OK, so we all know that our kids looooovvve to play with electronics. Hence, you may have a difficult time prying their little fingers off your new MS Surface RT/Pro. Just last weekend Tim tried to help my sister set up parental controls on her Android device because my niece is always on it – unfortunately, there were none built-in.
But don’t worry; your Surface RT/Pro comes with Windows 8 and Windows 8 comes with Family Safety, aka parental control that has great features for managing your kids’ access.
Here is what you can do:
- Web filtering – control the websites your little Johnny can access
- Time limits – control when little Johnny uses your Surface
- Windows Store and game restrictions – control by rating or title – my favorite!
- Apps restrictions – control the apps allowed on your PC.
How to set parental control on Windows Store and game downloads:
First, you will need to create a separate account for your kid(s) to use. This is a good idea anyway because you do not want to have anyone with admin access mucking with your device.
For instructions on how to set up an account, see MS Surface Security.
Once you have the account follow these steps:
- Go to Control Panel – you can search for it
- Tap Family Safety
- Tap the name of your child’s account – one you created above
- Then tap “Windows Store and game restrictions”
- Choose “Only use games and Windows Store apps I allow”
- Tap or click “Set game and Windows Store ratings”
- Choose to allow or block games without a rating and choose the age rating that is appropriate for your child
You get the idea. You can do the same thing with the other three parental controls. Simply select one from the list and follow the prompts step-by-step. Windows 8 essentially walks you through it.
It is amazing how much more empowered you will feel when you can set limits on what little Johnny can and cannot do on your MS Surface RT/Pro.
If you want to set up an online (global) family safety account. Follow these instructions from Microsoft: Set Up Family Safety. This will allow you to control all of the computers your kids use from one spot. Pretty cool.
Of course, if you don’t want your kids to use your device at all, there is no need for parental control, simply set an account password and don’t give it to little Johnny. Just sayin’ – it’s an option.
Productivity Tip: you can use the same parental controls to set up MS Surface RT for productivity as a enterprise device at your place of work. The cool thing about the RT is that it doesn’t allow any non-Windows-store software downloads, so this way you can completely control what gets installed. For Surface Pro, in a Windows enterprise environment, you can use Active Directory to control these settings. It just depends on what you want to do.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.