Children often seem to know more about computers and the internet than many adults. However, being an expert in technology doesn’t necessarily mean having the know-how to handle all the situations they might encounter online.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of advice online for children, young people and parents. There are also special ‘parental control’ programs that can be used to restrict the types of websites that the young can visit.

Other things you can do:

  • Talk to your children about the dangers lurking online and set up appropriate boundaries. You’ll find advice on this on the Get Safe Online website.
  • The Think U Know website has games to teach five to seven-year-olds about online safety, plus advice for 11- to 16-year-olds and for parents and teachers.
  • Even if your children have their own computers, it’s best to set them up with standard user accounts. This will prevent them from downloading programs by mistake or inadvertently deleting vital system files. Instructions on how to create a user account are below.
  • For greater control over your child’s online activities, consider using specialist parental control software. The Which? website can tell you what’s available and what’s good.
  • Read this great guide for parents from Safety Detectives with advice on safe video and YouTube streaming for kids.
  • Get your kids to play this fun interactive quiz from The Internet Experts
  • Talk to your children about responsible internet use and monitor their screen time. This article from Compare the Market has some great tips on being in control of screen usage to ensure that digital devices have a positive impact.

This guide explains how to install the parental controls available in Windows 10.

Follow these step-by-step instructions to make the internet safer for your children

For this guide you will need:

  • Internet access
  • At least one 'parent' Microsoft Account
  • Individual Microsoft Accounts for each child using the device
  • Access to your child's email account, or one created for this purpose
  • Administrator privileges on a desktop or tablet running Windows 10

Step 1: Microsoft Family's parental control system requires Microsoft accounts for at least one parent and one child. If you haven't already done so, you can create a Microsoft account by clicking on this link Alternatively, they can use their personal email address to set up a new account. 

Step 2: Add a child account through your Windows settings by searching for this using Cortana. Then, click on accounts. 

windows settings

Step 3: Then, select Family and other users.

windows settings

Step 4: Click on add a family member. You will be given an option to add a child or adult to your Microsoft account. 


Enter the email address of their Microsoft account below if you have it. (Remember that you’ll need access to their email to confirm they are your child.) If they do not have one you can create an account for them. When you type in their personal email address and select Next this message will appear "It looks like this isn't a Microsoft account. Try another email address or sign up for a new one". Click on the link to set up a new account. You will be able to create a new Microsoft account using their email address. 

Create a secure password for this account, we have a very handy guide which you can use, view it by clicking on this link.

Step 5: Add in details including country and date of birth. 


Once you click on Next, Microsoft will send a verification code to the email you have used. 

Step 6: You will have to accept the invitation using the link provided. This will get sent to the email you used to register with or the email you created when signing up to a Microsoft account. 

invitation to microsoft

Step 7: Go back to your family settings and click on Manage family settings online. 


family settings

From your Microsoft online account you will be able to monitor screen time and block certain mature and inappropriate content. 

content settings

Step 8: By default, no child is allowed to use their Microsoft account to download adult games or movies. With Windows 10 parental controls, you can fine-tune which content is available through the Windows and Xbox stores by specifying an age range for your child's account. (This is set to your child's calendar age by default, but can be adjusted as you think best.)

Only material rated as appropriate for that age range will be available for download.

apps settings

Step 9: Windows 10 parental controls allow you to set appropriate access schedules and limit total use for each day of the week.

windows screentime

Top tips

  • Understanding the importance using legal sites online.
  • Being aware of illegal downloading.
  • If you are unsure of a certain site, visit Get it Right from a Genuine Site which lists the legal ways you can download film and music.
  • Having a good understanding of digital wellbeing
  • Having control over the apps that are being downloaded onto devices and checking that they are age appropriate
  • Being aware of in-app purchases and scam apps.

This guide was last updated on 15/03/2019