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Parental controls

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Parental controls are options, typically included in digital television services, computer and video games, or computer software used to access the Internet, that allows a parent to monitor or limit what a child can see or do and/or time-limit these activities. These controls may allow for the blocking of television stations using V-Chip technology, the removal of gore from computer games, the blocking of various websites, such as those containing pornography, or the automatic censoring of swearing.

Windows Parental controls

File:800px-Windows Vista Parental Controls.png
Windows VIsta Parental Controls

Microsoft Windows Vista includes a range of parental controls for non-domain user accounts. Windows Parental Controls rely on UAC to implement reduced rights account identities needed for offline restrictions. An administrator can apply parental control restrictions to other users on the computer. Facilities include:

  • Web content blocking, including the ability to limit web browsing to "kids websites", as well as blocking particular categories of content. File downloads may also be disabled. Web content filtering is implemented as a Winsock LSP filter.
  • Time limitations on when the account may be used. When active, users are blocked from logging on if not already logged on. If they are logged on and the time limit is reached, user accounts are locked using Fast User Switching without the users being logged out to prevent unsaved data in that account from getting lost.
  • Restrictions on what kind of games may be played. An administrator may choose from one of five different game rating services: ESRB (United States and Canada), PEGI (Europe), USK (Germany), OFLC (Australia and New Zealand), CERO (Japan). Ratings are used to determine the highest allowed game rating. As with web content blocking, a number of categories of content may also be blocked regardless of game ratings.
  • Restrictions on what programs may be executed. Implemented using Windows Software Restriction Policies.
  • Activity reports to monitor and log what was done under Parental Controls through event logging interfaces
  • APIs expose the policy and in-box restrictions settings, and logging functionality for parental controls functionality to be extended or replaced.


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