Windows Live Family Safety: Free Parental Internet Controls

By Jonathan Wylie

Jonathan Wylie

Jonathan Wylie

Are you worried about what your children are doing on the Internet? Well, help is at hand from the free parental internet controls that Microsoft offers as part of its Windows Live Essentials suite. The setup procedure is quick and easy. Here’s how to get started.

    1. Go to the Windows Live Essentials website and download the program by clicking on the blue download button.
    2. Run the installation file by double clicking on it, and select the option that says Choose the programs you want to install. Check the box next to Family Safety, and click Install.



    1. Launch the program by clicking on your Start button and selecting All Programs. Now scroll down to the Windows Live folder and you will find Windows Live Family Safety.
    2. When the program is first launched, you will need to enter a Windows Live ID and password. If you don’t have one, click the Sign Up link to register for a free account.
    3. The program works by monitoring individual accounts on your computer. If you don’t already have separate login profiles for your children, now is the time to set them up, so click Create a new Windows account. Once they are added, check the box next to each account that you want to monitor, and click Save.
    4. If you didn’t already, you will then be prompted to add a password to the account. This is to help ensure that your children are not attempting to use an unmonitored account on your computer. Add a password, and click Close when you are done.
    5. Your PC is now set up with parental Internet controls that will monitor the online activities of your child when they log on to your computer. However, you are only just beginning to explore the true potential of Windows Live Family Safety. For more options, go to the Family Safety Website, and login with you Windows Live ID.
    6. Once logged on, you can customize the online experience for each child by clicking on edit settings under their account profiles. From here you can select adjust how aggressive the web filter is, and add or deny individual websites for your children.


  1. Clicking Activity reporting will let see a record of what sites your child was accessing online. It also shows what offline activities they have been up to while logged on to your computer.
  2. Time limits can be set to ensure that your child is only able to access the computer when you want them to, and game and program restrictions will limit what else they have access to on your PC.

The Windows Live Family Safety tool is a great free solution for adding parental internet controls to your computer. However, it is important that you are able to have open and frank conversations with your children about appropriate online conduct. Tell them why you are imposing the limits that you decide upon and together you can form a bond of trust that will encourage responsible Internet usage now, and in the future.

Jonathan Wylie is the owner of The Education Technology Blog, a website dedicated to helping teachers advance the use of technology in the classroom. He is a teacher, husband, and proud father, but also works as a freelance writer for several online publications.  Jonathan is originally from Scotland, but now lives and works in rural Iowa. He has a love for education, photography, computers, and just about any gadget that he can get his hands on.

Posted in Technology on March 15th, 2011 | Permalink | Comments »

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