Windows Vista / Getting Started

Parental Controls Are Too Complicated

Vista's new Parental Controls let you control exactly what your kid can and can't do on the PC. But if you just want Vista to hand you a synopsis of what your kid's been up to on the PC, follow these quick steps:

  1. Click the Start button, click Control Panel, choose User Accounts and Family Safety, and choose Parental Controls. The Parental Controls window appears, listing each account holder's name.
  2. Click the name of your child's user account. The Parental Controls Settings window appears, showing a list of buttons.
  3. In the Parental Controls section, click On, Enforce Current Settings.
  4. In the Activity Reporting section, click On, Collect Information about Computer Usage and finally click the OK button.

Each week or so, check out your child's activity report by following Steps 1 and 2 in the preceding steps, but, in Step 3, choose View Activity Reports. There, Vista shows you a quick, one-page synopsis of what your kid's been up to on the Net.

To zero in on suspicious areas, click your child's Account Activity area in the task pane along the left. It is all there: names of people sending and receiving your child's e-mail and instant messages, the songs and videos played, the Web sites visited, names of any downloaded programs, log-on and log-off times, the number of hours spent at the keyboard, and similar information.

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