How to make sure your grandchildren stay safe online

By Andrew Stucken , Monday 16 December 2013

If your grandchildren come to stay they will probably want to use your computer – and you will want them to be safe online.
It's important to have good online securityIt's important to have good online security

The majority of children in the UK aged eight to 17 have experienced some kind of negative situation while online.*

To protect them from unwanted and maybe dangerous attention, stop them straying onto inappropriate websites, and provide a safer online experience all round, a few simple steps can keep them from harm. 

Windows comes with built-in Parental Controls you can turn on to provide protection.

And for extra security, further software is on the market.

Before you set up Parental Controls in Windows, you need a separate User Account for your grandchild.

Set up User Accounts with Passwords

The purpose is to set limits on these accounts without restricting your own use.

Instructions here are for Windows 7 – please be aware that earlier versions of Windows do things slightly differently.


a. Set a password for your own account - if you don’t already have one. You need this to activate Parental Controls on other accounts.

- Go to Start > Control Panel and click on “User Accounts and Family Safety”. Under “User Accounts” click “Change your Windows Password”.

- Type in the new password of your choice and then type it again at “Confirm New Password”. Be sure to make a note of your password – and keep it a secret.

b. Create a User Account for your grandchild still in “User Accounts and Family Safety”:

- Click “Add or remove user accounts”.

- Click “Create a new account”. Type a name and click. Choose “Limited” for account type – this will allow you to set Controls.

2. Set Controls

Windows allows you to limit:

- Hours  of use
- Websites they can visit
- Programmes they can use
- Games they can play

To turn on Parental Controls:

- In User Accounts and Family Safety, click “Set Up Parental Controls for any user”.

- Click on your grandchild’s username.

- Under Parental Controls, Click “On”, and select the settings you desire.

With that accomplished, further protection is available via the free Windows Live Online Safety Scanner.

In Parental Controls, look under “Additional Controls”. If the Scanner is not shown there, you can download it from http://onecare.live.com/site/en-us/default.htm - full instructions on using this are at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/968091 - remember you will need a Windows Live ID to use the Scanner.

For increased safety you might wish to buy a programme. Options include Net Nanny, CyberPatrol -  and Norton Online Family Premier, which is launching an accompanying app for Android phones. 

Products typically cost around £15-20, but you can avoid this expense with a free alternative such as PG Surfer or K9 Web Protection. Some paid-for options have free basic versions as well, such as Norton Online Family.

Either paid-for or free, these programmes will give you extra features which could include the ability to monitor Chat sessions and issue Predator Alerts. Check carefully that your chosen programme contains the features you desire.

* Source: Online Family and Schools Report - see http://norton.com/cybercrimereport

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