Keeping your kids safe online can be complicated, but Windows Live Family Safety helps make it easier for
you. Family Safety provides a website and a free
program that you
install on the computers your kids use, so you can give them some independence
but still keep tabs on their computer activities. Family Safety can also help keep your kids off websites you don’t want them looking at, and only let them talk to the people you’re okay with them talking to.
How Family Safety works
Just like on a sports team, the different players in Family Safety and Windows make up a team that works together. The players are:
- The Family Safety Filter.
Software you install and set up on each computer your kids use. It monitors your
kids using safety settings you select.
- The Family Safety website.
Where you choose and manage all the settings for each family member and view
their activity reports. You can create settings on the website once and then
they’ll apply to every computer you’ve installed the Family Safety Filter
- Windows Parental
Controls. A feature in Windows that’s turned on when you use Family Safety.
You can use Windows Parental Controls to set
up more safety settings for your kids’ computers. For more information on
setting up Windows Parental Controls and
Family Safety, watch the video about using
To monitor your children’s online activity, you need to install
and set up the Family Safety Filter on each computer they use.
and then click Windows Live Family Safety.
If Family Safety isn’t installed on your computer, go to the Windows Live Family Safety download page, and then click Download. Follow the on-screen instructions to download and install Family Safety.
Enter the Windows Live ID of the parent you want to be the primary parent, and then click Sign in.
To set up the Family Safety Filter and to use the Family Safety website, you’ll need a Windows Live ID. If you don’t have a Windows Live ID, click Sign up. (A Windows
Live ID is an e-mail address you use, along with your password, to sign in to Windows Live services such as Hotmail, Microsoft services such as Xbox LIVE, and anywhere else you see the Windows Live ID logo.)
When you set up Family Safety for the first time, you’ll be asked to sign in with a parent’s Windows Live ID. This parent will be the primary parent in Family Safety, and is the only family member who can remove the family from Family Safety. Be sure to use the Windows Live ID of the parent you want to be the primary parent because you won’t be able to change it later.
Select the check box next to the Windows account of each family member you want to
monitor on that computer, and then click Next or Save.
If you want to monitor someone who doesn’t have a Windows account, click Create
a new Windows account, enter their name, and then click Create account.
Family Safety works best when every member of your family has their own Windows account and safety settings. If everyone in your family uses the same Windows account, you’ll all use the same Family Safety settings and you won’t be able to get reports of which website each child is looking at. To make sure all of your kids have their own settings, add a Windows account for each person.
If you have guest accounts on your computer, you should turn them off because kids can also use them to bypass safety settings. For more information, see Turn
the guest account on or off.
If you haven’t used Family Safety before, you can skip this step.
If you already use Family Safety, you’ll see a screen where you need to match
each Windows account to a name on the Family Safety members list, and then click Save. If a Windows account doesn’t have a matching Family Safety name, click the option to add it.
You’ll recognize the people listed on the Family Safety members list as the people in your family who already use Family Safety. When you match them to their Windows accounts, you’re verifying for Family Safety that each person is matched to their own correct settings. For example, if your child’s name is Ben, he might have a Windows account named Ben, and be listed in the Family Safety members list as Ben Miller.
If there’s a Windows account on the computer for someone that hasn’t used Family Safety before, you’ll see them at the bottom of the list, Add (name).
When you choose this option, Family Safety creates a new Family Safety
membership for them with their Windows account
If you don’t have passwords for Windows administrator accounts or accounts you’re
not monitoring with Family Safety, you’ll see the Add
passwords screen. Click Add
It’s important that all of your Windows accounts have passwords. If you have an
unmonitored account without a password, your kids could log on to that account
and bypass their Family Safety settings. Then they may be able to see websites
you don’t want them to see, and you won’t be able to see reports of their online
Click Next and you’ll see
the Windows accounts that Family Safety is now
monitoring on the computer.
are monitored by Family Safety and what their settings
By setting up the Family Safety Filter you’ve got a good start on
protecting your kids, but going to the Family Safety website to tweak their
settings gives you all the bells and whistles. With the Family Safety Filter set
up for the first time, your children will be monitored with basic web filtering
(Family Safety will only block adult content), and activity reporting will be
To make it harder for your kids to see the things you don’t want
them to see, you can go to the Family Safety website and change their settings,
starting with the web filtering level. For younger kids, we recommend setting
the web filtering level to strict so that little ones can only see websites that
Here’s how to customize your child’s settings
- On any computer, sign in to the Family Safety
website with a parent’s Windows Live
- Click Edit settings under
the name of the child you want to adjust settings for.
- On your child’s settings page, you can see an overview of their
current settings, and choose what you want to adjust.Use the Family summary page to see all of your family members,
edit their settings, view their activity reports, and see if they have
Busy parents don’t always have time to go surf the web and check
out all the websites their kids might see. To make things easier, the Family
Safety team reviews thousands of websites and assigns them to categories. The
web filtering level you choose for your kids determines which of these
categories they can view.
If you want to pick your own categories instead of using the
preset levels, you can choose Custom.
You’ll see a list of all the categories, and then you can choose what’s right
for your kids. Under Web filtering, you
can also make a list of blocked websites or allowed websites that will override
the categories and filtering levels.
Here’s how to customize web filtering
- Click Web filtering, make
sure Turn on web filtering is selected,
and then select a web filtering level:
- Select Strict to block all
websites that aren’t child friendly or on the allow list.
- Select Basic to allow
websites except those with adult content and anonymizer websites.
- Select Custom to allow and
block website categories manually. To allow a website category, select it. To
block a website category, clear its check box.
- Select Strict to block all
- Click Save.
Turn on and customize web filtering for your child, and be sure to
save your changes.
If you want your child to use the strict filtering level so they
only see child-friendly websites, but you’d also like to let them see a certain
website that’s blocked, you can add the website to their allow list. Or, if you
want to block a website that’s allowed by their web filtering level, you can add
it to their block list.
Here’s how to allow or block a website
- Under Allow or block a
website, type or paste into the box the web address of the
website that you want to allow or block.
- Select an option from the list, click Add, and then click Allow or Block.
- Click Save.
Allow or block specific websites for one child, all of your
children, or your entire
Manage your child’s contact
You can choose who your kids can communicate with on Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, and Windows Live Spaces by managing their contacts. When
your kids use Windows Live, they’ll only be
able to talk with people you add to their contact list. They won’t be able to
talk to anyone who’s not on their contact list.
Here’s how to manage your child’s contact list on
- Click Contact management,
and then click add your child’s Windows Live ID.If your child has a Windows Live
ID, click Sign in, and then sign
in with their ID.-or-If your child doesn’t have a Windows
Live ID, click create an ID, and
then follow the instructions to create a new one for your child.
- Select the Windows Live programs
and services you want to allow your child to use. If you don’t select Hotmail, Messenger, or Spaces, your child won’t be able to communicate with
any of their contacts in Windows Live using
- Family Safety automatically adds a child’s parents to their
contact list. To allow your child to communicate with someone else, enter their
name and e-mail address, and then click Add.
- To allow only parents to add or remove contacts, clear the Allow child to manage their own contact list
check box.-or-To allow your child to add or remove their own contacts, select
the Allow child to manage their own contact
listcheck box.You’ll be able to see your child’s contact list, but you won’t
have to receive requests from them for additional contacts.
- Click Save.
Choose who your kids can talk to on Windows
What will my kids
“The website I want to see is
Once you’ve got Family Safety set up, when your child logs on to
their Windows account to use the computer for
their homework, and they try to go a website that’s blocked, they’ll see a page
see this page where they can ask permission to see the
If you’re at work when your child gets blocked from a website,
they can e-mail you a request to see the blocked website. You can open the
Family Safety website from the e-mail to approve or deny the request right away.
Once you’re done, let your child know the website they wanted to see is now
unblocked, so they won’t have any excuses for unfinished homework when you get
Here’s how to view and respond to requests
- On any computer, sign in to the Family Safety
website with your Windows Live
- On the Family summary page,
under Requests, click (number) requests.
- To show any comments your child added, click the arrow next to the
- Click the arrow next to Select a
response, and then click Approve for this
account only, Approve for all
accounts, or Deny.
- When you’re done responding to requests, click Save.
You can review your children’s requests and approve or deny
“What websites can I
The Family Safety Kids’ Sites website is a great place for young
children to start on the web. The website has links to the most popular of the
more than 8,000 websites Microsoft has
categorized as child-friendly. There’s also a Search
these sites box where kids can search only those websites that
are child-friendly instead of the whole Internet. To make it easier for your
kids to find child-friendly websites, you can set your web browser’s home page
to the Family Safety Kids’ Sites website.
Here’s how to change your child’s home page to the
Kids’ Sites website in Internet Explorer
- On each computer your child uses, log on to their Windows account.
- Open Windows Internet Explorer,
and then go to the Family Safety Kids’
- In Internet Explorer, click
Tools, and then click Internet Options.
- On the General tab, under
Home page, click Use current, and then click OK.The Kids’ Sites website is a great place for kids to start their