If you share a laptop or desktop computer with other members of your family, you can create different accounts for each person on Windows 11. This way, you can set up Windows 11 for your children so they can have their own space that’s more secure and where they can browse the internet, use apps, and play games with greater safety.
Parental control in Windows 11 is a feature that allows parents or guardians to monitor and restrict their children’s access to certain content, apps, games, and websites on their Windows devices. It helps to protect children from online dangers and prevent them from accessing inappropriate content. This feature enables parents to create a child account, set usage limits, and monitor activity on the child’s account.
In this tutorial for Windows 11, we will take you through the process of creating a child account and controlling its parental settings.
Parental Control Features in Windows 11
When a child signs into their account, they will only be able to access certain things on the internet, like games and apps. This is because there are rules in place that make sure they can only see things that are okay for their age. You can also change these rules as per your preference.
Windows 11 provides several features for parental controls, which allow parents to set limits on their children’s computer usage and ensure a safer online experience. The following are the main options for parental controls in Windows 11:
Family Safety: It’s a built-in feature in Windows 11 that lets you set up screen time limits, filter content, and monitor online activity.
Microsoft Store: You can use the Microsoft Store to download and install kid-friendly apps and games, as well as set age restrictions for app purchases.
User Accounts: You can set up separate user accounts for your children and limit their access to certain apps and features.
Microsoft Edge: Microsoft Edge has a ‘Microsoft Defender SmartScreen’ feature that can help protect children from harmful websites and phishing scams.
Microsoft Account: By linking your child’s account to your Microsoft account, you can set up family settings, such as app and game restrictions, from any device.
Note: It’s important to regularly monitor and update the parental controls to make sure they remain effective.
Create A Microsoft Account For Your Kid on Windows 11
Before creating a Microsoft account for your child, you must have a personal Microsoft account and your device must be signed in to that account. To set up parental controls in Windows 11, you will need two accounts – one for the parent and a separate account for your child.
In order for the parental controls to take effect, your child must use the Windows 11 account that you made for them to log in. If you stay logged in to your own account, your child will be able to use Windows 11 without any restrictions.
To create a Microsoft Account for a child in Windows 11, follow these steps:
First, click on the Start button, and select the ‘Setting’ icon to open the Settings app.
In the Windows Settings, select ‘Accounts’ on the left and then click on ‘Family’ or ‘Family & other people’ on the right.
This will bring up the ‘Family’ settings screen. If you haven’t signed into your Microsoft account using this device, click the ‘Sign in’ button and sign in with your account.
After signing into your Microsoft account, click the ‘Add someone’ or ‘Add account’ (for older builds) under the Family section. This will start the process of adding an account for a new family member.
A dialog window called Microsft Account will open up. Here, click the ‘Create one for a child’ option.
Enter an email address for your child, then choose an email service (outlook.com or hotmail.com). After that, click ‘Next’ to continue.
Then, create a password for the email account and click ‘Next’.
On the next page, enter the first name and last name of your child, then click ‘Next’.
Finally, select your country/region and confirm your child’s date of birth. Then, click ‘Next’.
Confirm the newly created email account in the message and click ‘Close’.
Now, on the Family settings page, you will see the created account. After creating or adding the account, you can change the account type to an administrator.
To complete the setup of the child account, log out or lock your account and click on the new child account. At first, it will show as an email address. Then, click ‘Sign-in’.
After that, enter your password and click ‘Sign-in’. Next, choose the privacy settings for the new account by switching on or off the toggle switch for each option, and click ‘Next’. The next time your child logs in, the account will display their name and they will be able to access the desktop directly after signing in.
Add a Child Family Member
If your child already has a Microsoft Account, you can add them directly to your family group. Open Windows Settings, go to ‘Accounts’ and then ‘Family’.
Under the Family settings, click the ‘Add someone’ button.
Enter your child’s email address and click ‘Next’.
Assuming you want to add your child to the group, select the ‘Member’ option and click ‘Invite’.
Upon finishing the above steps, the person will receive an invitation in their email. Now, they can sign into the Windows device with their email account. But to manage family settings, they need to accept the invitation. Ask your child to log in to their email and click the ‘Accept Invitation’ button in the email.
And then click the ‘Join now’ button on their Microsoft account website.
On the Welcome screen, they need to click ‘Next’ to continue.
Next, they need to select a device they want to connect and click ‘Add device now’ to enable Family Safety features.
Finally, they should click the ‘I’ve added my device’ button.
You can also accept the invitation on their behalf by clicking the ‘Accept now’ button below their profile on the Family Safety dashboard.
Then, click the ‘Accept now’ button on the prompt. This logs out of your account and shows you the login page. You can then log in to your child’s account with their credentials and accept the invitation in the mail.
Add An Adult Family Member/Organizer
To have your spouse, significant other, or another adult in the household co-manage access with you, you can add an account for an adult. You can also add a child or adult account to the Family Group using Windows settings, the Microsoft Family Safety app, or the Microsoft Family Safety website.
To add people to your family group, open Windows settings and go to Accounts > Family. On the Family settings page, click the ‘Open Family app’ button.
Alternatively, you can visit the Microsoft Family Safety website and click the ‘Sign in to Microsoft Family Safety’. Then, log into the account with your Microsoft login credentials.
In the Family Safety app, click the ‘Add a family member’ button to add a person to your group.
Next, enter the email address in the prompt box and click ‘Next’.
After that, choose what role should the person have. If you are adding an adult to co-manage the group, select ‘Organizer’, and click ‘Next’ to send an invite to the user.
Then, they need to accept the invitation and join the group. The organizer can edit family members and safety settings. They can also view members’ activities, set content filters and screen time limits, locate members on a map, and manage purchase requests.
Remove a Family Member (Child) from the Group
If you want to remove a family member from the group, you have to do it from the Family Safety app or website, you cannot do it from the Windows settings. Here’s how you do this:
Log in to your Family Safety account. Here, you’ll see every account connected to your Microsoft account. Then click the three dots button at the upper-right corner of the person you want to remove and click ‘Remove from family group’.
Then, click ‘Remove’ on the prompt window.
Configure Parental Controls On Windows 11
After creating your child’s account, you can now set up parental controls as per your preference. With the ability to restrict access to specific websites and applications, set limits on screen time, and receive weekly reports on user activity, you have more control over your children’s digital habits.
When you have several children, you also have the option of creating a shared account or individual accounts for each child. You can then customize the parental controls and screen time restrictions for each child based on their needs. If you opt for separate accounts, you can access and manage the settings for each child through the steps outlined below, even though only one child account is shown as an example.
First, launch the Family app on your PC or visit Microsoft’s Family Safety website and log in to your account (organizer) to access family settings. We recommend using Microsoft Edge for managing the Family Safety account as it works well in activity tracking and Microsoft Edge also has a kids mode that enables child-friendly browsing.
Once you login into your Family Safety page, you can see all the accounts connected to your family group.
To configure and manage the parental control settings, simply click on your child’s profile.
On the Overview page, you can view a summary of both the settings and your child’s activity. To make more detailed adjustments, you can utilize the left-side menu. We will see how to set up and use each setting and feature one by one.
Limit Usage Hours and Screen Time
The screen time limit is an excellent way to maintain a healthy balance of online activity among your family members. This feature enables you to keep track of your child’s overall screen time on their connected Windows, mobile devices, and Xbox. It also lets you control when and for how long your child can use their devices, specific apps, and games.
Screen time is an excellent way to set restrictions if you feel your child is spending too much time on games or other activities. To limit the time a child spends on the computer, follow these steps:
Under the kid’s Overview page, click on the ‘Screen time’ tab from the left navigation pane or click on the ‘Screen time’ tile on the right.
On the Screen Time page, scroll down to the Devices section and turn on the ‘Use one schedule on all devices’ toggle to set the screen time limit for all the devices.
If you want to establish screen time limits for each device separately, ensure that the ‘Use one schedule on all devices’ toggle is disabled. Then, navigate to the preferred device and click the ‘Turn Limits on’ button.
By default, the time limit is set to 15 hours from 7 am to 10 pm every day. But you can change that by clicking the day you want to set the screen time for.
Once you click the day, a new dialog window (Edit time limit) will appear. Here, use the drop-down menu to choose which days to set the limits on the device. Choose the ‘Every day’ option if you want to set the same settings for all the days of the week.
Then, use the slider to specify the hours your child should be able to use the device.
After that, you can set a schedule during which time they can use screen time.
If you want to set multiple scheduled time periods, select the ‘Add a schedule’ button and adjust the time using the drop-down menu.
If you prefer not to set a specific time, you can click the ‘Delete’ button. This will allow your child to use the device at any time during the day, but for a limited period. Once you are finished, click ‘Done’.
To limit your child’s app and game usage, switch to the ‘Apps and Games’ tab on the Screen page.
If you think your child is spending too much time on a particular app or game, you can set a time limit for that app or game. To do that, click on the app name under ‘Installed apps and games’.
Then, scroll down the app page and click the ‘Set a limit’ button.
Then use the slider and drop-down menus to set a time limit for when and/or how long this child can use this particular app.
If you want to block the app altogether, select the ‘Block app’ button. To ensure they don’t use the related website on the browser outside their time limit, you can block the app by checking the box under the ‘Block related websites’ section.
Use Parental Control to Filter Content
It’s crucial to filter out any inappropriate content, whether your child is browsing the internet or playing games. Microsoft Family Safety offers a vital feature in safeguarding your child from viewing unsuitable content while online. Within the Content Filters feature, you have the ability to limit your child’s access to certain websites and applications.
By activating filters for unsuitable websites and searches or allowing access exclusively to approved websites, you can ensure that your children are protected while browsing the internet. You can also establish content filters for applications and games based on age.
Here’s how you can enable filters for websites, searches, applications, and games.
Web And Search:
On the Overview page of your child’s profile, click on the ‘Content Filters’ option in the left sidebar or select the ‘Web and search’ tile on the right.
Under the Web and searches tab of the Content filters, you can see the list of searches and the list of websites that are visited and blocked.
Scroll down to find the Filter Settings section and turn on the toggle for ‘Filter inappropriate websites and searches’ if it’s not already on.
To filter websites, Microsoft Edge is required as the web browser. It enables you to either block or allow specific websites, along with activating SafeSearch in Bing.
Note: Family Safety web and search filters only work with Microsoft Edge. When turned on, this option will block other browsers from opening and only allow Microsoft Edge. If you want to permit your child to use other browsers, you can unblock browsers in the App and game filters. If you are using other browsers, you need their own software for parental control.
Use the ‘Allowed websites’ and ‘Blocked websites’ sections to include any websites that you specifically want to permit or restrict.
Type the website in the ‘Add a website’ option present under Blocked sites and click the (+) button to block access to particular websites. Similarly, type the website in the ‘Add a website’ present under Allowed sites to add websites that you want to allow on the child account.
To remove an added website, click the ‘X Remove’ button.
If you want to block a website from the visited websites list, click the three dots button, and select ‘Block site’. To flag a site as inappropriate, select the ‘Report inappropriate site’ option.
In case you want to block every website and limit access to only the websites in the ‘Allowed sites’ list, turn on the toggle for ‘Only use allowed websites’.
A new AI-based feature called ‘Always allow educational websites’ has been introduced by Family Safety. This allows families to easily enable their children to access thousands of educational sites by simply toggling the feature on. After enabling the ‘Only use allowed websites’ feature, this setting will be available. Turn on the ‘Always allow educational websites’ setting to allow access to a list of educational websites.
The list is generated by AI, but you can still control which educational websites are blocked, based on your family’s specific requirements.
If there are any educational websites that you don’t want your child to see, you can add them to the Blocked sites list. If there are any educational sites that you deem worthy, add them to the ‘Allowed sites’ list.
Apps and games:
The content filter feature also lets you control the apps and games your kids can run or play. Similar to setting restrictions on websites, it’s also advisable to establish age limitations for your child in order to filter out any inappropriate applications and games.
To achieve this, navigate to the ‘Apps and games’ tab and utilize the drop-down menu to specify an appropriate age restriction.
In the case that your child attempts to install an app or game that exceeds the age rating, they will require your authorization and you will receive a notification. Click the bell icon to check the notifications.
Then, click the ‘Allow for the next’ option and choose a time limit for the app. If you approve the app, it will be added to the list of allowed apps on this page.
Additionally, you have the ability to specifically allow or block individual apps. If an app has been automatically blocked, you can permit it by selecting the ‘Remove’ option.
Once you have set up the content filters, you can monitor and manage your child’s online activity through the Microsoft Family Safety dashboard, where you can view reports on their internet usage, set time limits, and even receive alerts if they attempt to access blocked content.
Control Your Child’s Spending
The Spending tab allows you to set spending limits for your kids when purchasing items from the Microsoft or Xbox store. You can either add money to your kid’s Microsoft account to give them the freedom to purchase independently or add a credit card that requires approval before each purchase.
To set spending limits for your child, add money, or prevent them from purchasing apps, click the ‘Spending’ tab on the left sidebar.
To add money to their Microsoft account so they can shop on their own at the Microsoft or Xbox store within limits, click the ‘Add money’ button.
Then, specify the amount of money to add and click ‘Next’. After that choose a payment method and complete the transaction. Keep in mind, this money is non-refundable.
If you want to add a credit card that requires approval before each purchase, sign in to your child’s Microsoft account on microsoft.com. Then, click the profile icon and select ‘My Microsoft account’.
In the menu bar, click ‘Payment & billing’ and select ‘Payment options’.
Next, click the ‘Add a new payment method’ button, enter your credit card information, and click save.
After that, go back to the Spending tab on the Family Safety website or Family Safety app. If you want to authorize any purchases in the Microsoft Store or Xbox, make sure that the ‘Spending notifications’ toggle is turned On.
By default, Microsoft Safety prevents children from purchasing apps and games above their age limit. To make purchases above the age limit, click the ‘Edit’ button and change the age limit on the Apps and games page. You can also view your child’s spending history at the bottom of the Spending page.
Set up Gaming Boundaries for Xbox
Xbox Online Gaming in Microsoft Family Safety is a feature that allows parents to manage and monitor their children’s online gaming activities on Xbox consoles. If you own an Xbox console and your child uses it, you can manage their gaming activities on Xbox consoles including setting screen time limits, setting the age rating for games, choosing the games they can play, and selecting the people can they communicate with.
To set up Xbox Online Gaming in Microsoft Family Safety, click the ‘Review Xbox settings’ option under Xbox online gaming section on the Overview page. Then log in to your child’s Microsoft account and go to the Microsoft Family Safety website.
Once logged in, go to the ‘Privacy’ tab and choose from one of the three options for each privacy setting: ‘Allow’, ‘Friends only’, or ‘Block’.
- Allow means your child can play online games and communicate with anyone.
- Friends means your child can only play online games and communicate with people on their friend list.
- Block means your child cannot play online games or communicate with anyone.
Then, switch to the ‘Xbox One/Windows 10 Online Safety’ tab and choose the preferred option for each setting.
Finally, click the ‘Submit’ button at the bottom to save the setting.
By using Xbox Online Gaming in Microsoft Family Safety, parents can help ensure that their children have a safe and enjoyable gaming experience on Xbox consoles.
View Your Child’s Recent Activities
With Microsoft Family Safety, you can monitor your child’s usage of apps and games, spending, Xbox online gaming, screen time, and web browsing across all their devices that use Microsoft Edge. This includes devices running on Windows 11/10, Xbox, and Android, and allows you to view their activity data.
To enable and view the family member’s recent activities, follow these steps:
Sign in to your Family Safety website and open your child’s profile page. Then, click on the ‘Overview’ tab from the left navigation pane and scroll down to the Activity settings section.
To collect and display activities from all your child’s devices, turn on the ‘Activity reporting’ toggle.
Additionally, to get a full weekly report delivered to your email and other organizers’ emails, enable the ‘Send a weekly email to me’ option.
Then, to get the weekly activities report here in the Family Safety app or website, click the drop-down menu under the account’s name and choose a week.
Next, on the Overview page, you can see the websites they’ve been visiting, the apps and games they have been downloading and playing, the money they spent, and the amount of time they have spent on their devices and apps.
The Family Safety account allows you to add a maximum of 6 individuals to your family group. Upon their acceptance of your invitations, you have the ability to establish screen time limits and activate features such as web filtering and activity reporting. If you subscribe to the paid version of the app, you can also monitor their location and driving behavior. The restrictions imposed on each member can be viewed on your account’s dashboard.
Use ‘Kids Mode’ on Microsoft Edge
Children may accidentally access web pages that contain inappropriate content while browsing the internet, which is why their online activity should be monitored or supervised. Family Safety controls in web browsers allow parents to set age-appropriate defaults and protect their children while browsing the web. Microsoft Edge’s Kids Mode comes with safety features in place to help parents monitor and control their children’s internet access.
What is Kids Mode in Edge?
Microsoft Edge offers Kids Mode, a browsing mode specifically designed for children that provides a safe and convenient online experience. With a range of kid-friendly features and strict safety measures in place, Kids Mode is an ideal space for children to explore the web without any worries. It comes with customized browser themes, child-appropriate content, an allow list for browsing, strict Bing SafeSearch settings, and a password requirement for exiting the mode. And, there’s no need to create a separate child account or profile to access Kids Mode.
By default, Kids Mode in Microsoft Edge runs in fullscreen mode, and to disable it and return to normal browsing, you will need to enter your computer password or PIN. This ensures that children cannot leave the browser without permission and prevents them from accessing content outside of the Kids Mode environment.
Enabling Kids Mode in Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge version 90 and above comes with the option of Kids Mode. The process is simple and straightforward, making it easy for parents to quickly set up and manage Kids Mode for their children’s safe browsing experience.
To enable Kids Mode, simply click on the Profile switcher icon located on the right side of the address bar in Microsoft Edge. There, you will find a ‘Browse in Kids Mode’ button that you can click to activate the Kids Mode. When you launch Kids Mode for the first time, a brief explanation of the feature will appear, and you can click ‘OK’ to proceed.
You don’t need to be signed in to your browser to enable Kids Mode, but signing in provides the added benefit of syncing Kids Mode settings across your devices.
Kids Mode is designed for children aged between 5 and 12 years old. When you activate Kids Mode for the first time, you will be asked to specify your child’s age, which slightly modifies the appearance of the application.
Here, choose the age group for your child to launch Kids Mode in.
Selecting the 5-8 years age range in Kids Mode will result in a browser with fewer icons while choosing the 9-12 years age range will add a selection of age-appropriate news articles to the browser’s homepage.
Change the Kids Mode Theme
After enabling Kids Mode, you can customize its appearance using a variety of custom themes. It’s important to note that any theme changes made in Kids Mode will not affect the theme of your regular browsing sessions.
To change the theme and background inside kids mode, click on the ‘Colors and background’ button at the top-right corner of the browser window (on the homepage).
Then, choose one of the themes and click on ‘Done’ to apply it.
Allow or Disallow Sites for Kids Mode
The Kids Mode already has a list of websites that children are allowed to visit. If a child tries to go to a website that is not on the list of allowed sites, they will see a block page that stops them from accessing it.
To temporarily access the website during the current browsing session, click ‘Get permission’ on the block page.
The parent or owner of the device needs to enter the user account password or PIN in the pop-up that appears.
Once you enter the proper credentials, the page will refresh and will be available for browsing for the current session. If you wish to include the entire website to the allow list on a permanent basis, follow these steps:
You can’t add websites to the Allow list when you are inside kids mode. To do this, you’ll need to be in the profile that launches Kids Mode. Once you are in normal browsing mode, click the profile icon and select ‘Manage profile settings’.
When you’re in the Settings window, go to the ‘Family’ settings from the navigation pane and click ‘Manage allowed sites in Kids Mode’ on the right pane.
You will then see a pre-defined list of allowed websites in alphabetical order. To add a new site to the Allowed websites list, click the ‘Add website’ button.
Enter the URL of the website and click ‘Add’.
To remove a website from the list, click the ‘X’ icon next to the site name.
Once you complete the steps, the website will be added to the list of allowed sites.
Please be aware that Kids Mode may block interim pages, such as ad handlers since it blocks all pages that are not on the approved list.
How to Exit Kids Mode
When you want to leave Kids Mode, click the Kids Mode icon in the top-right corner and then select the ‘Exit Kids Mode window’ button.
A pop-up will appear, asking for a password or PIN. To ensure that the child is not attempting to leave the mode without parental consent, you must verify your identity by entering your device password. Enter your device password or PIN to exit the kid’s mode.
Kids Mode has default settings that help to protect children’s privacy and safety while browsing the internet. It filters out inappropriate content and blocks many online elements. Additionally, it clears browsing history and does not collect personal data.
Other Parental Control Apps for Windows 11
There are other parental control apps provided by third-party developers that offer similar functionalities as the built-in parental control app in Windows 11. Here are some of the free third-party parental control apps.
Kaspersky Safe Kids is rated as the second-best parental control app for Windows. It enables you to supervise your child’s online actions even if you’re not physically present.
Kaspersky Safe Kids offers a distinctive capability to track your children’s activities from any location globally. This parental control app can protect your children both on the internet and offline. Additionally, unlike Microsoft Family Safety, Kaspersky Safe Kids can be used by individuals for personal and work-related purposes. It is available in both free and paid versions.
OpenDNS Family Shield is a parental control app designed for Windows 11 that operates directly on a router. Its purpose is to eliminate all improper domain names and restrict access to unsuitable content.
Using this app on a new router could be challenging since it primarily operates on the router rather than on the device itself. One of the best aspects of the OpenDNS Family Shield app is that you can monitor all connected devices on the network, not just a single one.
Kidlogger is a free parental control software that tracks not only your child’s typing and browsing activity but also their program usage and any screenshots they capture.
In addition to online activities, Kidlogger captures the user’s offline activity, including USB connections on the device, folder access, and more. Apart from offline activity monitoring, parental control apps also keep track of online activities such as voice and video chats.
Setting up a child account in Windows 11 helps provide a more controlled and secure online experience for your children who use a shared computer. It protects children from inappropriate content and ensures that they use the computer in a safe and responsible manner.
While gadgets and the internet have become an indispensable part of our lives, every parent worries what their child might stumble upon in their absence. With the various parental controls in Windows 11, you don’t have to worry about it anymore.