You don’t need a third-party tool to monitor your child’s activities on your PC. You just need the set up the Microsoft Family Safety features already built into Windows 10. The features include a set of parental controls to make it easier to keep track of what your children are doing and even block them from sites you don’t feel are safe.
Setting Up a Child Account
Before you can set up Microsoft Family Safety features, you have to set up a child’s account to monitor. Your child will need an email address for this, but you can create one during the process. If you don’t want your child to have an email address yet, you can manage their email account for them. If your child already has an account on the PC, skip that section.
Go to “Start -> Settings -> Accounts.” Or press Win + I and click Accounts.
Click “Family & other users.” Click “Add a family member.”
You can also add guest accounts from this screen. However, they’re not included in the family settings.
If your child or family member already has an email address, enter it in the box. Otherwise, click “Create one for a child” directly under the box.
If you create a new account, follow the prompts to enter the new email address and user details. When prompted, log in using your child’s credentials. Since children are under age, Microsoft requires a parent, legal guardian, or another adult to approve their account. Log in with your own account and accept the legal agreement.
Choose whether your child can use third-party apps or not. If not, they’ll only be able to use official Microsoft apps.
Once that’s confirmed, it’s time to set up the parental controls for that account. You can set separate settings for every family account.
If you’re ready to start managing settings, click Manage Settings. Otherwise, click Done.
Managing Microsoft Family Safety Features
If you click “Manage Settings” from the previous step, a new window opens in your default browser. You may need to log in to your Microsoft account again on the Microsoft Family site.
If your child already had an account, click the “Manage family settings online” link in the Windows 10 Account settings (“Start -> Settings -> Accounts -> Family & Other users”).
Once logged in, you’ll see a list of family members along with the various settings that apply to each account.
Monitor activity by clicking Activity. From here, you can turn on Activity Reporting and get email notifications about screen time, app usage, and web browsing across Windows 10 and Xbox, as long as your child uses their designated account.
Under Screen Time, set schedules for Windows 10 and/or Xbox. You can customize each day to better fit with the account’s needs, such as bonus time on weekends for game time.
You’re also able to set limits for specific apps and games, set up content restrictions (including both allowed and blocked sites), add spending limits for in-app purchases, require a parent’s permission before buying something (you’ll receive an email to approve), and even find your child.
Using the Family Safety App
When you select “Find your child” in any family member’s account settings, you’re prompted to install Family Safety, which is an app that allows you to track where your family members, including children, are at any point. Obviously, location settings do need to be turned “On” on the user’s device for this to work.
The app works similarly to the Microsoft Family website. However, most users don’t find it all that useful outside of tracking a child’s location. Your child must sign in to the Microsoft Family Safety app using their account as well for you to be able to track them.
While you can still review their activity reports, the app runs heavily in the background, which can drain your battery quickly. It even asks to be excluded from power-saving features. Of course, location settings have to be on at all times, which you may or may not be comfortable with.
A combination of the web app and the Microsoft Family Safety app do give you a great way to monitor users on your family account at any time, though.
Even with Microsoft Family Safety features, there are still other ways to keep your child safer online, such as using child-friendly Internet browsers.