The new Parental Controls in Windows Vista will allow you to filter the content your children can view on the web. You could, for instance, block your kids from using MySpace or other similar sites. Before you set this up, you should make sure your child has a non-administrator account so they can’t immediately reverse the changes.
Start by opening the Control Panel and select “Set up parental controls for any user” under the “User Accounts and Family Safety” heading.
You could also just type “Parental Controls” into the start menu search box to get there…
Now you should see a list of accounts, so click on your child’s account on the list. We’ll use Johnny as the child in this example.
Now you will see a screen with a whole bunch of options that we will discuss in future articles. Today we’re just trying to filter the web sites.
Under “Parental Controls”, click the radio button for “On” to turn on the parental controls. Now click on the “Windows Vista Web Filter” to take us to the next screen.
Now you’ll want to check the “Block some websites or content” radio button, and now you have a choice… You can check the box for “Only allow websites which are on the allow list”, which means you’ll have to add each site you are ok with to the list of allowed sites. We’ll choose that for this example.
Click the link for “Edit the Allow and block list” to take us to the next screen, which will allow us to specifically block or allow certain sites.
Enter in the website address of the sites you want to block or allow, and then click the Allow or Block button accordingly. Note that if you checked the “Only allow websites which are on the allow list” that you don’t have to add anything to the blocked list, as everything will be blocked by default.
Now when “Johnny” tries to go to MySpace.com he is greeted with the Parental Control screen.
Editor’s note: Don’t use these features as a substitute for watching what your kids are doing… kids are smart, and could find a way to get around these filters by installing another browser or using one of the many open proxies on the internet.
Programmer by day, geek by night, The Geek, also known as Lowell Heddings, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 07/15/07