Parental Controls in Windows 8 allow better monitoring of your children’s activities than in the previous versions of Windows, including Windows 7. Unlike Windows 7 where you can place controls on a PC to PC basis, the parental controls can be set up across computers on a network. This, of course, requires parents to log in using Windows Live account instead of local administrator accounts.
Parental controls will not require download of anything separate than what Windows 8 provides. Though there are few third party parental controls available, when you integrate your Windows Live account with Windows 8, you can get a detailed report mailed to you every week.
This report will contain the names of websites your kids visited, the applications they used and games. The report also includes the time spent by your kids on different programs as well as the total time they spent on computers and Internet that week.
You can create parental controls at two levels in the Windows 8 operating system. One is the local PC to PC basis – where you create and apply parental controls to your kids’ user accounts on each PC. This is same as the parental controls in Windows 7 or earlier operating systems. You can select what games to allow and what applications to block for your kids.
The other level is universal level that you create by using your Windows Live ID. This allows for global tracking of your kids’ activity. This means no matter what computer they are using, you can still track their activities associated with their Windows Live ID.
Microsoft says with Windows 8, it is offering monitoring first. This means you can monitor what all is your kid doing before placing limitations. This is in contrast to what was being previously done – place limitations before letting your kids handle the Internet. With Windows 8, you can not only monitor, you can also educate your kid about the potential problems arising out of using certain types of websites. This approach helps you train your kids better.
Settings established by parents are stored in Microsoft’s cloud-based Family Safety Service. This facility, being cloud based, can be accessed via any location on the planet. The reports can be further customized by clicking on relevant items in each report.
To sum up, global parental controls in Windows 8 offers you reports emailed to the Windows Live account associated with your Windows 8 account. And the fact that Windows 8 parental controls can be enforced across PCs makes sure your kids are safe when they are using computers – offline or online.
Note: You can check the Windows 8 parental controls from Windows 8 Release Preview onwards. The Consumer Preview version of Windows 8 does not include the facility of setting up global parental controls using your Windows Live account.
After reading this post, you may want to check out the video at MSDN blog about Windows Family Safety.