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How to set up parental controls on your Windows computer

Parenting in the 21st century is more difficult than in the past. We used to just worry about what our kids were up to when they left the house to hang out with friends.

These days we also need to worry about what they are up to in the digital world. There are tons of threats facing kids online that you need to protect them from. Tap or click here for 5 ways to protect your kids online, from remote monitoring to limiting messaging apps.

Another must? Limiting what your kid can do on your family desktop, a shared laptop, or their own laptop or tablet. Here’s how to set up parental controls on a Windows computer.

Change these Windows settings to help keep your kids safe

Setting up screen time limits

If your kids are spending too much time online, set up screen time limits. To set up screen time limits, go to family.microsoft.com and sign in with your Microsoft account, then follow these steps:

  1. Find your child’s name and select Screen time.
  2. If you want to use the same schedule for all devices, turn on Use one schedule for all devices.
  3. If you have an Xbox at home, you can manage Windows 10 and Xbox separately. Scroll down and switch On or Off individually for each device.
  4. If you want to give them the full amount of time you’ve scheduled, leave the default setting of Max scheduled. For example, if you’ve allowed screen time from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., your child can access the computer that entire block of time.
  5. If you don’t want the default Max scheduled, select the row for each day to set how much time and when you allow your child to spend with their devices.
  6. Type in your schedule choices, select Add and then select Save.

Help your child get the most out of their screen time. Have them sign out if they’re not using their device. Screen time counts down only during the time a child is signed in.

RELATED: Check your child’s phone for these 15 apps frequented by predators

How to block inappropriate websites

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You can block inappropriate websites on Windows 10 when using Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge browsers. To turn web browsing limits on, go to family.microsoft.com and sign in with your Microsoft account, then follow these steps:

  1. Find your child’s name and select Content restrictions.
  2. Scroll down to Web browsing and switch Block inappropriate websites from Off to On.
  3. If you want to always block specific sites, add their URLs under Always blocked.
  4. If you want your child to only see websites you’ve explicitly allowed, check the box next to Only allow these websites.

Blocking inappropriate apps, games, and media

You can block your children’s ability to purchase and use inappropriate apps, games and media on Windows 10 devices by setting an age limit for content. Sign in on family.microsoft.com, then follow these steps:

  1. Find your child’s name and select Content restrictions.
  2. Go to Apps, games & media and switch Block inappropriate apps, games & media from Off to On. Under the Allow apps and games rated for section, select the age limit you want to apply to your child.
  3. When your child requests to use a blocked app or game, you can approve it and add it to the Always allowed list, which is under Content restrictions.
  4. If your child downloaded something before you set these limits, you can block it where it appears on the Activity page. They will need your permission to use it again. You can respond to their app requests from your email or on family.microsoft.com.

Note: If you want to keep an eye on the content your kids are using but don’t want to set up content restrictions, go to the Activity page and change Activity reporting from Off to On.

You may also like: Is this Windows 10 update safe to install?

How to make kids ask permission before buying anything in the Microsoft Store

You can set up a family member’s account to require adult approval for the things they want to buy in the Microsoft Store — except for what they get with gift cards or money already in their Microsoft account. Only family organizers will be able to give approval.

Sign into family.microsoft.com, then:

  • Find the family member’s name and select Spending.
  • Under Ask a parent, switch Needs organizer approval to buy things to On.
  • If you want to approve or deny purchasing requests through email or on family.microsoft.com, switch Email me when they get stuff to On. You can see a family member’s past purchases by going to the Purchase history section. If you were charged for an unauthorized purchase, you may be able to request a refund. Tap or click here for details.

We’ve just shared critical parental control settings for Windows, but there are more. Tap or click here to see all the content restriction settings for Windows 10 and Xbox One.

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