How to Change Parental Control Settings in Windows 7

Using Parental Controls in Windows 7, you can control the times that your children can use your computer, the kinds of games they can play, and the programs they can access. Each of these settings can be set from the User Control link for your child’s account. Get there by following these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Choose Set Up Parental Controls for Any User beneath the heading User Accounts and Family Safety.

    The Parental Controls window appears, listing all accounts on the computer.

  3. Choose the account to control; click its icon.

    The User Controls window opens.

Set time limits

You can control when your kids can access the computer by placing time limits on their accounts. That way, they can log in and use the computer only during the hours you specify ― and the computer logs them off when their time runs out.

To set time limits, summon the User Control link for your child’s account Choose Time Limits to see the Time Restrictions window. Drag the mouse over the time slots when you don’t want Junior to access the computer. Click OK.

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Control game access

The Windows 7 parental control features can work with the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) game rating system to control which computer games Junior plays on the family computer. You can restrict access to games by the game name, its rating, or the contents of the game (violence or adult theme, for example).

To restrict access to certain games, choose the Games link from the User Controls window to view the Game Controls window. Choose the Yes option in the Game Controls window to restrict game access.

Block games by their ESRB ratings by clicking the Set Game Ratings link. Additionally, you can choose to block specific games by clicking the Block or Allow Specific Games link.

Click OK to lock in your choices.

  • The ESRB defines and sets ratings for computer games similarly to the way the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rates movies.

Block programs

You also limit Junior’s ability to access any program that runs on your computer, such as a personal finance program, a communications program such as Skype, or whatever else you choose or that they could potentially abuse. Heed these steps:

  1. From the User Controls window, Choose Allow and Block Specific Programs.

    The Applications Restrictions window appears.

  2. Choose the option User Can Only Use the Programs I Allow.

    It takes a while, but eventually a list appears, showing all programs found on your computer.

  3. Place a check mark by the programs you want your child to run.

  4. Click the OK button.

Some program names in the list may be unfamiliar to you; a program’s filename often doesn’t match up with the name you commonly call the program, such as winword, which is the real name of the Microsoft Word application.

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