The ability to monitor your children online is often subject to much debate, some view monitoring your child’s activity online as invasive or a restriction (often the view of children), whereas (most parents) view family security as protection.
Whatever your viewpoint, one thing is certain and that is everyone’s online security, especially children, is of the highest importance!
Windows 10 still has the highest market share globally of any operating system, and thankfully Microsoft has provided an excellent tool in the form of Windows Family Safety to help you monitor how your children are accessing the computer and their internet usage.
There is more to Family Safety than just monitoring your child’s activity though, you can also set screen time limits for Windows 10 and Xbox One.
You can set content restrictions by specific apps, games and media as well as limit web browsing on certain websites even to the point where you can block inappropriate websites altogether.
In short, Microsoft Family Safety helps you secure your family online to the best of your ability.
Great, but how do I set up Family Safety?
The greatest challenge for most parents though is the very first step, how do I set up Microsoft Family Safety? We’re pleased to say that at the time of writing this guide, it is now less of a chore to set up than it used to be, we’re sure you’ll be pleased to hear.
Where we’ve produced a nice simple guide below that should help you get started. Please keep in mind as Microsoft continues to develop this system some areas of this guide may change, if you notice any changes please add a comment below and we will do our best to update this guide.
So let’s dive into this guide and you’ll be managing your kid’s safety online in a matter of minutes!
Step 1 – Set up your computers family accounts
The first step should take no more than 5 minutes to set up (10 mins max) for someone who has experience of using the internet.
The Windows 10 version of Family Safety is much improved over its predecessor as you can no manage all aspects of the program on your Microsoft Accounts page. Obviously, this means you will need internet access to configure your family settings, but then why would you need this guide if you didn’t have it already?
The benefits of an online setup are you can do this from your computer, tablet or mobile phone.
First, though you need to set up your Windows Accounts for each of the users you would like to manage. Note: If your child has their own Windows 10 device (laptop, PC or mobile device), ensure you create their account, or log in to their account if it is already created, on the device or devices they will be using.
To begin, in Windows 10 click Start > Settings > Accounts or simply hold Windows Key + I on the keyboard. Once you enter the settings page as seen in the image below, click the Accounts setting.
Now in the left-hand column menu select the Family & other users setting. You will see two sub-sections here Your family and Other users. As we are looking to set up security for a family member you need to click the option: Add a family member
The next screen you see will ask you to Add a member or Add an organiser.
Organisers are adults that can edit the family group and their safety settings, so again in this instance, we want to set up an account for a child so click the Add a member option.
NOTE: Every person you would like to set up on your Family Safety Group will need their own Microsoft account. To start that process click on the link Create an email address for a child, then simply create an appropriate email address and select from the available domain @outlook.com or @hotmail.com and click Next. If they already have a Microsoft account simply sign in to the account to add it to your Family Safety Group.
As with all email accounts you need to create a password, this is the next option you will be presented with. Use a suitably strong password, of course, it can be changed later.
Next, you are asked What’s your name? – this can be a little confusing as you’re being asked for your child’s name here. This becomes clear later when you see your family listed by name in the Microsoft Family Safety account online.
The same is true on the next screen where you are asked What’s your date of birth? you need to enter the date of birth of your child here. By setting an accurate date of birth for your child here Microsoft will suggest the age rating restrictions within your account automatically later.
Good to go!
If all has gone to plan you should then see the next screen which says you are Good to go! You should also receive an email on your organisers account confirming the addition of new family members to your Microsoft Family Safety account.
Excellent! That is all you need to do to set up an account for your child within your Family Safety account. Keep in mind if you don’t already have your own Microsoft account then you will need to create one first before adding your children’s accounts. You do this by following the same instructions above, apart from you need to create an Organisers account back when you were asked to Add a member or an organiser?
If you have more than one child you would like to add to your Family Safety account, then repeat the steps above until they are all visible when you log in to your Microsoft Family Safety account online.
When everyone has an account setup successfully, now you can proceed to manage each member.
To access the account management area you can either click here: Microsoft Family Safety or you can click Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & other users > Manage family settings online and you will be taken to Your Family account on the Microsoft website.
Step 2 – Manage Your Microsoft Family Safety Account
Now you have your family accounts setup on your computer and on the Microsoft Family Safety website you can begin customising the settings for each member of the family.
Log in to the Microsoft Family Safety and you should see a list of family members, something like this:
From this page, you can manage all of your family members individual settings. First, let’s look at the settings for one of the most common issues, how much screen time your children spend on their devices.
Click on the Screen Time link under the name of the family member you would like to set limits for, in this example, I’ll be setting screen time limits for my daughter.
One of the first things to note is that you can set screen time limits for more than just your Windows 10 computer. If you have an Xbox One linked to your account then you can also set these limits.
If you want to use the same screen time settings for all devices, then just switch on the Use one schedule for all devices button. If you prefer to set different schedules for separate devices then turn on or off the device you would like to set limits for as seen in the picture above.
In this example I’m going to set a time limit for my daughter on the Xbox One, so I’ll turn on the Xbox One switch and these are the options displayed:
In the default example above the “Max schedule” has been set, this means I would be allowing my daughter to use the Xbox One at any time, and for the full duration if she chooses to, between the hours of 8 am – 8 pm.
However, if I don’t want to use the default schedule I can select the row (relating to a specific day) and set a time limit for certain hours I would like to give her access to the Xbox One for each day.
In the following example I’ve decided on weekdays she can use the Xbox One during the hours of 4 pm – 8 pm only. On weekends she can have more time on the Xbox One, so I’ve set the limits of 10 am – 7 pm.
You can make your screen time schedules more complex if you wish. Using this type of schedule means your child has to take a break from the Xbox, which is also recommended by manufacturers of these devices.
In the following example, you can see I have set multiple blocks of time available throughout the weekend, whilst also including a number of healthy break sessions that can be used for exercise or lunch etc.
The examples above should give you a good idea of how to proceed with setting up Screen Time for your family members. Remember, you can set up the same or different schedules for Windows 10 computers linked to your account for each family member, just turn on the switch for Windows 10 and the schedule window will appear.
Congratulations! You know how to set up Microsoft Family Safety & Screen Time
If you’ve followed the instructions above and made good use of the screenshots provided the you should be well on your way to safeguarding your family members online using Microsoft Family Safety. Well done!
There are many other options available within your Family Safety account to help you secure your child’s online experience even further, so we’ve created a number of smaller guides on how to setup these features.
Simply click on the links below for the guide you would like to follow next:
- How to set up Activity restrictions in Microsoft Family Safety
- How to set up App and game limits in Microsoft Family Safety
- How to set up Content restrictions in Microsoft Family Safety
- How to set up Spending restrictions in Microsoft Family Safety
We hope you find these guides useful and it helps to protect your family online.
Please share this content with friends and family to help them secure their loved ones in this ever-changing modern world.
If you have any questions about this particular guide on how to set up a Microsoft Family Safety account, please leave a comment below and we will do our best to help answer your questions.