For the past two weeks we have looked at ways to protect your kids on the internet. Last week I said that today we would look at “Family Safety” which is a part of Windows Live Essentials. So buckle up and hold on.
To install and set up an account for Family Safety on your computer, surf to “explore.live.com.” Next, scroll down to Windows Live Essentials, click the link and follow the instructions shown. Be aware that there are about 11 total programs you can install with Live Essentials. Family Safety is just one. So when you install Windows Live Essentials click the link that says, “Choose the programs you want to install.” If not you will get all of the programs. That is not a bad thing since most of the applications in Live Essentials are very good. This is just a reminder to get what you want.
Family Safety augments the features provided with the standard Parental Controls in Windows, which we talked about previously. Family Safety adds remote management which lets you change your children’s rights online. If you are interested in web activity monitoring reports you can access information on programs your kids have used and websites they have visited. This is all viewed on the Family Safety website from any computer; all access is on the web.
In addition, Family Safety also provides guidance from child organizations (for example, American Academy of Pediatrics) with their suggestions for age appropriate settings and online activities. Keep in mind that they are your kids and you need to make the decisions.
Along with the features mentioned above you can also use, “Contact management,” so you know who your child has been contacting. As the parent you will also have the ability to allow a list of approved contacts for your children. The contact management feature only works with Microsoft services – mainly Hotmail and Messenger. That means that if they are using Google, AOL, Yahoo or any of the other common chat applications, you cannot see with whom they have been communicating.
When you have Family Safety installed on your computer, go to the controls by clicking Start / Control Panel and finally click Parental Controls. Once you are in the Parental Controls section you will see a link for Family Safety options. Check it out and let me know what you think.
I believe that this column will lead us into other Live Essential applications over the coming weeks.