Windows Live Family Safety
Windows Live Family Safety Editor's Review
Using parental control applications has become a necessity for those people who have tech savvy kids and computers at home. In fact, you should use such software even if your kid is not tech savvy. Needless to say, children depend on internet for several reasons including their education nowadays. They may fall prey to malicious people and traps laid by them, often unknowingly. Top anti malware applications can often be fooled by hackers and malicious users who are on the prowl to lure innocent minds online. If you do not want to spend much for such applications, try Windows Live Family Safety. It helps monitor online activities of your kids in a fairly comprehensive manner.
The application runs on Windows 7 and later versions and so Windows XP users are out of luck. As it is, the utility comes inbuilt with Windows 8. With administrative rights, you can define security settings for each user. It can be downloaded separately or as a component of Windows Live Essentials package. To use this service, you require a Windows Live login. In case you lack one, it is possible to register free of cost.
The application has a bluish white theme that is easy on the eyes and quite uncluttered. It makes sense to set up standard accounts for your kids. This will thwart any attempts by smart kids to change settings in the application later. You should check ‘Monitor account’ option while creating it. To watch your child’s activity and make alterations to default web-filtering settings, you should head to the site familysafety.live.com. It shows you all available accounts and you can edit them. By clicking ‘View activity report’ next to each account you get to know details about online activities of each user.
The ‘Web filtering’ option is what you need to tweak to determine what type of websites should be blocked. You can choose individual websites to be allowed or blocked by the application, in whitelists and blacklists. Such sites can be set for all users uniformly or for a single user. There is a ‘Time Limits’ option that allows you to specify timings for PC and web access. There are options to block access to individual programs too. The ‘Computer activity’ section lets you see offline PC usage by the kids.
When your kids try to visit a site that belongs to banned category, Family Safety asks them to obtain permission from the administrator. It can be sent through messenger or email. Windows Live Family Safety allows you to thwart file downloads by users. It is nice that the application enforces Safe Search in search engines like Bing and Yahoo.
The application is also immune to network commands that can disable some other some parental control systems. It also deals with secure anonymizing proxy sites rather well. Windows Live Family Safety allows parents to set limits on video game playing with ESRB ratings.
- Nice time scheduling for applications and web access.
- Game usage limit selection.
- Freeware, easy to use.
- Enforces Safe search in top search engines.
- No support for Windows XP.
- Each user needs to have Windows Live ID.
This is one parental control application that will suit users who rely heavily on Microsoft software and online services. Windows 8 users get it bundled and others can download it for free. The monitoring is fairly decent and same can be said about reporting capabilities of the application. With it, you can be assured of kids not getting access to games beyond pre set schedules and staying out of most inapt content online. However, those who do not use Windows Live Mail and still use Windows XP may think of using other contenders.
Windows Live Family Safety Publisher's Description
With Family Safety, you decide how your kids experience the Internet. You can limit searches, block or allow websites, decide who your kids can communicate with when they're using Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail, or Spaces and monitor what websites they're visiting.
Detailed activity reports for each child show you the websites your children visit (or tried to visit), and whether a site was allowed or blocked.
Filtering helps you protect your kids from the online content you don't want them to see, and you can create different filters for each child. By checking User requests, you can see if your children have requested permission from you to view blocked sites.
Access and adjust each child's safety settings from the Family Safety website, accessible from almost any computer on the web.
Built-in contact and website approval helps you know who your kids are talking to in e-mail or blogs on Windows Live Spaces, or in IM on Windows Live Messenger. Just sign in to the Family Safety website to approve or reject each new contact.
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