How-To

Manage Your Kid’s Screen Time and Track Online Activity in Windows 10

Learn how you can manage your kids time and generate reports of their activities on your Windows 10 devices using Family Safety.

Back in the initial release of Windows 10, we showed you how to set up Family Safety. Family Safety lets you manage your kid’s activities on Windows devices including the Xbox. Managing screen time is a top priority for parents and guardians. Also, knowing what your child is viewing or what apps they are using is important so you can better inform and help them navigate the Internet safely. In this article, we’ll look at controlling your kid’s screen time on the computer along with generating weekly reports of their activities.

Use Parental Controls to Manage Kids Computer Usage and Activities on Your Windows 10 Device

Before you configure your kid’s screen time and start generating reports, review our previous article how to set up Family Safety. Once you have that set up, open Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & other people. Click the link Manage family settings online (you can also sign in from here). This will open the dedicated Family settings web page in your browser. Click Screen time then scroll down to the bottom.

If you want to set a single policy for all Windows 10 devices including Xbox One, click the toggle Use one screen time schedule. This will allow you to allow a specific amount of time per day accross all devices (cumulative).

microsoft-screen-time-all-devices

If you set this option to off, time limits will apply per PC. In other words, if you give them three hours per day, they will have three hours per PC. Let’s take a look at that setting.

Toggle on PC screen time limits. Scroll down then choose the time period when your child is allowed to use the computer.

pc-screen-time

By default, it is set to Unlimited, but you can choose an allotment between 30 mins and 12 hrs. Whenever that runs out, your child has to ask for more, which you can grant.

You can also click the Set a time limit link in order to set limits for a specific time of the day on specific days. If your kid has access to more than one computer, these changes are federated across each device, too.

Use Content Restrictions to Block Inappropriate Apps and Websites

The Content Restrictions tab lets you block inappropriate websites as well as manage other experiences on the Windows devices. For example, you can require approval by an adult to buy things as well as block inappropriate apps and games based on your child’s age. You can also enter specific URLs which will be allowed or blocked.

Note: Website blocking is only available on Windows 10. Also, only Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer are supported. So, if you have third party web browsers installed like Chrome or Firefox, your kids can work around the restrictions. To fix this, just use the Always Blocked option to block those applications as shown below.

microsoft-family-content-restrictions

Generate Weekly Reports

If you need insights into what your child is doing on the PC, you can turn on Activity Reporting. Click the check recent activity link from the Your family page. Toggle on Activity reporting then check the box Email weekly reports to me.

On the same recent activity page, you can see web browsing activities, apps and games used and screen time usage. You can also block apps you don’t want your child using.

Reports sent by email are quite granular, detailing the amount of time each app is used and how many hours were spent using the PC each day.

Family safety certainly puts back a lot of power in parents hands, letting them better manage how kids use their devices in a healthy way. If you are just learning about this, you might experience a bit of turbulence with your kids after setting it up. So, talk to them and let them know what’s going on.

Let us know in the comments how it goes. Also, tell us how you manage your kid’s device usage outside of Windows devices such as Android Tablets and iPhones.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Paul  

    Thank you for the article. I use parental control app from kidslox.com at all our devices (mostly on Android). They say there is also Kidslox for Windows but I never tried it yet.

    • Thanks for the tip Paul. Gonna explore it and hopefully share our thoughts about in a future article.

    • Thanks for the mention Paul – actually Kidslox isn’t compatible with Windows yet, just iOS, Android and Kindle devices. We do have a windows desktop app that you can use to manage your kids phones from though…

  2. Brooke Pillow  

    I set up screen time limits and my son said that when his time was up a message popped up on the screen asking if he wanted more time and all he had to do was click yes and it gave him more time. What’s the point of the limits if it’s that easy for them to change it??!!!!

  3. Tamar Moses  

    We’ve been using Window’s screen time limits for a long time and I really like it. You say “If your kid has access to more than one computer, these changes are federated across each device, too.”
    Does this mean that if I set a 3 hours limit, my child can only use all of our devices cumulatively for 3 hours?
    That would be a new change in functionality, as until now, the limit would limit each device separately, effectively giving them 3 hours on EACH device.
    I would love to hear if this has been improved, since my kids are saying it has..

    • Hi Tamar – I can confirm, you can use click the toggle at the top of the “Screen Time” page to enforce the policy across all devices. It appears to be new. Will update the article with a screenshot.

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