Windows 8 to have beefed up parental controls

The focus of the new, improved parental controls in Windows 8 will be more on monitoring than blocking, CNET Australia reports, aimed at encouraging what really keeps kids safe online: communication between parents and kids. Smart. Whether intended to be or not, they’re grounded in EU Kids Online’s research recommendations.

Using the Windows 8 operating system, expected to be released next fall, parents will log into their Microsoft account, then create separate sub-accounts for each child, checking the “Family Safety” box for each individual and choosing whether or not to receive weekly activity reports – and the reports are delivered to wherever a parents logs into their email. With them, “parents will be able to keep tabs on whether their kids are playing violent online video games, looking at bikini models or actually doing their homework. Parents will also be able to make sure their children aren’t associating with online predators,” although that’s very unlikely (see the research linked to in “Related links” below). Filtering will still be an option – it encompasses several options, actually (see illustration). Windows 8 parental controls will include:

* SafeSearch will be locked in for kids – that means the “Strict” filtering setting not just in Bing, but Google and Yahoo too, CNET says
* Timeouts – in addition to computer curfews (for bedtime), parents will be able to limit computer time to, for example, “one hour on school nights and two hours on weekend days.
* Windows Store reports – showing the latest downloads from Windows
* Application and game blocking – parents will be able to block specific products or set an appropriate game rating level, and even set a rating level for apps and games kids can see in the Store.

Related links

* “There was no evidence that online predators were stalking or abducting unsuspecting victims based on information they posted at social networking sites,” the Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC) at the University of New Hampshire reported in a major update in 2009. The authors also wrote that “the nature of crimes in which online predators used the Internet to meet and victimize youth changed little between 2000 and 2006, despite the advent of social networking sites,” and going even further, USATODAY cited the view of CCRC director David Finkelhor that “ongoing studies show that being on a social networking site doesn’t create risk for sexual victimization.” In a 2009 major update of “Internet predators” from the
* More recent posts: “Declines in 2 online risks for youth”; “Continuing decline in child sexual abuse”; and “Youth online risk: Accurate reporting”
* For context: Last year’s “3 new products for monitoring online kids”

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