Home > Articles > Operating Systems, Server > Microsoft Windows Desktop

Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Controlling Game Choices / Allowing and Blocking Programs

Controlling Game Choices

Deciding when your kids are mature enough to play different types of games requires a lot of thought, and in my family, this was one of the big bones of contention when my sons were pre-teens. (“Why can’t we play Duke Nukem?! Everybody else does!”)

Using Windows 7 Game controls, you can decide which games are okay and which aren’t—and you can set things up so that when your child tries to play a blocked game, she gets a message showing the game rating and giving her the option of emailing you and asking you to lift the moratorium on that game—which, at some point, will be a reasonable request.

In the User Controls window, click Games in the Windows Settings. The first window that appears enables you to choose whether the user can play games at all (the default value is set to Yes). You can also choose the game ratings you want to allow this child to play, and you can give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to specific games on your computer.

Click Set Game Ratings to display the Game Restrictions window (see Figure 5). Here you can choose whether you want to allow your child to play games that have no rating at all, and indicate which level of game you’re comfortable with her playing. Click your choice, and Windows 7 highlights the allowable game levels.

Figure 5 You can determine which game level you want your child to play, and block specific content items in allowed games.

Scroll down in the Game Restrictions window to display specific types of content you can block within the game level you’ve allowed. There are literally dozens of content items on this list, ranging from “Use of Tobacco” to “Strong Sexual Content,” so click the items that you most want to spare your child from seeing. Chances are good that if you choose any of the first three game levels, most of these items won’t be an issue in the games your child is allowed to play.

When you’re happy with the Game Restrictions you’ve set, click OK to save the settings. This takes you back to the Game Controls window, where you can click Block or Allow Specific Games if you have games installed on your computer that you don’t want your child to be able to play.

Clicking Block or Allow Specific Games displays the Game Overrides window, where you can choose whether you want the User Rating you’ve already set (in the Game Restrictions area) to determine whether your child is allowed to play the game, or you want to choose Always Allow or Always Block. Click the radio button that reflects your choice, and click OK to save the changes. Back in the Game Controls window, click OK to save all your settings and return to the User Controls window.

Allowing and Blocking Programs

Finally, you may have programs on your computer that you’d rather your kids not use. For example, you may not want your teenager looking around in your financial management program or make it possible for your five-year-old to accidentally delete the database you’ve been creating.

In the User Controls window, you can click Allow or Block Specific Programs to set controls on which programs your kids can—and can’t—access on your computer.

The first window that appears after you click the link asks a simple question: Which programs can this person use? By default, All Programs is selected, but click the second option to start the process of choosing the programs you want to allow. After you click the second option, Windows 7 searches your computer and displays a list of all your applications (see Figure 6). You can then go down the exhaustive list and click the programs you want to give your child access to. When you’re finished clicking your choices, click OK to save your settings.

Figure 6 You can choose which programs you want your child to have access to on your computer.

If a specific program you’re looking for doesn’t appear on the list, you can click Browse to display the Open dialog box. Navigate to the program on your computer, click the program file, and click Open to add it to the list. You can then click the checkbox of the program if you want to add it to your child’s allowable programs list, or leave it blank if you want to block access.

After you’ve chosen the programs you want to allow, click OK to save your changes and the User Controls window appears. The Parental Controls you’ve set for this child’s account appear in the right side of the window. You can change these settings at any time by returning to the User Controls window for this account and clicking the link you want to change.

Final Thoughts

Even though it’s a natural part of childhood to not want to be controlled, and it’s a natural part of parenting to worry about our children’s safety online and off, Windows 7 parental controls can give you a fairly happy middle ground that you can change as your kids mature. While your kids are small, you can set firm limits around the time they spend on the computer and the types of things they can do (and which levels of games they can play). As they get older, hopefully their good choices will show that you can turn the controls over—gradually, little by little—to their safekeeping, confident that they’ll make good choices of their own, given the chance.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020