The Complete Guide to Windows (PC) Parental Controls
We recommend 3 Layers of Windows (PC) protection:
- Layer 1: Guard the location of the Windows computer.
- Layer 2: Love your router (WiFi)!
- Layer 3: Configure Windows Parental Controls.
Layer 1: Guard the location of the Windows computer.
Remember, where kids use technology often dictates how they use their technology. We have strong opinions about controlling where kids use their tech. For example, let’s keep all internet-ready devices out of bedrooms at night, where kids take more risks, and sleep is constantly interrupted.
Just know that the combination of boredom, bedrooms, and darkness (the Toxic Trio – register for the webinar!) can be tempting spots to make bad digital choices (whether you’re 14 or 40 years old!).
Related post: The 5 Worst Places for a Kid to be Online
Layer 2: Love your WiFi (router)!
The Router is the most important digital hardware in the house! And, it’s often the most ignored. We joke that routers are the social distance champion of technology. But, get this part of your internet safety plan correct! You are responsible for every digital click on your home’s network, so be sure to control the router.
Popular options for parents are:
- Gryphon Advance Security & Parental Controls router. We have really enjoyed the Gryphon. Top-notch set of parental controls. This is the router used by our CEO, Chris, with his four children. It gives you time control, YouTube Restricted Mode, and more. Easy set-up and a parent app that allows you to pause the internet with one touch.
- Circle acts as an accessory to your router, giving you stronger parental controls over your home’s network. It’s not a router, but connects to your router. Easy-to-use app for you to exert screen time and app control over your kid, but weak on content (porn) with a motivated kid.
**Bonus content – we tested the best routers out there and here’s WHY we picked Gryphon.
Layer 3: Configure Windows Parental Controls.
First, set up a Microsoft Account:
- Follow this LINK.
- This will give you access to the Windows Parental Controls for all Microsoft products.
Add a child to your family Microsoft account
- Sign in at account.microsoft.com/family.
- Sign in with your Microsoft account, then select “Add a family member.”
- Select “Child” or “Adult.”
- Type an email address or mobile number for the person you want to add and select “Send invite.” If your child doesn’t have an email or mobile number, select “Create a new one for them” and follow the steps on screen.
- Have the person you’ve invited accept your invitation from their email or text message, or go to account.microsoft.com/family and select “Accept now” next to their email address. You can find it in the “Notifications section” at the top of the page under “Pending member”.
- If you selected “Accept now”, sign out so the person you’re trying to add can sign in and join the family. Then, sign back in and finish setting things up.
Note: if your child can’t remember a typed password, you might want to set up a picture password for them, so they can sign in using a favorite photo instead.
After your child is added to your family you will have a number of options for parental controls you can access by signing into your Microsoft account and following the links beneath your child’s name, including:
- Activity: lets parents look at what their child has been doing on their devices, including browsing history, the apps and games they’ve been playing and how much time they’ve spent using them.
- Content restrictions: allows parents to managing their child’s access to content, including access to purchases in the Microsoft Store.
- Screen time: exactly what it says – allowing parents to manage how much time their child can spend on the computer every day.
- Spending: allows parents to review past purchases and add money to a child’s Microsoft account, allowing kids to spend a bit on their own. Note that even with money in their Microsoft account, children can’t purchase content rated above their age level.
NOTE: Account holders (parents) will always receive and email notification when a purchase is made from the Microsoft Store.
Are any other parental controls needed on the PC?
It depends on your situation.
Mobicip is a really strong filter and has a whole suite of controls. Some parents like having all devices using the same service, so in a mixed Apple, Android, Chromebook family, then Mobicip might work. It’s very reasonably priced ($49.99/year for the whole family).
For teens (14+), you might want to graduate from Mobicip to something more mature like Covenant Eyes, which uses the power of Accountability to change lives.
*There are affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Enjoy!