Monitoring and filtering of web sites makes the Internet a safer place for your kids. To learn how to set up parental controls on a Windows XP system, read more.
The Internet can be a wonderful learning tool and a window into the world for children. On the flip side, it can be a parent’s worst nightmare. The Web does not differentiate between young and old, and what is right and wrong to see. Unlike a TV, adult content and violence is not shown during specific times and on certain channels. Warnings and disclaimers do hint of trouble ahead. But warnings can be ignored. As a parent, adult content sites and abuse sites, advertising drinks and drugs are definitely not part of your child’s learning experience. The answer to this problem are parental controls, features and options to block or prevent dangerous content online. In this article, learn how to set up parental controls on Windows XP operating system.
Setting Up Parental Controls on Windows XP
The issue with Windows XP is that it has no actual parental control features. Windows 7 and Vista are both equipped with a very secure parental control feature and management center, built into their respective OSs. But XP has no such features on the whole. However, some programs of XP have an optional parental safety feature. You can also opt for parental control software, which are programs designed specifically for monitoring and blocking unsafe content. First a look at which Windows XP programs can be customized for child safe browsing.
The default browser in XP is Internet Explorer. Using the Content Advisor feature, you block and allow various sites, based on their ratings. For example, you can decide that alcohol use is meant to be depicted, only in a mild context. But no instances of drug use should be allowed. Steps on how to use parental controls on Windows XP with content advisor.
☛ In the IE menu bar, click on Tools, then select Internet Options.
☛ Select the Content tab. The first pane is Content Advisor. Click on Enable.
☛ A new window opens up. In the small window, a list of categories are mentioned. Click on a category to highlight it, and use the slider to change what level of viewing is allowed. If you change a level, click on Apply, before moving on to the next category.
☛ From the tabs at the top of the window, click on Approved Sites. Here type the URL of a site, and click Allow, to make it viewable or Never to block it. This feature allows you to directly add which sites should be allowed and which should never be allowed.
☛ The General tab has 2 user options. The “users can see websites that have no rating” can be checked, based on your preference. This option allows unrated websites to be viewed, which is necessary, as some websites are not rated and are child viewership safe.
☛ The Supervisor Password is a rather important option. If you have learned how to use the Content Advisor feature, assume your kids will definitely know about it and will undo all your changes. To prevent such counter measures, set a password. That way, only those who know the password, can make any changes in the Content Advisor. Also if anyone tries to access a blocked site, they will be asked for the password.
Keep in mind, that the Content Advisor is only present on Internet Explorer. Other browsers have their own security mechanisms but most are not so specific. To make sure your kids use only IE, with your security mechanisms in place, uninstall any other browsers on your PC.
A free parental control software, as part of the Windows Live software applications is Windows Live Family Safety. Though this software is originally designed for Windows 7 and Vista, Windows XP has an older version. This free software add-on has the following features:
☛ Filter websites and pages, with SafeSearch option enabled in search engines.
☛ With the activity log feature, you can view which websites your child viewed and tried to visit, and when.
☛ It allows you to supervise and manage your child’s contact’s lists in Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail. So you can monitor and decide, who your child chats with and sends emails to.
The software is free for download from the official Microsoft site and has an easy user interface for management. But it needs to be installed on each computer your child uses, for the filtering to take place. Also make sure you are downloading the Windows XP version, as it is operating system specific. It will not work on any non Windows machine.
Limited User Account
User accounts in XP, allow for personalized settings and a sense of security as only the account holder can access the account settings and data. For a sense of total child safety, a smart idea to restrict what he/she can do on the machine itself. For instance, suppose your kid installs unsafe software and adult-related add-ons. What if the computer won’t allow any installation at all? This is possible using a limited user account. No new programs can be installed. Only what was originally installed by the administrator exists and can be used. Plus he/she cannot change the account type or details. This sort of user account restricts or limits what activities can be done on the computer. An ideal parental control for very tech-savvy kids.
Setting Up Parental Control Software on Windows XP
The limited filtering abilities in Windows XP can be frustrating, especially if you hate fiddling with your PC’s settings. There are different settings to be changed on different programs, and if you uninstall anything, the whole setting up process has to be repeated. For a one-stop solution on how to set up parental controls on Windows XP, check out external filtering software. It’s just like using an anti-virus tool. You can purchase software or download freeware, install it on your computer and let the program do the managing for you. Such software specializes in blocking adult content and is smart enough to “learn” what’s prohibited and what’s not. The more the features, the better, especially with paid software, so choose smartly.
Website filtering is a must, look for email, chat and social networking sites filtering. Usability of such a program is another key factor. It’s no use buying a software, if it’s difficult to use. Level of restriction should be adjustable, like stricter settings for older kids. Do not choose software that is browser dependent. Your kid will simply download another browser to use, bypassing your entire security program. Also check for browser compatibility. Here are some highly-rated parental control software:
- Net Nanny
- K9 Web Protection
- CyberPatrol Parental Controls
- Safe Eyes
Any parent can keep an eye on his/her child’s activities at school and at home. So why should the Internet be an exception? You can meet your child’s friends and peers socially, and decide whether they are good company or not. This cannot be done with chat contacts and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Hopefully the above steps have made setting up web filtering and blocking, a little easier for you on your XP machine.