Setting Time Limits for Your Child (Windows 8)

Windows 8 seems to have an endless set of great features geared towards improving security and safety both for you and your family. Most parents at present know how harmful the Internet can be especially if restrictions are not set. There would always be bad websites out there that preys on young minds and poison them in the long run. The longer your child stays with your computer, the bigger the chances would be for him/her to discover websites that has inappropriate content. This is the reason why Microsoft has developed and included a feature that would help you set time limits to your child’s Internet and computer usage on Windows 8. The “Family Safety” feature helps you monitor and control your child’s Internet usage and even prevent him/her from logging in and continue using your computer after a certain period of time.

However, this feature is not set active by default on Windows 8 computers which is why you need to learn how to set it up so it can govern your child’s Internet time. As the famous saying goes; “Too much of anything is dangerous” so if you feel that your child has been spending too much time in front of the computer screen rather than playing outside then it’s about time to cut down on some Internet and gaming stuff and encourage him/her to be more involved with physical activities.

Enabling Time Limits on Windows 8

The first thing that you need to do before you can activate time limits for a certain account on your computer is to enable the “Family Safety” feature and be sure that you have a Microsoft account that has administrator privileges. You will know this by going to the Control Panel -> User Accounts and Family Safety -> User Accounts. You should see the word “Administrator” below your account’s name. Another thing is that your child’s account should be a standard account so you can track and block some aspects of it using the Family Safety feature. For more information on enabling Family Safety feature, be sure to read “Enabling or Disabling Family Safety on Windows 8”. To learn more about creating a user account on Windows 8, please read “Creating a New User Account (Windows 8)”.

Once you’re done setting up everything, you are now ready to setup time limits to your child’s user account. Simply open the “Control Panel”. If you don’t know how to open the Control Panel on Windows 8 because of the absence of the Start Button, simply press the “Windows + X” keys and a menu will appear. From this menu, simply click on “Control Panel”.

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On the main “Control Panel” Window, simply click “User Accounts and Family Safety” then on the Window that follows, click on “Family Safety”.

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On the “Family Safety Window”, click on the user account of your child and you’ll be able to view a list of of options and settings which can be done to it. From this list, simply click on “Time limits”.

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The “Time Limits” section will then show up giving you the options of the type of time limit that you can set for your child’s account. Simply select the “Set time allowance” link to set the number of hours that your child will be allowed to use your computer or “Set curfew” to set the time of the day to enable such access.

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Enabling the Time Allowance Feature on Windows 8

Now that you learned how to access the section where the options for setting “Time Limits” are found, it is time to learn how to set up and configure this feature to enable time limits for your child’s computer and Internet usage. First, you need to select the “Set time allowance” link and you’ll ¬†options which looks like the screenshot below. In this example, the account for my child which I named “Child User” is allowed to use the PC all day by default.

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To set time limits, you need to select the other options just below the default one and you should see generic settings for Weekdays and Weekend. From here, you can set a uniform length of time for all the days of the week and as well as the weekends.

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If you want to set a specific length of time for each day of the week and as well as the weekends then all you need to do is click or tap on the drop-down arrow at the left of each block and you’ll see some other blocks and input boxes where you can enter the length of time allotted for computer usage each day.

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Once you are done setting the time that you want for each day of the week and for the weekends, simply click or tap on the back arrow on top of the Window and all your settings will automatically be saved.

What Your Child Will See

As your son or daughter is using the computer and reaches the last 15 minutes of the allotted time, the system will automatically flash a notification telling him/her that Family Safety will be lock the computer soon. The notification looks like the screenshot below and from this message, he/she can select either the “Get more time” and ask you for the password once the 15 minutes runs out or just enjoy the remaining time and select the “Close” button.

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If your kid chooses the “Get more time” button then expect him/her to be grabbing on your shirt to enter your administrator password since he/she will be getting the notification that looks like the screenshot below.

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After entering your password to the input box, simply click on the “OK” button and you will then be able to see a drop-down options box containing the lengths of time that you can to add to your child’s PC usage, after choosing the time that you desire, simply click on the “Allow” button located at the right portion of the screen.

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The time will then be extended but doing this will not affect the length of time which you’ve set for the day itself. Extending time usage is just effective on the moment that you allowed it and will never take effect again on the coming weeks. Once the time extension you selected runs out, your child will again be locked out from the computer and either ask you again for more time or just select “Switch users to turn off PC” and be taken back to the user account selection screen.

Setting Up a Curfew

Family Safety also allows parents to set a curfew for their child’s PC usage. Setting a curfew simply means selecting the hours of the day when your child will not be allowed to access and use the computer. To do this, simply go to the back to the “Family Safety” section of the “Control Panel”, select the user account of your child then click on “Time limits”. On the Window that follows, select the “Set curfew” link.

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On the Window that follows, you need to select the second option which says “Account Name can only use the PC during the time ranges I allow” to see a rectangle subdivided into different hours of the day which you can select.

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On the screenshot above, the blocks that are colored blue are the times of the day when your child will be blocked from using the PC while the white unselected ones are the times that access to the PC is allowed. To set a 30 minute time duration, simply select/shade half of the box. If your kid attempts to use the computer after the allowed time, he/she will get the warning message that you see below. If he/she wishes to get more time, all she needs to do is click the “Get more time” button and ask you to input the password the same as what happens when time limit runs out.

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Windows 8 is indeed a very good operating system to use with your family. How old is too young to use the Internet or how long should a child spend in front of the screen? We would like to hear your opinions. Please feel free to post them on the comments section below.