Protecting your kids with Family Safety

 Protecting your kids with Family Safety

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.

family safety

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
    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
    Parental Controls

To monitor your children’s online activity, you need to install
and set up the Family Safety Filter on each computer they use.

Step 1: See if Family Safety is already installed on your

If you have Windows 7, Family Safety might already be installed on your computer. To set it up, click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, click Windows Live,
and then click Windows Live Family Safety.
Picture of the Start menu where you can run Windows Live Family SafetyIf Family Safety is already installed on your computer you can find it on the Start menu.

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.

Step 2: Sign in to the Family Safety Filter with your Windows Live

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.

Step 3: Select who you want to monitor

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

Picture of screen where you can choose which Windows accounts you want to monitor
You can choose which Windows accounts you want to monitor.

Step 4: Match your existing Family Safety members to their Windows

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

Picture of screen where you can choose which Windows accounts to monitorYou can match your existing Family Safety settings to your Windows

Step 5: Add passwords

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

Step 6: Verify your setup

Click Next and you’ll see
the Windows accounts that Family Safety is now
monitoring on the computer.

Picture of the Family Safety Filter screen that shows monitored accountsSee the Windows accounts that
are monitored by Family Safety and what their settings

Customize your family’s

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
turned on.

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
are child-friendly.

Here’s how to customize your child’s settings

  1. On any computer, sign in to the Family Safety
    with a parent’s Windows Live
  2. Click Edit settings under
    the name of the child you want to adjust settings for.
  3. On your child’s settings page, you can see an overview of their
    current settings, and choose what you want to adjust.

    Picture of the Family summary pageUse the Family summary page to see all of your family members,
    edit their settings, view their activity reports, and see if they have

Set up web

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

  1. 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.
  2. Click Save.
    Picture of the web filtering pageTurn on and customize web filtering for your child, and be sure to
    save your changes.

Allow or block a

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

  1. Under Allow or block a
    , type or paste into the box the web address of the
    website that you want to allow or block.
  2. Select an option from the list, click Add, and then click Allow or Block.
  3. Click Save.
    Picture of the web filtering pageAllow 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
Windows Live

  1. 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.
  2. 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
    these services.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
    check 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.
  5. Click Save.
    Picture of the contact management pageChoose 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
like this:

Picture of the screen kids will see when a website is blockedInstead of a website with inappropriate content, your child will
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

  1. On any computer, sign in to the Family Safety
    with your Windows Live
  2. On the Family summary page,
    under Requests, click (number) requests.
  3. To show any comments your child added, click the arrow next to the
    web address.
  4. Click the arrow next to Select a
    , and then click Approve for this
    account only
    , Approve for all
    , or Deny.
  5. When you’re done responding to requests, click Save.
    Picture of the contact management page where you can review requests from your childrenYou 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

  1. On each computer your child uses, log on to their Windows account.
  2. Open Windows Internet Explorer,
    and then go to the Family Safety Kids’
    Sites website
  3. In Internet Explorer, click
    Tools, and then click Internet Options.
  4. On the General tab, under
    Home page, click Use current, and then click OK.

    A picture of the Family Safety Kids’ Sites website with links to child-friendly websitesThe Kids’ Sites website is a great place for kids to start their
    web surfing.

Check out what your kids have been
up to on their computer

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