Computer Parental Controls

Computers have become household items for millions of families. However, a computer's ability to access a wide range of data, including adult content, makes it a potentially dangerous piece of equipment. Some programs, such as Encarta 2007, include parental controls to prevent children from looking at inappropriate words found within its dictionary. Media Player 11 even has the ability to prevent access to DVD movies based upon ratings. While these features are effective, the prevalence of the internet calls for a separate level of security to keep your children protected.

When sharing a computer, you are essentially sharing private files, emails, games or video content with others. These files or programs could be private, and therefore, you may not want to share them with others. Windows XP and Vista makes it easy to set computer parental controls. You can configure personal files for your children, giving them access to their own programs and favorites while keeping your private files protected and inaccessible.

You can also create Limited accounts to keep your children away from other questionable content. This allows you to make configurations that grant them access only to files placed in a shared folder. They will not have access any of your personal files or programs on the computer.

To create a new Limited account in Windows XP, simply follow the instructions below:

· Click the "Start" tab in your desktop

· Open the "Control Panel"

· Select "User Accounts"

From there you can make configurations and determine the programs you want to give your children access to.

To set these parental controls in Windows Vista, follow the instructions below:

· Click the "Start" tab in your desktop

· Open the "Control Panel"

· Select "User Account"

· Select "Family Safety" and make the needed adjustments

Restricting Internet Access

The internet is like an amusement park to kids. It's full of information, cartoons, games and social networking platforms. However, it's also filled with predators, scams, malware and graphic content not intended for a minor's eyes. Windows Vista features parental controls that allow you to monitor your children's activities and keep them safe online. You can easily manage which sites they have access to, what games they are allowed to play, whether or not they can download files and how long they actually remain online.

To set up internet parental controls in Windows Vista, follow the directions below:

· Click the "Start" tab in your desktop

· Open the "Control Panel"

· Select "User Accounts"

· Select "Set up Parental Controls"

· Click "On"

From here you can choose the settings you want to manage such as web restrictions, games and time limits.

You can also practice computer parental control with activity reports. This gives you a detailed list of exactly what sites your children are visiting and who they've been chatting with online. This is another useful feature available in Windows Vista. Once the Parental Controls are enabled, you can follow these directions to enable this feature:

· Select "Activity Reporting"

· Click "On"

· Select "Collect information about computer usage".

To view the details of a report, simply click "View Activity Reports".

There is no such thing as too much parental control for your computer as the safety of your children is more important than anything. Using a combination of tools and good judgment will make it much easier to ensure this security.

As you begin learning more about computer monitoring software, its features, and how it works, it's a good idea to read some of the top parental control software reviews to solidify your choice.



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You can protect your computer from viruses without expensive software. Instead, follow these simple tips:

Stay up-to-date on all system updates.

Don't download any email attachments you weren't expecting.

Avoid freeware and peer-to-peer sharing sites.

Use alternative web browsers and email software.