What Are Parental Controls and How to Set Them Up
"Parental controls" is a catch-all term encompassing a variety of methods of blocking inadvertent access of individual accounts to inappropriate websites. There are many ways to achieve this, including measures such as configuring network-wide parental controls on a router, using the parental control features that are built into Windows or employing third-party software that filters the web and disallows access to undesirable websites.
As indicated by its name, web filtering is most useful for restricting the web access of young children. This effectively prevents them from inadvertently stumbling on to some less than wholesome content on the Internet.
Note, however, that since such restrictions are not difficult to put in place, they aren't terribly difficult to work around either. This is why you probably shouldn't rely on Parental controls to keep crafty teenagers in check.
How to set up Parental Controls on Your Router
Your router can be set up to function as a choke point where all the Internet traffic for your network flows through. This is why it stands to reason that one of the most effective ways to set up parental controls is by configuring them into your router. Setting up parental controls on the said router will allow you effectively filter the web for all the devices on that router's particular network. Any computers, smartphones, tablets, and game consoles connected to the said router will be subject to the restriction.
Since the demand for this type of feature is considerable, these days, quite a few routers support it – and if yours does, it will probably be advertised on the box or detailed in the router's user manual.
Usually, you would need to visit the router's web-based configuration pages and set up the parental controls for your network.
How to set up Parental Controls on Windows 7
Conveniently, Windows 7 has some handy built-in parental controls that allow you to control a variety of things – from what time a user account can log into the computer to what programs it can use and what sites they can visit. This is helpful if you establish separate user accounts for each individual that uses the computer you manage.
- Open "Control Panel".
- Open "Settings".
- Open "Parental Controls".
- Open "User Controls".
- Click OK to finish the job.
Less conveniently, Windows 7 doesn't have an in-built web filter. However, Microsoft does support Family Safety, a free program that allows you to set up web filtering on Windows 7. To make use of its blocking features, install the Family Safety program. It is available as part of
Microsoft's Windows Essentials Package
- Install "Family Safety".
- Open "Family Safety"
- Go to "Web Filtering"
- Use the slider to adjust how much you want to filter the web.
- Click OK to finish the job.
How to set up Parental Controls on Windows 8 or Windows 10
Fortunately, the developers behind Windows 8 and Windows 10 have taken a page from the research notes on Windows 7 and have incorporated parental controls into Windows, as well as expanding on that functionality. On the latest versions of Windows, said controls allow you to manage both time limits and program access controls as well as filter the web and employ a variety of other new management features. All you really need to do is check the "Is this a child's account?" box. This is done when setting up a new user account on Windows 8 or 10. Henceforth, said account will be marked as a child's account, and you will be able to manage it from the Family Safety website online.