Computer Monitoring for Kids

With Windows 8, you won’t need to worry about what your kids may have been doing on a computer or tablet. When you set up an account for your children, you automatically have access to Windows Family Safety, an online tool that allows you to monitor which programs your children used, which games they played and which websites they visited. This software will also report how many minutes or hours your children used the computer and will automatically block inappropriate content if desired.

Setting Up Family Safety

To use Family Safety on your computer, set up accounts for your children. In most cases, each child should have his or her own account, so you can monitor each child's activity and change access permissions if needed. However, if your children are close in age and use the computer together, it may be easier to set up just one account. After you create the account, look for a check box beside "Is this a child's account?" Click this option before clicking the "Finish" button to enable Family Safety for the account.

Getting Activity Reports

When you log in to Windows, you will receive an email from Microsoft with a Family Safety activity report for each of the accounts you set up for your children. This report summarizes how much time each child spent on the computer, which games and applications they used, which websites they visited and the words they looked up in search engines. A link in each email directs you to the Family Safety website where you can get more detailed reports or change your children's computer permissions if needed. For example, you can restrict your children's access to specific programs, games or websites.

Monitoring Web Activity

When you log in to the Family Safety website and select your child's account, you can get a detailed report of web history by clicking the "Web Activity" tab. Unlike the history report on a Web browser, children can't delete items on this report. This report shows the Web pages your child visited and pages that were blocked. Family Safety will automatically block Web pages or specific content on some pages that it deems inappropriate for children, however you can override these filters as needed. For example, if you are at work and your child at home needs access to a blocked website, you can log in to Family Safety and remotely lift the restriction.

Monitoring PC Activity

Websites are only one part of a child's PC activity. If you want to see how much time your child spent on the computer and which programs or applications your child used, select your child's account on the Family Safety website and select the "PC Activity" tab. This report shows you how long your child was on the computer, which programs were used and which blocked programs your child tried to access. The report also displays what files were downloaded while your child was on the computer and which programs were accessed in the Windows Store.

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