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Monday, January 07, 2013

Use Vista to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

Before you can specify what your kids can see and when, you need to create user accounts for them.
  1. Log into an account with administrator access.
  2. Click the Start button, then click Control Panel.
  3. Click User Accounts and Family Safety.
  4. Click "Add or remove user accounts" under User Accounts.
  5. Click "Create a new account."
  6. Type the name you want to associate with the account.
  7. Select the type of account, either "Standard user" or "Administrator." Choose "Standard user," since "Administrator" would somewhat defeat the purpose.
  8. Click Create Account.
  1. Return to User Accounts and Family Safety.
  2. Click Parental Controls.
  3. Click the account to which you want to add parental controls.
  4. Select "On, enforce current settings" beneath Parental Controls.

By selecting "On, collect information about computer usage" under Activity Reporting, you can view a report that details user activity. The information on the activity report includes:
  • Top 10 Web sites visited
  • Most recent 10 Web sites blocked
  • Web overrides
  • File downloads
  • File downloads blocked
  • Logon times
  • Applications run
  • Application overrides
  • Games played
  • E-mail
  • Instant messaging
  • Media
Click "Windows Vista Web Filter" under Windows Settings to specify what Web sites the user can visit. Selecting "Allow all websites and content" will place no restrictions and gray out all other options in the window. Selecting "Block some websites or content" will give you the options to manage the following:
  • Edit the allow and block list: Click this to enter specific Web sites you wish to allow or block. Type in the URL, then click the Allow or Block button. To further restrict Web usage, select "Only Allow websites which are on the allow list."
  • Block Web content automatically: You can choose from four levels of automatic content blocking: High (blocks all Web content except child-approved Web sites), medium (blocks unratable content and certain kinds of mature content), none, or custom (select your own content categories to block from a list of options).
  • Block file downloads: Prevent your kids from downloading files by selecting this option.
If you want help ensuring that your child will still have time for homework, or that he or she won't use the Internet while you're not at home, you can specify when a certain account can—and cannot—use the computer. Just click Time Limits on the Parental Controls screen, then click and drag the mouse over the calendar to highlight the days and hours you want to disallow computer access. To change the hours, just click and drag over highlighted hours to clear them.

Windows Vista even gives you fine control over what sorts of games your kids can play. Click on Games from the Parental Controls screen to access these features:
  • Can the user play games on the computer? Select yes or no. If you select no, the rest of the options will be grayed out.
  • Block (or allow) games by rating and content types. Click "Set game ratings" to specify the highest Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) game rating the user can play. Allow games rated T (for Teen), for example, and the user will be allowed to play T games or games of any lower rating. Using the checkboxes at the bottom of this screen, you can block specific types of game content: cartoon and fantasy violence, strong language, suggestive themes, gambling, and more.
  • Block (or allow) specific games. Selecting this option will bring up a list of all the games installed on the computer. You can choose to block the game based on content-rating restrictions, or to always allow or always block any game.

You're not limited to just controlling the games your child plays—you can also block other applications. Click "Allow and block specific programs" from the Parental Controls screen. You can then limit access to only the programs you allow. If you choose that option, you'll be presented with a list of all programs installed on the computer—just click the selection box next to the program (or use the Check All and Uncheck All buttons) to specify usable programs.