Before starting this guide we strongly recommend you read the first article in this series: How to setup Microsoft Family Safety
One of the main reasons parents tend to want to set up safety systems on their computers and mobile devices is so they can be sure their children are only looking at content that is appropriate for their age.
Whilst there is no solution to provide 100% total protection, especially for an internet savvy child, having in place a system like Microsoft Family Safety content restrictions means you have a good foundation to build on that offers good measures of protection for your children when they are trawling the internet, downloading apps or playing on the Xbox.
Assuming you have followed the first guide in this series mentioned at the outset of this article, then you should now be in a position to begin setting up Microsoft Family Safety Content Restrictions.
So now we’ve provided a simple written how-to guide, along with clear images, that you can follow in order to set up Content Restrictions for each of your family members. It’s important you spend a little time running through this guide for each family member, as content restrictions for a 7-year-old are not likely to be as relevant for a 15-year-old so you will need to adjust the set up depending on your children’s age groups.
Access to Microsoft Family Safety Content Restrictions
First, log in to your account by clicking here: Microsoft Family Safety
Once you have logged in you should see your list of family members we set up in the first article in the series. Now click on the More options button to reveal the sub-menu as seen in the image below, and then click on the Content restriction option.
The Content restrictions page can look a little overwhelming at first, but stick with this guide as it’s really quite simple once you understand the options available.
If you entered the correct date of birth for your children when setting up your family account in the original article in this series here: How to setup Microsoft Family Safety then the first option should be completed for you where you are asked to Allow apps and games rated for followed by a dropdown selection to set the age of your child.
In the following screenshot you can see Microsoft completed the selection automatically for my 7-year-old daughter:
You will notice the age rating you set here applies to both Windows 10 devices and also that family members Xbox One profile. So this will help you to filter out games and media that are rated higher than the age you set here.
You may find though that from time to time there are some apps or games that you are happy for your child to play that’s rated above their age. If that is the case, then you need the next option in the content restrictions section which is the Always allowed setting.
The Always allow option means you can give your child access to a specific app or game through the Microsoft Store or on their Xbox profile and that app or game will always bypass the age-rated restriction. As the image above shows you can add those specific apps to the Always allowed list for easy management.
The next option is the Alway block certain apps, games or media. As the name suggests this works in an opposite fashion to Always allow as you can set specific apps or games to Always blocked which will bypass the age rating for that family member.
You can see in this screenshot that by default there is a long list of browsers that always appear here:
Are you now wondering… why is that long list of web browsers there by default? The reason is Microsoft Family Safety can only restrict content when browsing the internet through the Microsoft Edge Browser that your child is logged in to under their profile log in. So to be sure your child’s internet browsing is being filtered correctly using your content filters you need to block all access to other internet browsers such as Google Chrome and Firefox.
If your child installs Chrome, for example, and begins to surf the internet using Chrome, then none of your content filters would be enforced.
Hang on! Is the Microsoft Edge browser any good?
At one time if someone told you that you have to use the Microsoft Edge browser instead of other popular choices like Chrome, Firefox or Opera you’d have just dumped the idea of Microsoft Family Safety instantly.
But that has all changed, why? Recent advancements with Microsoft Edge development means it has now become a truly excellent choice as a modern internet browser. The main reason for this is Microsoft Edge is now based on the open-source project Chromium and this change has made it a direct competitor to Google Chrome again, in fact, dare we say it may even be better?!
Compared to Chrome, Microsoft Edge uses substantially less RAM than Chrome despite the fact both are built on Chromium. Edge typically uses 70-75% of the RAM required by Chrome which is a very good option for those running systems with limited memory or older systems that struggle with performance.
So if you haven’t checked out Edge for some time, perhaps now is a good time to make the switch.
Arguably, it outperforms Chrome and yet it offers virtually all the same features and functionality of Chrome and it even looks almost the same to boot.
Ok, browsers covered let’s get back on track…
So now you have fallen in love with Edge, you’ve set it up on all your kid’s devices, now you can delve into the Web browsing content filtering section of Microsoft Family Safety.
Microsoft Family Safety – Web Browsing Content Restrictions
One extremely simple and valuable setting you can switch on here is the Block inappropriate websites option. With this setting switched on you will already have basic protection in place to block mature content. So even if you do nothing else then this is a great starting point to blocking inappropriate content for your children.
NOTE: Take note of this instruction for this setting to work correctly:
This setting works with Microsoft Edge on Windows 10, Xbox One, and Android devices with Microsoft Launcher installed.
To our knowledge, there isn’t a browsing filter in existence that can correctly filter all internet traffic 100% of the time. Sometimes filters are overly aggressive and block websites that you know are fine for your kids to visit, at other times a mature website or inappropriate website might slip through the filter.
If that happens, or if you just want to add a content restriction or allow a website of your choice in the content filter, then be sure to use the Always allowed or Always blocked features of the Web browsing content filter.
These features are simple to use, first let’s add a website to the Always allowed section.
In the following example, I have just typed in the website address of a website I always want to allow access to regardless of the filters in place:
In this example, the two websites above will be accessible in this particular child’s profile in Windows 10 and Xbox One. Even if the basic Microsoft filter would normally have blocked these websites your child will now be able to visit without any problems.
If you want to block a website, then you just follow the same example as above but this time enter the website address of the site you want to block.
So again in this example, you can see I would like to block two websites at all time to this particular child’s profile:
If you ever decide to give you child access to a website you’ve blocked in the past, perhaps as they’ve grown older, then you simply click the Remove button and the blocked site will be removed from your filter.
Once you’ve entered the website addresses you want to allow access to or to permanently block you just need to give it a few minutes to instigate the change and you should be good to go.
Remember, you need to set up these filters for each child (or family member) that you would like to set content filters for under each of their profiles. It can take time to set up initially, but spending your time wisely can offer very important levels of protection for your young ones in a world where it’s becoming harder to stop them seeing mature content when they are young.
We hope this guide helps you to keep your family safe and filter out content inappropriate for their age. If you need any help setting up Microsoft Family Safety Content Restrictions please leave a comment below and we will do our best to assist you.
Consider reading some of our other articles in the Microsoft Family Safety series, click one of the links below for the guide you would like to follow next: