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Parental Control in Windows 7

Today, our children are more vulnerable to digital hazards than ever before. Especially with the availability of versatile search engines, easy-to-use social-networking sites, free services and tools for uploading/downloading photographs and videos, the internet is awash with content that is inappropriate for kids, and full of individuals that parents want to prevent from communicating with their children.

The internet is evolving a lot faster than Microsoft can update the Windows OS. For example, when Vista was released Social Networking sites was barely known. Now they have a thriving web presence. Microsoft is trying to keep up by enhancing parental control in Seven. For this reason it has been moved into Windows Live.

Activity viewing and web filtering capabilities can be more effectively handled by Windows Live or a 3rd party solution that ensures reliable web-based implementation of this functionality. For example, Family Safety, a free application found in Live, offers web content filtering, activity monitoring, and file downloads restrictions.

In Seven, the Parental Controls feature was modified to permit its features to be installed on your system and fully replace or augment the default parental controls. Vista permitted partial substitution of Parental Controls; in short, the web filter could be replaced with a 3rd party application. However in Seven other than the web filter components the whole GUI is replaceable with 3rd party providers. The basic filtering of offline content is still implemented by this feature. It is now possible for a 3rd party application to offer a uniform user experience that seamlessly integrates existing features with those introduced by the 3rd party application.

When a Vista computer is upgraded to Seven, the administrator will be warned that activity reporting and web filtering functionality are not included in Windows 7 Parental Controls. In Windows Vista, the Parental Controls settings (including activity logs and web filtering) stay unchanged when the computer is upgraded. Although activity logs information and web filtering settings are not used by Parental controls in Microsoft Seven, their preservation allows 3rd party application to honor those settings.

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