed to visit. As long as they’re using Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer, they’ll be blocked from any other websites you haven’t allowed. Since other commonly used browsers don’t have this feature, we will block them on your child’s devices.
  • Microsoft Store is more family friendly
  • Instant notifications of your kid’s requests: If your kid sends you a request, Microsoft will notify you immediately.

Set up Microsoft Family Safety

Make you child use a Microsoft Account. Then in the Settings, select your account. Here select Sign in with a Microsoft account instead and enter their email address. Then add their Microsoft account to your family safety account.
Select a child to view or edit their settings and select Add. Enter the email address your child uses to sign in to Windows 10 and select Send invite. Your child will need to accept the invitation from their email address.
You can now go ahead and set your restrictions.
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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.