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Parental controls in Windows 8

New features improve your control over time limits and web filtering

Windows 8 has plenty of major changes from its predecessor and some minor upgrades. One area that’s been changed lightly but given some enhanced features is the Parental Control settings.

Go to the Charm bar and click on search, type in Family Safety and click on Settings then click on Family Safety. You'll be taken to the Family Safety control panel that looks an awful lot like the Parental Controls one it has replaced from Windows 7, however there are changes.

Click on an account and you'll see that you can still manage time limits and game or application restrictions, but in addition there's the new option of web filtering. The web filtering setting will allow you to restrict what websites a user can visit and even block all but the ones you choose.

In the web filtering settings you can choose the level of restriction, allowing only 'child-friendly' websites or ones in a general interest category. There's an online communication option that allows social networking sites as well as general interest, though adult content is blocked. If you wish you can allow sites that contain adult content, but with a warning that is displayed when they first click on the page. You can easily stop your child from downloading content of any description too by simply clicking the Block file downloads option.

The time limits settings have changed to become a little more user-friendly too. Now, as well as having the option of selecting which hours your child can use the computer you can set time limits. So for example, you can let your child use the PC for one hour a day on weekdays and three on weekends rather than having to select which specific hours in the day they can have the computer. The new curfew setting lets you choose the exact times and days your child can use the PC as you could in Windows 7, but it's even more flexible now as it allows half-hourly blocks of time.

As with the Windows 7 Parental Controls games can be restricted by age range and you decide which applications can be used, allowing you to completely control what your child can do on the PC. 

Visit the Dell Tech Zone for more advice on family computing.

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