Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to Restrict your child’s computer usage with Windows 7 Parental Controls

Before you setup parental controls on your Windows 7 machine you need to make sure you create appropriate user accounts for each user of your computer. And also make sure you grant the Administrative access to a trusted account.

Once you have these setup you can then move on with implementing parental control setting for your family computer. With Windows 7’s Parental Control capabilities you can set limits on the hours your children can use the computer, the types of games they can play and also the applications they can run on a computer. Implementing parental controls on Windows 7 is easy and straight-forward.

On the Control Panel click on “Set up parental controls for any user” link under “User Accounts and Family Safety”.

You can also get to Windows 7’s Parental Controls if you go into Internet Explorer Options and then on the “Content” tab you can see “Parental Controls” button.

Once in there, choose the user you want to set parental controls for. The user cannot be an Administrator of the machine, as a kid account is not supposed to have Administrator privileges.

On the User Controls dialog enable Parental Controls by checking the “On, enforce current settings” option under Parental Controls. Once you enable it you should be able to see 3 different settings that you can use to restrict how your kid can use the computer,
  • Time limit – this option allows you to set time limits on when your children can use the computer
  • Games – this option allows you to set  the type of games your children can play on a computer
  • Allow or block specific programs – this option allows you to restrict the programs your kid can use on a computer
 Start by trying to set time limits on when your kid can use the computer.

You can “left-click and drag” your mouse over the time columns across the days to block the time when your kid can’t use the computer. The cells would turn blue to indicate that those time are blocked from usage. White cells indicate the time the computer usage is allowed. Make sure to hit the “OK” button.

On the Game Controls section you can indicate whether your kid can play games on this computer or not. If you allow your kid to play games then there are some more restrictions that you can use to block the type of games your kid can play. Either you can restrict the games based on ratings or by specific games.

If you choose to set restrictions based on ratings you can set to allow or block games with no rating. Also you can set a wide variety of ratings to allow or restrict the type of games your kid can play on this computer.

You can also restrict the games by the type of content like animated blood, comic mischief, drug reference etc. There are a whole bunch of options out there for you to consider.

If you want to restrict specific games you can do so by setting the “Always Allow” or “Always Block” options next to the game name. Keep in mind that this might not be a great option if your kid installs new games or when you don’t actively maintain this parental control setting.

Lastly, you can also choose to restrict usage of certain programs/applications. This would be a handy thing to have as in most cases you might have an application that you don’t want your children to get to for various reasons. By allowing your kid to use only certain applications you can keep your computer stable.


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