Steps for a Safer Internet Experience
Windows 7 features a number of robust parental controls right out of the box. Here, we've laid out steps for setting up — and getting the most out of — these valuable tools.

1. Set up User Accounts
Windows PCs are programmed to allow several users to maintain personal accounts, each with their own preferences and personal files. Personal accounts are the cornerstone of parental controls. Set up an admin account for yourself and standard user accounts — with content limitations — for your kids.

2. Keep Passwords Secure
For parental controls to be most effective, you'll need to limit access to the administrator account. Don't leave your passwords in places that your children can find them, and don't leave your computer logged in as administrator while you're not around. Press the Control-Alt-Delete buttons simultaneously on your keyboard, and lock your computer system when you're away from the system. Enable power settings so that your computer automatically goes into standby mode during periods of inactivity and prompts for a password before resuming. Make sure to change your password on a regular basis.

3. Turn on and Set up Windows 7 Parental Controls
Log on as the administrator, and enable the following functions:
  • Time Limits: Use a visual calendar of the hours of the day and days of the week to choose exactly when your kids can be online. Your kids will only be able to log in to their user accounts during the periods you choose.
  • Game Restrictions: Use game restrictions to block games according to their age ratings. For a breakdown of game ratings, see our section on setting game limits.
Bottom Line
Choose the Windows 7 parental controls that best fit your specific online needs. Check out independent parental control software for features that can flag inappropriate chat conversations as they occur, monitor sites that frequently update and send email notifications when breaches happen. There are even free tools available, such as Windows Live Family Safety, that allow you to set parameters on internet access.