Digital devices like smartphones bring the information to your fingertips and help to keep yourselves updated. However, it also brings equal problems for kids demanding parents to monitor children’s online activities for guiding them in a correct way. Though there are lot of third-party parental control apps available for Windows PC, Microsoft offers official Family Safety tools having both digital and physical features. In this article, we will guide you on how to setup and use Microsoft Family Safety features efficiently.
Microsoft Family Safety Features
Before we go into details of setting up the account, here are some of the things you can get/do with Family Safety.
- This is an online tool needs Microsoft account for setting up. There are also mobile apps available for both Android and iPhone.
- It is the perfect software that helps your child to stay safe from cyberbullying and other digital dangers.
- Parents can control their child’s screen time and privacy settings.
- It is also possible limit access to inappropriate content using Microsoft Family Safety.
Overall, Microsoft Family Safety features help parents and guardians to keep their children safe online.
Setup Parent Account
The first step is to setup a parent account to use all the features of Microsoft Family Safety. For that, go to the official Microsoft Family Safety website and log in with your Microsoft account. If you do not have an account, click “Get started for free” button to create one for using Family Safety features.
After logging in, a dashboard will appear with the details of you and all existing family members. Now you are the family organizer and you can add other organizers (guardians) and members (children) to your account.
Adding a Family Member
- For adding a new member, click on the “Add a family member” link. Provide the phone number or email address of the member and then click on “Next”.
- On the next screen, select a role for the member. You can select “Member” for children and “Organizer” for guardians. We will add a family member in our example and you can see the member’s capability detailed when selecting that option. Click on “Next” button to procced further.
- Then click on “Invite” to send an invitation to the member you want to add. Once the family member accepted the invite, you can start customizing their safety settings.
- If your child is next to you, click “Accept invite for them” button to log out from your account and login with the child’s account.
- Click on “Accept now” button on the next screen.
- Follow the on-screen steps till you reach the below page and join the Family Safety using member’s account.
At this point, you can add Windows, Xbox, Android and iPhone devices in the member’s account. We will explain how to connect the device further in the article. Now, go back to your organizer’s account dashboard where you can find the newly created child (member) account is added as below.
Important Family Safety Features
Click on the member’s account card and you will find the important features are listed in the sidebar.
1. Setting Up Screen Time
One of the great features of Microsoft Family Safety is the use of a screen time limit. With this feature, you can customize the screen time for each day of the week. Let’s explore more about this feature:
- Click on the child account to open the “Overview” section. Here you can connect a device by clicking on the “How to Connect a device” button.
- For connecting a Windows PC, expand “Windows 10 devices” section and follow the instructions shown under that option.
- After adding a device, go to “Screen time” option on the left side menu and click “Turn limits on” button under the added device.
- Click the three dots icon against the device and select the “Edit limits” option” as shown below.
- Now, you can schedule the screen time for any particular day or set the common limit of everyday.
You can also set this same schedule on all the connected devices by turning on “Use one schedule on all devices” option. Similar to limiting screen time on devices, you can limit specific app or game under “Apps and games” tab.
2. Setup Content Filters
Content filters are like blockers to filter inappropriate web content and provide a safer online space for your child. This tool will block mature content and also notify you whenever a mature app or content is downloaded.
- Click on “Content filters” and then scroll down on the settings.
- Turn on “Filter inappropriate websites and searches” option showing under “Filter settings” heading.
- For allowing educational websites, turn on “Always allow educational websites” option. Microsoft will use AI for automatically generating allowed educational websites for this purpose.
- Next, you can manually add websites that you want your kid to visit and also all the websites that you want to block in the space given under the “Allowed sites” & “Blocked sites” options. you can force only the allowed list by enabling “Only use allowed websites” option.
- In the case of apps and games, scroll up and go to “Apps and games” tab. Then select the age from “Apps and games rated up to age” option to filter out inappropriate apps and games for your kid’s age.
3. Review Spending
You can use this Microsoft Family Safety feature and allow your child to use money from your account balance/card and shop on their own.
- Go to “Spending” section where you can see two options for adding money – from your Microsoft account or using the Credit card. Click “Learn more” or “How to add a card” links to learn how you can link the account/card in Family Safety site. The member (child) can spend the amount from account balance without any approval. However, your (organizer) approval is needed for each credit card purchase if you turn on the “Require approval for every purchase” option.
- Scroll down on the page and turn on the “Spending notifications” option to get purchase request notifications.
Other Microsoft Family Safety Features
Other than the above three most important features, there are also many useful features available as part of Microsoft Family Safety account. To find these features, go to the main dashboard and scroll down on the page. You will find a list of cards and click on any link to get more details about that feature.
Family Email and Family Calendar
These two features are interconnected with one another. You can email your family members to discuss anything as a group. And in the Family calendar, you can add family events and other important dates to get notified as a family. When you click on both these options, you get redirected to Outlook to perform the respective actions.
Using this option, you can create a family notebook which can help you in adding notes and sharing them with other family members. Click on the option from the list to open a Notebook in OneNote and start writing your notes.
This feature allows you to check the online activities of your child and keep you updated with a weekly report. Note that activity reporting feature needs to be enabled for getting all purchase notifications.
Find Your Family
This helps to find the family members by using location sharing feature. Click on “Find your family” and then select the type of mobile device you are using. You can choose from Android or iPhone and enable the location sharing option.
Microsoft Family Safety is an excellent suite of tools to protect your child’s online presence and activities. This is especially useful when you have two or more kids and want to manage all their details in a single and reliable place. Though it takes some time to setup the accounts and connect all family devices, it will help to protect and locate the kids in emergency situations.