Parents using Windows 8 can switch on Family Safety, which is a great improvement over the controls offered by Windows 7.
On a shared computer, and especially one used by children, it’s important for everyone to have their own user account and login. This offers greater control for you over what your children can do, it separates them from anything potentially unsuitable that’s on your account and also prevents them from accidentally damaging anything of yours.
1. To turn on Family Safety, or change any user account, move your mouse to the bottom left of the screen, right click and then choose Control Panel. (Alternatively you can search for Control Panel on the Start menu.)
2. Select User Accounts and Family Safety, then Set up Family Safety for any user.
3. Choose the user you would like to set up Family Safety for. If you haven’t yet set up a user account for your child, you can also do so here.
4. To turn on Family Safety, select On, enforce current settings. You can also choose whether you’d like to monitor the activity of your child on the computer by either selecting On, collect information about PC usage or Off.
5. Family Safety also allows Web filtering, which can be used to block certain sites and even prevent the downloading of any type of files. Selecting this option also causes SafeSearch to kick in which acts as a filter against adult content on Google, Yahoo and Bing.
6. As with Windows 7, you can what times your child can access the computer, though Windows 8 also allows you to set a total amount of usage time per day in addition to the previous time bands. When this amount of computer use has been exceeded the child will be logged off.
7. You can also choose which games and Windows Store apps that your child uses here, blocking them by rating or name.
8. You can also choose to allow your child to use all apps on your computer, or just ones you have specifically allowed.
You will need to decide what settings are appropriate for your child, depending on their age and the suitability of each game or app.
Find instructions for setting parental controls for other operating systems here.