Security Windows

Check Out The New Windows 10 Parental Control Options

Gavin Phillips 21-09-2015

Windows 10 brought a massive raft of new security options with it, and many people have been bamboozled by the 13 pages of settings. We’ve also seen a number of privacy issues erupt Windows 10 Is Watching: Should You Be Worried? Since its release, Windows 10 has been dogged by rumors concerning user privacy. Some of these are accurate, whereas others are myths. But where does Windows 10 stand on privacy, really? Read More as consumers realize Microsoft is never far from your data Is Microsoft Gathering Data From You in Windows 7 and 8? You haven't upgraded to Windows 10 because you're worried about privacy? Microsoft has released a series of updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 that introduce similar diagnostics tracking. The good news is, you can remove... Read More and, even with privacy-breaching settings turned off, Windows 10 likes to touch base Everything You Need to Know About Windows 10's Privacy Issues While Windows 10 has some issues that users need to be aware of, many claims have been blown out of proportion. Here's our guide to everything you need to know about Windows 10's privacy issues. Read More with Redmond all the same.


Now we have seen instances of parents receiving emails regarding their children’s computer usage, offering details of where they’ve been, what software they’ve been using, and exactly what they’ve been clicking. Some parents are horrified, some don’t understand 7 Things My Kids Do Online That I Just Don't Get I have two teenage daughters, and the things they do online make no sense to me. Read More , whilst others welcome the chance to keep a watchful eye on little Timmy.

Let’s look at the settings, and how to use them to secure your computer.

Changes to Parental Controls

Windows 10 10 Compelling Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 Windows 10 is coming on July 29. Is it worth upgrading for free? If you are looking forward to Cortana, state of the art gaming, or better support for hybrid devices - yes, definitely! And... Read More , like predecessor Windows 8.1, allows for the creation of child accounts. The child accounts can have a number of limitations imposed upon them: software access, website access, context-menus, and more can all be limited.

Parental Settings

Unsurprisingly, this is a welcome feature for many parents worried about what their children might access when left to their own devices. However, following the switch to Windows 10 many parents are realizing that the new operating system is monitoring more than they thought, and one of the central features of the child account-the activity email-is now opt out, rather than opt-in.Digital Life Window


Child Account Activity Reports

The activity report is a weekly direct email to the primary Windows 10 account holder. It sends a list of websites visited, how many hours per day the computer has been used, and the length of time spent in particular apps. Boing Boing reader, Kirk, received a surprise after upgrading his 14-year old son’s laptop from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10:

“Today I got a creepy-ass email from Microsoft titled ‘Weekly activity report for [my kid]’, including which websites he’s visited, how many hours per day he’s used it, and how many minutes he used each of his favorite apps.

I don’t want this. I have no desire to spy on my boy. I fixed it by going into my Microsoft account’s website, hitting the “Family” section, then turning off “Email weekly reports to me” and “Activity reporting.”

Unexpected, unwanted. But an email notification likely to be appearing in countless parents inboxes following their upgrade and consequent setup of a restrictive child account.

Whilst the email activity should undoubtedly be an opt-in service, the email may well expose important information for both children and parents. Children on the receiving end of cyber-bullying may find some unexpected respite if their parents realize the extent of the abuse.


Others struggling with identity or sexuality issues may find a new pathway to conversation where there was previously none. Similarly, parents may pick up on the opening signs or progression of grooming tactics and be able to stop any malicious advances before any serious event.

Ultimately, it is up to any parent to talk to their child and discuss safe Internet practices. In our digitized world, exposure to the Internet begins earlier and earlier, and as with most other parent/child issues the sharing of knowledge 5 Online Security Threats That You Need to Tell Your Friends About You'd be surprised to discover where all malware is lingering today. It's no longer just average computers, but more likely anything with some sort of connected device, including toys. Read More and building of trust around the subject is often the best answer.

Managing Windows 10 Parental Controls

If you manage a child account for your small person and would like to opt-out of the activity email, I’ll show you how, right here, right now, as well as how to setup the initial child account.

First, setting up the child account. Head to Settings> Accounts> Family & Other Users. Here you can Add a family member, as highlighted in the below image. This will open a new dialogue box allowing you to choose either an Adult or Child account. Select Add a child.


Windows 10 Family Account

The final box asks for an email address for the child (which we find odd). If they have an email address, you can add that, create a new email address for them, or add your own. Press Next, then Confirm on the next page. You’ll then need to confirm the invited email address to enable the family settings. Do that, and we’ll continue.

Once confirmed, you’ll be able to edit the child account security and privacy settings. Head to Settings> Accounts> Family & Other Users, where you’ll note the additional option to Manage family settings online. On selection, a new browser window will open, and you’ll be able to edit the numerous settings:

Microsoft says anyone upgrading from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 How to Upgrade to Windows 10 & Take Settings and Apps with You Windows 10 is coming and you have a choice to make. Either you upgrade your existing Windows installation, or you can install Windows 10 from scratch. We show you how to migrate to Windows 10... Read More to Windows 10 with active child accounts should receive a notification to commence a family audit following installation. Microsoft have also confirmed that the upgrade does wipe your existing family privacy and safety settings, so if you are worried it is probably best to check over and implement any new settings. And, if you read this article ahead of time, make sure to note down any screen time settings to copy over!


Little Differences

The major change to the child accounts are their configuration. Previously, you could allot individual local accounts to your children, and manage the privacy settings individually. But many new Microsoft features 6 Windows 10 Features You May Have Missed Windows 10 is chock full of new stuff. We help you discover some of the less obvious features and options that are easily missed. Read More  such as the consolidated wallet require an official Microsoft account, so local accounts are out of the window.

Join Family

One major advantage to this new setup is the universal application of the child account through your Windows 10 computers. The privacy settings will also follow them around, but it does mean creating each of your children a new account, and creating new settings.

Parental Control Roundup

The opt-out nature of the weekly activity email isn’t ideal for many parents, or indeed their children, but I’m not sure it is the absolutely horrific privacy blunder many have insinuated. It does raise another question though. Are we okay with a digitized society where we have to hammer into our children that someone, somewhere, is always watching?

Were you startled to receive an email? Or do you use it to keep a watchful eye? Let us know what you think below!

Related topics: Online Privacy, Parental Control, Parenting and Technology, Windows 10.

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  1. Ryan
    February 11, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    I like how you gracefully characterized that 'the sky is falling' millenialist GLBT tweet. Well Done!

    Love the Opt-Out email Update!
    The internet is a literal minefield for children. Sucking up time, ambition, hope, motivation, self image... etc.

    I am of the opinion that most parents wouldn't think it necessary to enable the email notification. Perhaps once they see the well thought out execution of this feature they may see it as a boon to help them protect the innocence and conscience of their child in order to teach them slowly to to protect themselves.

  2. Anonymous
    November 10, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks for post!
    The other idea is to use a special parental control program :).
    If your child has admin rights on PC...
    There are loads of them in the net, so you are free to chose, depending on the age of a child
    or on the seriousness of control, eg K9 or Time Boss Pro ...
    Additionally you get remote access to kids PC, forced breaks,
    limitation internet sites by time and others

    • Gavin Phillips
      November 10, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks for the suggestions, Tim. Luckily mine aren't that old yet, but slowly getting there. All worth keeping in mind for when it happens. Thanks for reading!

  3. Anonymous
    September 22, 2015 at 4:55 am

    Thanks! Privacy is oftentimes misused for secrecy - it sounds so much more... genuine. Hopefully little Timmy will trust his parents so as not to keep secrets from them and his parents will keep an eye out for little Timmy in love so he doesn't start researching WMD's after a bad day at kindergarten. One can dream...

    • Gavin Phillips
      November 10, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      "Dammit Timmy stop researching WMDs on TOR, I thought I'd told you about that before! Use Windows 10 so we can see which ones you're thinking about..."