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Setting Parental Controls in Windows 7

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Katherine Murray, author of My Windows 7 PC, shows you how to set up parental controls for kids of all ages on your Windows 7 PC.
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How do we keep our kids safe online? It’s an important question, and one that we need to stay on top of as online technology grows and changes and connects all kinds of separate accounts—maybe without our knowledge.

Case in point: In February 2012, a story broke on a tech blog about a writer who received a quick instant message from what sounded like a young person, making fun of his name. He tapped the red pin icon beside the sender’s name and was able, within just a few taps, to find out the person’s full name and location. With just a little surfing, the writer discovered that the sender was the young son of one of his friends on Facebook, and he promptly contacted the dad. So even a playful instant message can lead your child into sharing information that it’s important to protect in order to keep him safe!

With Windows 7, you can use a variety of parental controls to set parameters for the ways in which your kids spend time online. To learn more about setting parental controls, we need to begin in the Control Panel.

Preparing Your Accounts

The first thing you need to do if you want to set up parental controls in Windows 7 is set up your account as an administrator, and make sure that each child has his or her own user account on your computer. To change your user account settings, click Start and type user accounts in the Search box at the bottom of the Start menu.

In the User Accounts window (see Figure 1), click Change Your Account Type. This displays the Select Your New Account Type window. Click the radio button to the right of the Administrator setting and click the Change Your Account Type button to finalize the change.

Figure 1 Begin by setting yourself up as an administrator on your computer.

Back in the User Account window, click the Create a Password for Your Account link. On the next screen, type a password for your computer (choose something your kids won’t guess) and then retype it. You can also add a hint for yourself, just in case you have trouble remembering it later. Click Create Password to save your entry.

Create Accounts for Your Kids

Next, you need to set up individual user accounts for each child who will be using your computer. You can do this easily by clicking the Manage Another Account link in the User Accounts window. This displays all the accounts currently available on your computer (see Figure 2).

Figure 2 Add a new user account for each child who will be using your computer.

Click Create a New Account and, on the Name the Account and Choose an Account Type window, type a name for the account. Leave Standard User selected as the account type, and click Create Account. This adds the new account to the list displayed in the Manage Accounts window. Now you are ready to set parental controls.

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