Windows Vista Parental Control Features

One of the better features of the new Windows Vista operating system is the myriad of parental controls built into it to help parents designate and control where kids go and what they do on the Internet. The controls also monitor and restrict what games kids can play and what programs they can access. Not only does Windows Vista control what kids can do, it can also dictate what time of day a child is allowed on the computer.

All of the settings controls are centralized in one location. You can access them by going to the User Accounts page and looking for the Family and Parental Controls applet. Using this one control panel, you have limit setting ability over what websites your kids are allowed to access. Some third party parental control software packages even work directly with Vista and allow you to use the program directly from this menu. Unfortunately, parental control systems in Windows Vista don’t allow you to constrict these things across a network, so you’ll have to set them up for each computer on your network.

Directly from the easily accessible menu, you can generate activity reports that show where your child has gone and what they’ve done while logged on. You can use these reports for their obvious purpose and just see what they are doing, or you can use the information as a feedback system to see if your parental controls are enough or too much. Often times, you’ll set up a filter and a website that you don’t want them to see will make it past the filter, so you can use the activity report to fine tune your restrictive settings.

One of the great controls Vista allows parents is a time limiter. With so many kids today spending hours on the computer, it is prudent to limit the amount of time your child is looking at the screen. A graph showing time usage by day and hour across the whole week tells you when peak computer use is. All you have to do to restrict their use by time is pull up a grid of the days and hours of a week and click the times block that you don’t want your kids to use the computer. You can the relax and be confident that the parental controls will kick in reliably, even when you are not there to enforce the rule.

Some parents may feel that it is not their business what their kids do online, but the reality is that kids are curious, and if their behavior is not monitored closely, they can find themselves in a world they do not understand, or places full of information that they don’t’ need to know yet. Vigilance and temperance are key when choosing your limitations, but with a little time, you can give your kids a full experience of the Internet and the computer without cutting them off completely.

Have a great day!