How to set parental controls on your home computer

How to set parental controls on your home computer

A child’s safety, both physical and mental, is of the utmost importance. Being a good parent is a thing that most parents worry about, and it doesn’t take a genius to know that children shouldn’t have the same access on a computer as adults. 

The question now is, “How much access do your children have on the home computer?” If you don’t know, you need to find out. Here are instructions how to create and maintain a child safe account on a Windows computer.

The importance of passwords

The first step in creating a child-safe account is making it so that your children can’t change or nullify it. You, as the administrator, need to come up with a password that they can’t guess. Don’t write it down, or say it out loud. 

Children can be crafty; if they know your password, they can change the settings to do whatever they want. A strong password is a case sensitive password with uppercase characters, lowercase characters and numbers. 

Accounts and parental controls

The second step is deciding where the safety account is applied. You can apply safety settings to the computer as a whole, or you can create separate user accounts for children and other users. 

If you want separate user accounts, log in (as the administrator) and open the “Control Panel.” Select “User Accounts and Family Safety.” It should have all the users listed. There might be only one “Administrator” account. 

Look under the users and select “Create new user account.” Create an account and name it something like “Kids” or “Children.” When the account is created, select it so you can make changes. You should be able to change the password and the picture. 

Choose the option “Set up Parental Controls.” You can also go back to the “User Accounts and Family Safety” and select “Parental Controls” from that menu. Once you are in “Parental Controls” for your new child account, select the bubble that says, “On, enforce current settings.” 

When you select the first time, there will be no settings in effect. You can change:

• Time limits
• Game ratings
• Program limits

The time limits will allow you to specify what times your child can operate the computer. For instance, you could set the computer to allow child access after 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. If your child attempts to stay past that, it will automatically log off. 

The game ratings section will allow you to specify if you child can play games at all, and if so, what games and what rating of games. You can also block games that have a specific type of content you don’t like. 

The program limits will allow you to specify which programs your child can operate. If you want your child to use the computer for productivity more than games, you can only allow programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Calculator. You can allow and block the child’s access to any program on the computer. 

Testing new settings

Once you are finished making the setting changes you want, close the “Parental Controls” window and log off. You want to make sure the settings work how you wish. 

When your account has logged off, log into the child’s account and test some of the content you restricted. If you try to perform an operation that you had previously blocked while in the child’s account, an error window should surface telling you “Parental Controls has blocked this program.” 

If any of the settings seem to be unnecessary, or need to be changed, you can always change them in “Parental Controls.” If for homework purposes your child needs a bit more time on the computer, you can log in as the Administrator and bump back the time slot so the child can use the account during a time that is normally blocked. 

Having control of the content on your computer is immensely important when raising children. Creating a safe account is a great way to do it. Now that you know how, log on and try it out. It may be exactly what your child needs. 

About this Angie’s List Expert: David Molnar is the owner of Dave’s Computers, providing computer service in Hillsborough, N.J. Since 2012, Dave’s Computers has specialized in computer repairs, keyboard replacement, data backup, virus and spyware removal and more. You can follow this #ALExperts contributor on Twitter @DaveComputers and on Google+.

As of March 6, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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