2 September 2013
Microsoft Family Safety on Windows 8

Before I get started, yes, I admit it. I am quite a Microsoft fanboy. Apart from Internet Explorer, of course. But for me to put pen to paper and sing their praises publicly means that I really like something.

Last night, I created a user account on my Windows 8 machine for my daughter. “Is this account for a child” it asked me. Yes, I answered, not sure what would happen.

It then prompted me to switch on Family Safety for the account, and the options in there blew me away … utterly fantastic work Microsoft.

Some of the options given to me, in no particular order:

What’s more, whenever my daughter tries to run an app she doesn’t have permission for, she is prompted to send me a request to authorise the application. If I’m sat with her (which I pretty much always am), then I can enter my password and approve it there and then.

Don’t get me wrong … no set of Internet safety filters should ever be a replacement for good parenting and adequate supervision, but this is as good a toolset as I’ve seen. In particular, categorisation of games and websites relies on good curation be someone somewhere who I don’t necessarily trust, or have the same moral values as them.

As an extra safeguard, what my daughter does online is all logged, and I can review it from within the Users section of the control panel should I wish.

I feel pretty confident of letting my daughter online now, even if I need to leave her side for a few minutes.