How to set up & use Family Safety in Windows 8 to monitor your kids activities

Windows 8 is not just making PC easier to use, more interactive and social but it’s the most secure and safe computer operating system ever made. Microsoft is very much concerned about the security and safety of their customers and to make sure that they are safe both offline and online, so Microsoft keeps on introducing new security features in their products.

Family Safety in Windows 8 is a perfect example of Microsoft’s seriousness about the security and safety of its users. With Family Safety in Windows 8, the monitoring of child and other Standard user accounts is like never before. You can now get more detailed reports about the user activities and have more control over the user account.

Just activate the Family Safety option while creating your kid’s account on PC and you will start getting weekly reports of your Kid’s activities on PC. And don’t worry, setting up the Family Safety option requires just a click on check box and nothing else is required, no download of any additional files, installation wizards, or configuration files are required.

Set up Family Safety in Windows 8

We have earlier sen how to set up Family Safety in Windows 7. Now let’s check out how to set up Family Safety in Windows 8:

1. First of all you need to set up a new account. To apply Family Safety option, the account type must be a Standard User.

2. To set up a new account in Windows 8, go to all Control Panel items and click on User Accounts from the list of options available.

3. Now, you can either set up a Microsoft Account using your children’s email ID or you can set up a Local Account for your kid to access the Windows 8 PC.

4. Enter the details for the account like name, password etc. and click Next to move further.

5. Now, click the check box to enable Family Safety feature.

Set up Family Safety in Windows 8

6. The account is now ready to use with the default Family Safety settings and features.

You can also change the account safety preferences, if you are looking for more secure environment for your kid. Some of the features which can be used to do so are:

Web Filtering: you can monitor and restrict the web activities of your kid. It allows you to block websites, downloads and other offensive content available on the web. It also automatically enables the Safe Search option on Bing, Google and Yahoo search engines.

Time Limits: With this feature you can limit the PC usage time of your kid. You just need to set up the time limitations and it’s all done.

Windows Store and Games Restrictions: You can also decide the usage of Windows Store and Games for you kids. It allows you to control the types of app which your kid can download from Windows Store and Games which he/she will play depending on the game rating.

App Restrictions: It allows you to decide which apps and programs will be available for your kid to use on his account. You can restrict applications which are not of their use by un-checking them from the list of installed apps available there.

The activity reports will be generated separately for each account and you can check them by selecting that particular account and clicking on View Activity Reports option available inside it.

The fully functional Family Safety is available in Windows 8 Release Preview to test and use. If you are a parent, you might want to consider  using it.

See this short video from Microsoft on Family Safety in Windows 8 to understand it better.

Family Safety not working

Type Family Safety in start search and click on the result, to open the Family Safety applet in Control Panel. Click the Refresh button in the to refresh the Family Safety Filter. The Family Safety Filter refreshes its settings automatically periodically, but if you notice that web content isn’t being filtered the way you want to, you can refresh the Family Safety Filter manually.

Set the rating system in Microsoft Family safety as shown in the image below. You can let it be at its default value or you can select Classification Operations board and see if that helps.

Family Safety not working windows 8

Sometimes your security software may interfere with the smooth working of Family Safety. Disable it temporarily and se if that is the cause.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, 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.


  1. Errorhelp

    Can we no longer block email contacts our kids send/recieve to/from?

    Previous implementations of family safety included this essential feature!

  2. Skye32blue

    Why does a warning come up for the user that their account is being monitored. That’s totally stupid – why would you provide the child or teen information that their account is being monitored?

  3. BEWARE Parents

    Beware — This feature does not work on Windows 8. It allows you to set it up and it appears to be working from the parent’s end. The child’s account is not blocked from anything.

  4. Vicki Brochue

    I do not have any of the kids accounts able to buy any apps. I buy apps on my account. But I have found that the kids cannot access the apps I buy. I will not let my kids buy their own apps, so how do I enable the apps on their accounts. I Didn’t buy Tinkerbell for me! As Family Safety is right now it’s usless.

  5. Vicki Brochue

    p.s. I agree about the warning that comes up. Maybe Microsoft could have someone work on this that has kids.

  6. peted66616

    Just stumbled across this article. Sorry I’m coming to it so late, but…

    Windows 8 has a stupid app installation paradigm, in which each individual user is required to install Windows Store apps for themselves. This means that if you want an app usable by any given user, you have to log in as that user and install the app.

    On the bright side, this is merely stupid and inconvenient for the user, and not completely broken. That is, if for a different user you temporarily log into the Windows Store with the original account that purchased the app, you can reinstall that app on the same device for that user without having to re-purchase the app or use up one of the five device licenses for the app. As near as I can tell, it also does not install a new copy of the app on the device; it just enables the existing installation for the current user.
    Once you’ve logged in on the device as the user for which you want to enable the app, and then logged into the Windows Store as the Windows Store user that originally purchased the app, you should be able to swipe down from the top of the screen to get the “My Apps” option, under which will be listed all the apps you’ve purchased, with the ones not yet installed on the current device under the current user called out separately.
    Don’t forget to log your authorized Windows Store user out after you’ve done this, otherwise the logged in device user will be able to purchase and install other apps again later!
    Also, on my Surface, all the user accounts are not tied to an online account. I have heard that there may be difficulty switching Windows Store accounts from within a device account that is tied to an online account, but I don’t know anything about that specifically.

  7. Charles Zimmerman

    Sorry peted66616. Apps are blocked (even though you log in as that person) if you have family safety on. So what it comes down to, is Family Safety for windows 8 will allow you child to see what ever they want on the internet, but block apps which you have authorized. That’s a bit backwards. There is some serious work that needs to be done here by Microsoft. Too bad they obviously never read the posts, because people have been complaining about this issue since the beginning, and nothing has changed yet.

  8. ColinB.

    What web filtering level are you using for your children? I am using Designed for Children, and then adding sites to the allow list so they are only able to see things I would like them to see.
    I also had an issue with kids accounts using the Designed for Children web filter. It wouldn’t load any games or even sign them into xbox live to keep track of achievements. In order to overcome this, please add the following domains to the allow list. – used for games – used for games – used to sign in

  9. mad

    Doesn’t work at all! Says it is, blocks one thing and then not the next. I am horrified and angry that I thought my child was protected and I was doing what I needed to do to protect them and now because of it being a piece of crap my child has viewed things that he shouldn’t have! I am just sick to my stomach, thanks a lot Family Safety and Microsoft, you suck!

  10. j

    I set up the time limit for my child to 0 recently, However, she can still log in to use her account. Further more, the user activity report shows that she has no activities. I wonder she she learned some tricks to by pass the parental control. Please help ASAP!

  11. rad_time

    So basically you are mad at Microsoft because you didn’t bother to test to see if things were working properly. That makes sense. Definitely a software problem.

  12. thathing

    Using this on kiosk machines at work. Seems to work OK so not sure why the complaints about the filtering. I know that I had to read through the options to make sure I picked one that made sense for what I need. It even blocked Facebook even though I didn’t want it to. Rather than selecting a different option level I just allowed Facebook. At home, for my kids, I was OK with it letting them know. I’m not sure about the complaints that it comes up unless you want to be sneaky about what your kids are doing. This sends the wrong message in my opinion. You can’t then blame them for being sneaky either I suppose. I should also mention that I have this installed and working on 6 Windows 8.1.1 computers.

  13. standardop

    Just a suggestion: Try setting it to 1 minute instead. I don’t see anywhere that a time limit of 0 is supported and to me a time limit of 0 means NO LIMIT.

  14. Mike

    Wow! Someone NOT bashing Microsoft! I think you make a good point but the software should be a little more intuitive for those of us who are not computer experts. I also noticed that if you go to Google and type “Free porn” almost all the sites are blocked by Family Safety (for the setting I chose at least). But, if you type something like “breasts” and choose images rather than web (in Google) then pictures come up. Knowing the limitations of the tool I guess is the best idea but who has time for that?

  15. Ireplytooldposts

    Why would you expect your child or teen not to be sneaky about their Internet activity if you are being sneaky about monitoring it? I have to admit I got this idea from another post below. I did not agree with it at first and was going to comment that that person obviously does not have kids but then realized it is a good point. Also, what made this thread so popular today?!?!

  16. monkeyfan

    works fine for me but this is a year later with 8.1. just in case others are reading this too.

  17. LiMi

    Can anyone tell me if they have successfully blocked websites for a child account? I have set up the web filters to: Allow List Only. Then, I typed in one or two websites into the low list, and Any website is still accessible. Everything has been checked and double checked, but it still doesn’t work. Fam safety is ON, as the curfews and timers do work, and when I log onto the child account, there is a pop up box that says family safety is turned on. yet, any website can be accessed. Even a Microsoft tech who went onto my computer remotely couldn’t get it to work. So, I am left wondering if the web filters even work at all. Would love to hear if they work for anyone out there. Thanks

  18. Jim

    I’ve chosen this one to monitor my kids –

  19. GoogleFrustrated

    My child accounts seem to be unable to use the google search engine does anyone know why?

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