Family Safety can be enabled on any account, generating cloud-accessible weekly activity reports.

Microsoft unveils Windows 8 parental control features

Microsoft revealed new Family Safety features included with the upcoming Windows 8, adding to the new operating system’s multi-user account system.

"Computers give children access to many positive experiences; however, parents face challenges in monitoring what their children see online, the people they meet, and the information they share," said Microsoft’s Family Safety manager Phil Sohn on the Building Windows 8 blog.

Sohn revealed that parents just need to tick a Family Safety checkbox when setting up accounts for their children. This will then generate weekly reports that describe the PC use for that account.

The activity report graphs time used, website domains visited and web search terms entered. Parents have the ability to restrict activity from the activity report. The report is also interactive from any location using settings saved to Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure.

The unveil comes at a time when the subject of web filtering is a hot topic in Britain with the conservative government and elements of the tabloid press calling for a mandatory ‘opt in’ (to adult content) approach. Eg. blocking by default.

In addition to a load of web filtering levels and search filtering, Windows 8’s Family Safety can even restrict the times that the PC can be used and even per-application, particularly games.

"We think the simplicity and power of the “monitor first” approach in Microsoft Family Safety addresses either style effectively and will lead to more family conversations about online safety, a safer computing experience for kids, and increased peace of mind for parents," said Sohn.

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