Windows XP Parental Controls
While many users employ new computers with updated versions of Windows, such as Windows Vista and Windows 7, many users still run Windows XP and are wondering if there is any possible way to enable a parental control lock on their computer. The quick answer to that question would be no. Parental control settings for the Windows programs did not come out until Windows Vista; however, there are options available for Windows XP users who wish to restrict their child’s internet surfing, music listening, movie watching, IMing (instant messaging), and what times they can log onto the computer and when the computer will automatically shut down.
Concerns For Parents
- Restricting the Internet
Since Windows automatically comes with Internet Explorer it is probably one of the main browsers used by most Windows users. There are various websites that contain helpful walkthroughs to aide a user on how to restrict what websites are able to be viewed and which are not. You can change the settings and add various websites that you personally feel are inappropriate or simply don’t wish your child to use. The restrictions are not a foolproof option and a filtering program is recommended for users who may want added protection. As a note, make sure you write down the password for your control settings panel and the filter you use and don’t lose it.
- Music and Movie Restriction
Windows also comes with a Windows Media Player program that has parental control settings for what music and movies can be played. A walkthrough can be found here. It is important to remember that while Windows Media Player can play most music and movies formats, it can’t play all of them and other programs that may be used to listen to music and watch movies won’t be affected by the parental controls set for the Windows Media Player program.
- Time Limit
To set a time restriction requires a bit more work than the previous “point-click” parental control settings. It also would most likely require a separate user account for your child since you set the time control limit over the entire account. Various settings allow you to set a time restriction on when the restricted user can log in and use the computer(but it doesn’t allow you to set a total amount of time they can spend logged in, although Windows XP will automatically shutdown when the time restriction is met). For information on how to restrict a users time, go here.
- Instant Messaging
There are no parental control features for instant messaging; however, monitoring programs can be downloaded to allow a parent to view what is being typed on the computer by their child via another computer. These programs can also include features that will “red-out” words that you enter into the field as restricted words to prevent vulgar and crude words from being shown. However, it is important for parents to be aware of who their children are talking to as these monitoring programs won’t protect them from internet predators.
What Else Can I Do?
While these measures can help someone protect their child from inadvertent access to inappropriate material, they are not foolproof. Filters vary in quality and price (free versions available as well). For those who may wish for additional protection, a filtering service can be downloaded.